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Latest on where NZ is with Work, Study and Visitor Visas

Immigration NZ is continuously making changes to rules and requirements for work, study, working holiday and visitor visas.

These affect both employers and migrants and, with the change of government, will happen in greater frequency.  So, watch this space for ongoing updates to help you keep up.

If you have any questions on the following, please contact our immigration team here

1- INZ Changes to Visa Duration, Job Checks & Accredited Employer Obligations

On 7 April 2024, INZ made a number of changes for both employers and migrant workers.  You can read the details HERE.

In summary,

  • Employees: there have been changes to visa durations based on ANZSCO defined occupation levels as well as related visa eligibility criteria.  Additionally there are changes to residence eligibility.
  • Employers: there are changes to Job Check requirements as well as accredited Employer obligations.

Employer accreditations are requiring renewal now, and given the additional vetting that INZ has said that they will undertake, we strongly suggest employers start sorting the requirements 6 weeks prior.  This is ensuring that you have completed the Employer eLearning modules, and making sure financial records are in order.

If you’ve done your previous Accreditation with FRENZ, we’ll be getting in touch with you.  If you need support, please  EMAIL here or by CALL us 09 303 3505 .

2- 90 Day Trial Removal

INZ will not accept 90 day trial periods in employment agreements for Work Visa holders.

But employers, of any staff size, can use 90 day clauses for NZ citizens/residents, as well as those on Working Holiday, Post-Study work, Student & partnership based work visas.

We suggest that you do include a probationary period within the employment agreement. This process is a bit of a hybrid between 90 day and performance management – it sets out expectations for performance level by a specific date and outcomes for falling short.

3 –Changes to Median Wage

In late 2023, INZ announced that they were ‘pausing’ the median wage increase. This means that currently employers can still employ migrants for $29.66 p/hour.

However, from 27 Feb 2024, INZ did increase the median wage for migrants applying for Resident Visas. Therefore, if any workers apply for a Resident Visa now, they must be paid the new median wage of $31.61 p/hour.

4- Skilled Migrant Pathway to Residence

In October 2023, INZ have reopened of the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) and Skilled Migrant Residency through a Green List based pathway to residence.

As above, migrants need to be paid at least NZ$31.61 p/hour to be eligible to apply for a resident visa. You can read more here.

5 –Residence Tier Options 

INZ have established Tier 1 ‘Straight to Residence’ and Tier 2 ‘ Work to Residence’ options which are determined by INZ’s Green List of occupations and qualifications.

For instance, high demand, skilled occupations like some engineering, electricians and healthcare roles are Tier 1 which enable migrants in these roles and who meet the defined criteria are eligible to apply for residence upon job offer with an Accredited Employer.

Dairy Farm Workers would fall into Tier 2, ‘Work to Residence’ with ability to apply for residence if have at least 3 years’ professional experience and have worked in NZ for 2 years (from Oct 2021) in a Green List role e.g.,  Herd Manager, Assistant Farm Manager, Farm Manager roles.

Find out more information about this pathway here.

6Parent & Grandparent Visitor Visa

For NZ citizens/residents who want to be able to have parents AND/OR grandparents come and spend quality time for an extended visit, without the complexity and requirements of a Parent Resident application, there is a relatively unknown solution: the Parent and Grandparents Visitor Visa (‘PGVV’).

This visa option has far less hassle than a residency process and with better visa conditions than a regular General Visitor Visa (‘GVV’) allowing approved family members to visa 6 months a year for up to 3 years.

You can read more here.

7 – The Parent Resident Visa has Reopened

The Parents Category allows NZ residents/citizens to sponsor their parents for NZ residence if they meet specific sponsorship criteria. INZ have made a few favourable changes:

  • The number of visas that can be granted each year has increased from 1,000 to 2,500.
  • Some requirements, such as the income threshold, have also been lowered which means more people will find out that they now have the opportunity to bring their parents to NZ.
  • The income threshold can now be achieved through two Resident sibling contributions instead of adult resident child and partner.

If you’d like to take advantage of this option, you can get in touch here or by calling us 09 303 3505

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