Work visa policy changes

Immigration New Zealand announced several key work visa changes yesterday.

  1. Automatic extension of some work visas: Those in New Zealand holding an employer assisted work visa (including an Essential Skills work visa) on 10 July 2020 which is due to expire before 31 December 2020 will have their visa automatically extended by 6 months.
  2. Duration of lower skilled work visas reduced: The duration of new lower skilled/lower paid Essential Skills work visas will be reduced to 6 months from 10 July 2020.
  3. Remuneration used to assess work visas: From 27 July 2020 Immigration New Zealand will no longer rely on ANZSCO to assess work visa applications. From 27 July 2020 Immigration New Zealand will use a remuneration threshold ($25.50/hour) to determine whether a Skills Match Report is required for a work visa and to determine the duration of the work visa.

COVID-19 Update 2


  • Healthcare sector: Student visa holders who were employed in an essential healthcare worker role on 3 April 2020 will now be able to work more than 20 hours per week up to 3 July 2020.
  • Visa processing: INZ has closed all of its offices. It has ceased processing nearly all visa applications. The Skilled Migrant and Parent Expression of Interest (EOI) pool draws have been suspended until further notice. The only visas that are currently being processed are those relating to essential workers, essential healthcare workers and requests for urgent travel.
  • Border closure: The New Zealand border remains closed. There are only a few limited exceptions to this. The Government has indicated that it is likely the border will remain closed for some time. Today the Government announced that anyone arriving in New Zealand from midnight tonight will face mandatory quarantine.
  • Financial assistance: The COVID-19 wage subsidy is available to anyone legally working in New Zealand. This includes work visa holders in New Zealand. If you are currently in New Zealand but not employed and require financial assistance, you should contact your embassy or consulate.

COVID-19 update

A lot has been happening with immigration over the last week or so. Here are a few of the most important changes:

– BORDER CLOSURE – The New Zealand border is closed to most travellers from overseas. There are only a few limited exceptions to this. All arrivals from overseas must self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.

– EXTENSION OF VISAS – If you are currently in New Zealand and hold a temporary visa (work, student, visitor, interim, limited) that expires between 2 April and 9 July 2020, your visa will be automatically extended to 25 September 2020. You will be sent an email directly about this if you are affected.

– INZ OFFICES CLOSED – All INZ offices are closed. This means that lengthy delays can be expected with any applications that are currently pending with INZ.

– SUPERMARKET EMPLOYEES – Visa conditions for certain student and work visa holders have been relaxed. Student and work visa holders who were employees of Woolworths or Foodstuffs on 23 March will be able to do any role, for as many hours as required for their employer from 25 March to 25 April 2020.

All of the latest INZ and COVID-19 information is available on the INZ website.

Take care everyone.

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New version of ANZSCO released

As a result of ANZSCO being updated, some occupations are now going to be recognised as being skilled as exceptions. The occupations recognised as an exception include Personal Care Assistant/Caregiver, Teacher’s Aide, Bookkeeper, Crane Operator and Construction Rigger. This will enable some people to apply for residence under the Skilled Migrant category who were not previously eligible. It will also enable some people to apply for a mid-skilled Essential Skills work visa, rather than a low-skilled work visa. If you earn $25 per hour or more and are working in the one of the occupations now recognised as being skilled as an exception, you may be able to apply for residence now ! Contact us today to find out more –

Parent category to re-open in February 2020

From February 2020 it will be possible to lodge an Expression of Interest for the Parent category. There will only be 1000 places available each year and sponsors must meet specified financial requirements. One sponsor wishing to sponsor one parent must earn at least $106,080pa. One sponsor and their partner wishing to sponsor one parent must earn at least $159,120pa. The sponsor will need to provide IRD tax statements as proof of their income and they must meet the income requirement in two out of the three years before the visa application is lodged. Read more here.

Talent (Accredited Employer) work visa remuneration threshold to increase

From 7 October 2019 the remuneration threshold for the Talent (Accredited Employer) work visa will increase significantly. The current threshold is $55,000pa. From 7 October this will increase to $79,560pa.

You can read more about the change on the Immigration New Zealand website.

Changes to work visas

Yesterday the Government announced major changes to the work visa regime that will affect overseas workers and employers. Most of the changes will be introduced during 2020-2021.

Immigration New Zealand will introduce an entirely new process for the employer, labour market and visa applicant. The new process will involve three gateways. The first gateway will be the Employer Gateway. All employers wanting to employ a foreign worker will be required to be accredited.

The second gateway will be the Job Gateway. This gateway will require employers to show that the pay and conditions offered to the overseas worker are consistent with New Zealand standards and that the employer has made a genuine attempt to recruit a New Zealander. Jobs will be classified as either lower-paid or higher-paid. Based on the current median wage, workers earning less than $25 per hour will be considered lower-paid. The location of the role and the rate of pay will determine if a labour market test is required and the duration of any visa granted.

The third gateway will be the Worker Gateway. Only once the employer has obtained accreditation and met the job gateway requirements will an individual be able to apply for a visa. The Worker Gateway will involve checks on identity, health, character and in some cases, qualifications and experience.

You can read more about the changes on the Immigration New Zealand website.

If you have any questions about the changes, please get in touch.