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.

New requirements for assessing temporary partnership applications

Immigration New Zealand has recently announced they will change the way they assess temporary partnership applications. They have provided updated advice on how Immigration Officers should assess temporary applications when the couple has not lived together. You can read the Immigration New Zealand advice here.

Supervision in the Immigration Advice Industry

Interested to know how the current immigration adviser supervision regime is working? Check out my article here.

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 – appley@starimmigration.co.nz

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.

Accreditation for labour hire companies

At the moment it is compulsory for labour hire companies in Canterbury, but not other parts of New Zealand, to hold labour hire accreditation. The government is currently considering a proposal to make it compulsory for all employers throughout New Zealand to be accredited. As part of that proposal, the Immigration Minister recently indicated that he was considering a nation-wide labour hire accreditation scheme.

Do it yourself – NZeTA

From 1 October 2019 , you will not be allowed to travel to New Zealand if you do not have a visa or NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority). You can apply for a NZeTA online yourself through the Immigration New Zealand website for $12. Alternatively, you can apply from the NZeTA app for $9. Don’t get caught out and pay a hefty fee to get someone else to do this on your behalf.