New streamlined process for Essential Skills work visas

New streamlined process for Essential Skills work visa applications

The Minister of Immigration recently announced some changes to Essential Skills work visas to streamline the application process.

 

  • Any applicant for an Essential Skills work visa who has previously provided a medical, x-ray and police certificate to Immigration New Zealand, will not be required to provide a new medical, x-ray or police certificate with the Essential Skills work visa application.

 

  • Where special streamlined criteria are met, certain documents and evidence will not be required to support an Essential Skills work visa.

 

    • Applicants will not have to provide an employment agreement
    • Applicants will not have to provide evidence of their qualifications and experience
    • Employers will not have not provide evidence that there are no New Zealanders available

 

  • In order to meet the special streamlined criteria, the Essential Skills work visa applicant must be remaining in their current full-time employment (same job, same employer, same location) and they must hold:

 

    • any type of work visa; or
    • a student visa to study a Masters or PhD; or
    • a Critical Purpose visitor visa as a critical health worker; or
    • a Critical Purpose visitor visa granted for more than six months as an other critical worker.

 

These changes will result in a simpler application process for some applicants.

 

Essential Skills work visa changes

From 19 July 2021, the median wage of $27/hour will be used by Immigration New Zealand to determine whether an applicant is paid “at or above the median wage” or “below the median wage” for Essential Skills work visas. Your rate of pay is very important as it determines the duration of the work visa and also whether or not you can support your partner or child’s visa.

 

Rate of pay Duration of visa Partner Dependent Children
Median wage or above

 

$27/hour or more

 

Three years Partner is eligible to apply for an open work visa or visitor visa based on the relationship

 

Dependent child is eligible to apply for a visitor visa or student visa

 

The Essential Skills work visa holder must meet the remuneration threshold of $43,322.76pa

 

Less than the median wage

 

Less than $27/hour

 

Two years

 

Partner is eligible to apply for a visitor visa based on the relationship

 

Partner must apply for a work visa in their own right (i.e. have a job offer)

Dependent child is eligible to apply for a visitor visa or student visa

 

The Essential Skills work visa holder must meet the remuneration threshold of $43,322.76pa

 

 

If you have any questions about Essential Skills work visa requirements, contact us today!

Sleepover hours in the aged, residential care and disability care industry

Recent changes to work visa policy mean that persons working in the aged, residential care or disability care industry are able to work sleepover hours in some instances.

Essential Skills work visa holders are now able to work sleepover hours if they:

  • currently work in the aged, residential care or disability care industry; and
  • work at least 30 hours per week at the pay rate specified on their work visa; and
  • are allowed to sleep during the overnight work; and
  • are paid at or above the minimum wage for any sleepover hours.

This will be good news for many migrants working as caregivers, personal care assistants and disability care workers.

If you have any questions about this recent policy change, please get in touch today!

 

 

Work visa changes

On 1 November 2021, a new work visa, the Accredited Employer work visa, will be introduced. The Accredited Employer work visa will replace six current work visas including the Essential Skills work visa.

The new work visa process will have three steps:

  1. Employer check – The employer must apply for and obtain accreditation
  2. Job check – The employer must demonstrate that there are no New Zealanders available to fill the role, that they are offering the market rate for the role and the terms and conditions comply with employment law
  3. The migrant check – The migrant worker applies for the Accredited Employer work visa

The employer must obtain accreditation before the migrant will be able to apply for an Accredited Employer work visa. Employers will be able to apply for accreditation from September 2021.

More details about the changes will be released over the coming months.

New border exemption

Partners and children of workers employed in critical health services are now eligible to request an exemption to travel to New Zealand. To be eligible for this exemption:

  • You must be outside of New Zealand and wishing to travel to New Zealand
  • You must be the partner or dependent child of a work visa holder in New Zealand
  • The work visa holder must have a visa which specifies they must work in a critical health service

Critical health services include caregivers along with registered health practitioners, ambulance workers and others.

Key updates to border restrictions

Currently, persons travelling from India, including New Zealand citizens, are not permitted to enter New Zealand.

Today, New Zealand designated India, Brazil, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea as “very high risk countries.” This designation relates to the high numbers of COVID-19 cases in these countries.

From 11.59pm on 28 April 2021, further restrictions will come into effect for those travelling to New Zealand from very high risk countries. This means that from 11.59pm on 28 April 2021, the only people who will be permitted to travel to New Zealand from very high risk countries are:

  • New Zealand citizens;
  • Partners and dependent children of New Zealand citizens; and
  • Parents of dependent children who are New Zealand citizens.

A consequence of the restriction is that from 11.59pm on 28 April 2021, New Zealand residents and other visa holders will not be permitted to travel to New Zealand from India, Brazil, Pakistan or Papua New Guinea. Non-New Zealand citizens will need to spend at least 14 days outside of a very high risk country before being permitted to travel to New Zealand.

All other standard pre-departure testing, quarantine and visa requirements remain in place.

Skilled Migrant residence update

The government has indicated that they are currently reviewing the Skilled Migrant residence programme. For now:

  • It is possible to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) under the Skilled Migrant category. However, Immigration New Zealand is not carrying out any EOI pool draws. This means that no action will be taken on any EOIs at this time.
  • Immigration New Zealand continues to process Skilled Migrant residence applications for people in New Zealand.
  • There are lengthy delays in processing Skilled Migrant residence applications. Immigration New Zealand is currently allocating Skilled Migrant residence applications which were submitted in July 2019.
  • It is likely that the skilled employment remuneration threshold under the Skilled Migrant category will increase from $25.50/hour to $27/hour later this year.

Hopefully, we will have some more news about the Skilled Migrant residence programme later this month.

PRE-DEPARTURE COVID-19 TESTING

The government has announced it will expand its pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirements.

With some limited exceptions, any person arriving in New Zealand after 11.59PM Monday 25 January will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test before travelling to New Zealand. Travellers arriving from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands will be exempted from the pre-departure testing.

For more information about the requirements, please refer to the government’s Managed Isolation and Quarantine website.

GOOD NEWS FOR THOSE WORKING IN THE DAIRY INDUSTRY – CHANGES TO DAIRY CATTLE FARMER (ANZSCO 121313)

From 15 February 2021 the way Immigration New Zealand assesses some dairy farm occupations will change. Three occupations, Dairy Farm Manager, Assistant Dairy Farm Manager and Dairy Herd Manager will all fall under the ANZSCO occupation of Dairy Cattle Farmer (ANZSCO 121313). The occupations of Assistant Dairy Farm Manager and Dairy Herd Manager will be recognised as skill level three occupations which will enable some farm workers to obtain residence when they may not have been able to do so in the past.

If you are working on a farm and would like more information, please contact us today.

October 2020 update

There have been many announcements by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) this month, but the two key announcements that we would like to share with you today are:

  • Selection of Skilled Migrant and Parent Expressions of Interest (EOI) deferred – INZ has announced that no selections of Skilled Migrant EOIs or Parent EOIs will take place for six months. While you can still submit an EOI, nothing will happen to your EOI for the next six months and it will remain sitting in the EOI pool.
  • Skills Match Report process streamlined – Previously, all Essential Skills work visa applicants earning less than $25.50/hour were required to obtain a Skills Match Report (SMR) from Work and Income (unless they met the requirements of one of the Skills Shortage Lists). Now, Work and Income has created two lists – an oversupply list and an undersupply list. If you are earning less than $25.50/hour and your role is on one of the lists, Work and Income will no longer issue a SMR but INZ will use the lists to assess whether or not New Zealanders are available for the job.

Please contact appley@starimmigration.co.nz today if you have any questions.