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.

COVID-19 September 2020 update

We are still seeing the effects of COVID-19 on immigration policy. The New Zealand border remains closed but the Government has started softening the travel restrictions and has also re-commenced processing some applications for migrants offshore. They key recent changes are:

  • Some visitor visas expiring between 4 September and 31 October have been automatically extended for five months
  • A new visitor visa category has been established for individuals in New Zealand who are genuinely unable to depart due to COVID-19
  • The border exception criteria for critical workers has been amended, making it slightly easier to meet the criteria
  • Immigration New Zealand has re-commenced processing of offshore relationship based visas which are supported by a New Zealand citizen or resident

The Government has also indicated that it will introduce a new border exception category for normally resident temporary work visa holders, however the related policy has not yet been released. The new exception should enable some offshore work visa holders to return to New Zealand.

Work visa extensions for some partners and dependants

In July 2020 some employer assisted work visa holders had their visas extended for six months. Yesterday Immigration New Zealand announced that partners and children holding a visa based on their relationship with those work visa holders, will also have their visas extended. Some conditions apply.

For example, if an Essential Skills work visa holder held a work visa which originally expired on 1 September 2020 and this was extended to 1 March 2021, their partner holding a Partner of a Worker work visa to 1 September 2020 will also now have their visa extended to 1 March 2021.

Read more about the announcement here: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/media-centre/news-notifications/work-visa-extension-aligned-for-partners-and-dependants

 

 

Essential Skills work visa requirements

Over the last few weeks there have been a number of changes to temporary entry policy. Currently, when applying for an Essential Skills work visa the rate of pay offered will determine the duration of the visa, the labour market test requirements and whether or not the Essential Skills work visa holder can support their partner and children for visas. The table below summarises the current requirements.

Some other key points:

  • All Essential Skills work visas will be issued for six months or three years. It is no longer possible to be issued a five year Essential Skills work visa.
  • ANZSCO will still be used to determine whether or not the visa applicant is suitably qualified or experienced to do the job.
  • The New Zealand borders are still closed and INZ is not processing any visa applications for those outside of New Zealand.

If you would like assistance with a temporary visa, contact us today – appley@starimmigration.co.nz

Essential Skills work visas have changed

Immigration New Zealand has changed the way in which they assess Essential Skills work visas.

If you earn $25.50/hour or more:

  • You may be eligible to apply for a three year work visa
  • You may be able to support your partner for an open work visa or a visitor visa
  • You may be able to support your dependent children for a student or visitor visa
  • Your employer will not need to liaise with Work & Income

If you earn less than $25.50/hour:

  • You will only be eligible to apply for a six month work visa
  • You will only be able to support your partner for a visitor visa
  • You may be able to support your dependent children for a student or visitor visa
  • Your employer must liaise with Work & Income

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

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.

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.