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Swift Advance of the Changes to Employer Assisted Work Visas

Swift Advance of the Changes to Employer Assisted Work Visas

Posted on 4th November 2020 by Russell Phillips


Written by Vanessa Godbaz, Automotive Employment NZ's Licesed Immigration Adviser 20190014


Just over a year ago we posted an article about upcoming changes to employer assisted work visas. The article can be found here.

Whilst some thought that the workloads Immigration NZ were under and the impact of Covid-19 would preclude the roll out of these policies, in fact they are steaming along according to plan. Here is are the measures implemented thus far, and what is coming soon.

October 7, 2019

An increase in the base salary for Talent (Accredited Employer) work visa holders from $55,000 to $79,560. As predicted, this caused an immediate turning off the tap for off shore sales people, service and parts support staff, vehicle administrators and higher level managers who do not hold degrees.

Removal of the option to immediately become a Permanent Resident rather than a Resident for highly paid Talent (Accredited Employer) work visa holders.

27 July, 2020

Skill bands (high-skilled, mid-skilled and lower-skilled) are no longer used to determine the length of visas. Everything is related to salary, regardless of the role.

The dividing line is $25.50 per hour (the current median wage). This is rumoured to increase to $27.00 next year.

Those paid at or above this can get a 3 year work visa and support partners and children on work and student visas.

Workers paid below $25.50 can only get a 6 month work visa for a maximum overall stay of 18 months before having to stand down for 12 months. (Leave the country).

Sector agreements were to have started being negotiated mid 2020. This has been delayed by Covid-19 but is expected to resume soon. This is for industries who hire large numbers of migrant workers and will include a workforce plan and conditions they need to meet to recruit temporary migrants. The automotive industry is not targeted for initial negotiations but it is possible this will occur at some stage.

Regional Skills Leadership groups are now up and running. The purpose of these is to provide information on regional skills shortages, which will affect labour market tests. Labour market tests will be regionally based.

Employer accreditation will be phased in in 2021. As explained in the previous article there will be different levels of accreditation required, depending on how many migrant workers are required annually. Initially accreditation will last one year, afterwards it will last 2 years.

Employers who employ between one and five migrants will need standard accreditation. They would be required to be a genuinely operating business, have no recent history of regulatory non-compliance, and take steps to minimise exploitation.

Those who employ more than five workers annually will need to pass the same requirements as standard accreditation AND must demonstrate a commitment to training and upskilling New Zealanders. They must also demonstrate a commitment to improving pay and conditions over time.

For employers who are already accredited there will be a reasonably simple transition.

We urge non accredited businesses who are likely to employ more than five migrants annually to get ready for accreditation now, as a large amount of documentation is required. Although our borders are closed there are plenty of temporary workers already here, and you will need to be accredited to employ them. To find out more contact our Licensed Immigration Adviser, Vanessa Godbaz.