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Immigration


8 February 2018

NEW ZEALAND: Essential Skills visa changes effective 15 January 2018

Since August 2017, New Zealand has finalized changes to its Essential work visa programme as part of the county’s ‘Kiwis first’ campaign. At the end of each calendar year the remuneration bands are reviewed. This year, the change was delayed until 15 January 2018 but these changes are now in effect. 

Effective from 15 January 2018, remuneration thresholds are increased by Immigration New Zealand (INZ), which influences how long Essential Skills visa applicants (and their families) can stay. 

Essential skills visa applicants who: 

  • Earn less than NZD 20.65 per hour (Previously NZD 19.97 per hour): are eligible for a 12 month work visa, regardless of the skill level of the job. After three work visa’s, applicants must leave New Zealand for at least 12 months. They may not support a partner or dependent children to stay in New Zealand. 
  • Earning between NZD 20.65 and 36.44 per hour (Previously between NZD 19.97 and 35.24 per hour): are eligible for a 12 month work visa, based on ANZSCO skill level 4 or 5 jobs. After three work visa’s, applicants must leave New Zealand for at least 12 months. They may not support a partner or dependent children to stay in New Zealand.
  • Earn more than NZD 36.44 per hour (Previously more than NZD 35.24 per hour) are eligible for a five- year work visa, regardless of the skill level of the job. Applicants may be able to renew the visa every five years and do not need to leave New Zealand for at least 12 months. They may support a partner and/or dependent children to stay in New Zealand.

How Does This Affect the Client?

Companies sponsoring foreign nationals for Essential Skills visas are advised to check whether the threshold increase affects the period of time for which they require an employee to stay in the country, and whether the employee’s family can also stay. The changes do not affect existing Essential Skills visa holders or applications which were pending on 15 January 2018.

 

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