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Here’s what you need to know about the recently announced New Zealand work visa changes | Sanda Arambepola

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Recently, Immigration New Zealand announced that about 10,000 migrant workers on Working Holiday and Supplementary Seasonal Employment visas will have their visas extended for another six months in order to help ease the labor shortages while the country’s border remains closed. 

However, in May 2021 New Zealand Immigration announced what they called “the biggest change to work visas in a generation”. A new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) will be introduced in the second half of 2021 and it will replace six streams of work visas in the old system. 

The six work visa streams that will be replaced are:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa 
  • Essential Skills Work Visa — approved in principle
  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa
  • Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa
  • Silver Fern Job Search Visa (closed 7 October 2019)
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa

However, if you currently hold any of the above work visas, they will not be impacted by this decision and will stay valid until their expiration date. Other types of work visas like partnership-based visas and post-study work visas will also not be affected by these alterations. 

Under the new process employers will be required to undertake the following three steps: 

  • Employer Check: 

Based on how many visa holders they support, employers will be asked to meet an accreditation level. The new accreditation levels are standard accreditation (for employers who want to have up to 5 migrant workers on AEWVs at any one time) and High-volume accreditation (for employers who want to have 6 or more migrant workers on AEWVs at any one time).

  • Job Check:

A Job check will confirm whether the job role to be filled is paying the relevant market rate, complying with employment laws, and has done a labor market test (when applicable). A labor market test will ensure that the role was genuinely advertised to New Zealanders and there was no local talent available to do the job. For jobs paying below the median wage, the labor market test includes checking with the Ministry of Social Development.

  • Migrant Worker Check: 

Once the job is approved by Immigration New Zealand, the migrant worker will be checked to ensure whether they meet the relevant requirements for the visa. Immigration New Zealand is yet to release the information on what the requirements are and how they are to apply. 

For further information on these work visa reforms, please refer to the following link: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/employ-migrants/introducing-new-accreditation-and-single-work-visa/employer-leads-visa-application-process 

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