In continuation of their effort to align with the changes being brought about by recent and not so recent factors affecting employment sector in New Zealand, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) in a public communication on 08 July 2020 has made some important announcements.
The changes announced are majorly lined with the previously announced changes to employer-assisted work visas last year.
The directives issued legislate that from 27 July 2020, ANZSCO will no longer be used to determine whether a job is considered higher- or lower-paid. Instead, a simple remuneration threshold will be used which means that work visa applications for jobs that are paid below the median wage will need to include a Skills Match Report (SMR) from the Ministry of Social Development. The duration of the visa will also be dependent on whether the individual will be paid above or below the national median wage.
Furthermore, in light of the impact that COVID-19 continues to have on businesses, three short term changes to visa settings for temporary work visa holders in New Zealand have been advised. These changes are as follows:
1. Extention of Visas: INZ has extended visas of all existing employer-assisted temporary work visa holders who are currently in New Zealand and whose visas are due to expire before the end of 2020 by six months.
This includes work visa holders whose visas are due to expire after 9 July 2020, as well as those visas that were previously extended to 25 September 2020 under the Epidemic Management Notice. This extension will be automatic for most visa holders. All other conditions of the original visa remain the same, including the specific occupation and specific employer and location.
2. Delay of Stand Down Period: INZ has delayed the introduction of the 12 months stand down period for lower-paid workers who have had their employer-assisted work visa extended.
This delay of stand down period will come as a relief to those people who have been in New Zealand on a lower-paid Essential Skills visa for three years were/are unable to be granted a new Essential Skills visas until they have spent 12 months outside New Zealand.
This time-limited change will enable lower-paid migrants who are subject to the stand-down between August 2020 and the end of December 2020 to stay in New Zealand and work for the same employer in the same occupation and location for up to a further six months, in line with their visa extension.
Any migrants who are/were subject to the stand-down period from February 2021 will still be required to leave New Zealand for 12 months before they can apply for another lower-paid work visa.
3. The duration of all new lower-paid Essential Skills work visas has been reduced from 12 months to six months to mitigate future labour market risks.
This will apply to all new lower-paid Essential Skills work visa applications lodged from 10 July. The Essential Skills Work Visa Applications received before 10 July will still be granted a 12 months’ visa if approved.
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