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Essential Skills Work Visa Changes

Essential Skills Work Visa

Today the Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi announced changes pertaining to Essential Skills Work visa applications effective 19 July 2021 onwards.

From Monday 19 July, the maximum duration of Essential Skills visas, for jobs paid below the median wage, will increase from 12 months to 24 months. The duration of Essential Skills visas for jobs paid at or above the median wage will remain three years.

Essential Skills Work Visa Application Process Streamlined


  • Application form: From 19 July 2021 until 28 August 2021, a paper-based form available on the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) website has to be used. From 30 August 2021 onwards, applicants will be able to apply online instead.
  • Labour Market Test (LMT): Employers retaining migrant workers in the same roles will not have to prove there are no New Zealanders available. A labour market test will have to be conducted for vacant roles or when the worker changes the region of work.
  • Employment agreement: An employment agreement is not to be included with a new essential skills application when applicants are remaining in the same role.
  • Medicals & Police Clearance Certificate (PCC): Medicals and PCC will not be required if these were previously submitted with a visa application.

The above changes to requirements will apply up to the middle of next year and will make it easier for employers to retain their current migrant workforce.


Fees for the two-year Essential Skills visa will remain the same at $440, plus the Immigration Levy of $55.

Updated Skills Match Report

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) is changing its process for testing the New Zealand labour market to more effectively prioritise New Zealand job seekers. The updated Skills Match Report will be available 19 July 2021 onwards.

Impact of the new Essential Skills Work Visa related changes on the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV)

The new AEWV which was due to come into effect on 1 November 2021 will be delayed until the middle of next year.

If you have any queries or would need more clarification regarding this, please contact please contact Immigration Advisers New Zealand Ltd by sending an email at [email protected] or call us on +64 09 3790219

Author Details

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Vandana Rai

(LIA 201400900)

Vandana Rai is a Senior Licensed Immigration Adviser and has built a reputation around her rare set of skills, which could be considered ideal for her legal profession.

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