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New Zealand Immigration Changes

immigration changes

Immigration New Zealand has announced changes that will have significant effect on the labour market contribution of migrants in terms of where they work, which industries they work in, the proportion who work or receive income support, and their earnings and sources of income. These changes will come into effect on 14 August 2017, and these changes will impact some people in low paid employment.

The highlights of changes in policy are as under:

  • More Emphasis will be put on characteristics associated with Better Outcomes.For example jobs that are Currently Considered Skilled renumeration threshold is being set at $48,859.00 a year while jobs that are Currently Not Being Considered Skilled but are well paid the remuneration threshold is being set at $73,299.00
  • More Points will be available for Skilled Work Experience and Some Recognised Post Graduate Qualifications, and Points For Age Will Increase for applicants aged 30-39.
  • Points Will No Longer Be Available for Qualifications In Areas Of Absolute Skills Shortage, for Employment, Work Experience and Qualifications In Identified Future Growth Areas and for Close Family in New Zealand.


In addition to the above New Zealand Government is also consulting on changes to temporary migration settings to manage the number and settlement expectations of new migrants coming to New Zealand on Essential Skills work visas.

Three years Criteria

Introduction of a maximum duration of three years for lower-skilled Essential Skills visa holders, after which there will be a minimum stand down period before they can apply for another lower-skilled Essential Skills visa.Three years has been proposed as the maximum duration for lower-skilled Essential Skills work visas because maximum duration of three years provides a balance between giving visa holders the opportunity to transition to a more highly-skilled Essential Skills visa or obtain residence, while also ensuring that migrants with no pathway to residence do not become well-settled in New Zealand. It also provides employers with sufficient time to recruit new staff or up skill existing staff to fill the role.

Restricting Partners and Children

New Zealand Government is restricting the ability of partners and children of lower-skilled migrant workers to come to New Zealand in order to reinforce the temporary nature of the visa and reduce expectations of settlement from temporary migrants with no pathway to residence. Lower skilled Essential Skills workers would take up employment in New Zealand with a full understanding that they would not be able to bring their family. Partners and children would still be able to come to New Zealand as a visitor and will only gain a work or student visa if they meet visa requirements in their own right.

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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