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.
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.
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.
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.