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Update On Visa Extensions, New Visa Expiry Dates, and Changes To Visa Conditions

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On 10th June, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi has extended the validity of onshore Working Holiday visas (WHV) and Supplementary Seasonal Employment (SSE) visas that expire between 21 June and 31 December 2021 by six months.

He said that the move would remove uncertainties in the case of migrant workers and also address the skills shortage faced by employers. It is also said that if the conditions of the borders demand so the visas will be extended further.

WHV holders will continue to be able to work in any employment, except permanent employment. Supplementary Seasonal Employment visa holders will be given open work rights to work in any sector when their visas are extended.


Working Holiday Visa holders

  1. Have to be onshoree., in New Zealand on 14th June 2021 to get the extension.
  2. They will be contacted by 25 June 2021 by Immigration of New Zealand in order to confirm the extension of visa.
  3. Can use the confirmation email from Immigration of New Zealand (INZ) as an authentication for working while engaging with prospective employers.

Supplementary Seasonal Employer (SSE) work visas expiring between 30 June 2021 and 31 December 2021 are being extended for six months as well. The conditions are similar to that of WHV.

  • Visa holders must be in New Zealand on 14 June 2021 to get the extension.
  • INZ will contact visa holders by 25 June 2021 confirming their extension.

From 14 June 2021 SSE visa holders will have open work rights allowing them to work in any sector.


While the current Essential Skills visas will not be extended, the Minister of Immigration has increased the duration of new Essential Skills visas for those who are paid below the median wage from 6 months to 12 months.

This change applies to all visas granted on and after 10 June 2021, even in cases where the application was made while the instructions still specified a six-month duration.

From 19 July, Essential Skills visa applications will be assessed using the median hourly wage of NZD$27.00, in line with the 2020 Statistics New Zealand median wage. It will continue to be a requirement that Essential Skills visa holders are given and paid for at least 30 hours of work per week.

Employers will still need to prove they have been genuinely unsuccessful at attracting a New Zealander into the role before offering it to a temporary migrant.

The stand-down period for Essential Skills work visa holders who are paid below the median wage, which would require them to leave New Zealand for 12 months after three years (four years for healthcare workers) before they can apply for another lower-paid Essential Skills work visa, will be further postponed until July 2022.


For the border exceptions of dairy farm workers, the Minister of Immigration is also introducing a border exception for up to 150 Dairy Herd Managers, 50 Dairy Farm Workers and 50 veterinarians. INZ is finalising details with industry bodies and the Ministry of Primary Industries about this border exception and more information will be provided as these are confirmed.

If you have any queries regarding any of the above visa category extension, please contact us. Our team of experienced Licenced Immigration Advisers is here to assist you with all your immigration-related queries and confusions, please contact us 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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