Median Wage Required for Most Partners

From May 31, 2023 partners of accredited employer and essential skills work visa holders who apply for a Partner of a Worker Work Visa will have new conditions that they  paid at least the median wage currently NZD $29.66. The median wage is reviewed annually.

You Can Only Work for an Accredited or Exempt Employer

Partners can only work for an Accredited Employer. Immigration New Zealand will be publishing a list.

Partners may not work in roles covered by capped sector agreements. If they are working for a uncapped sector agreement they must be paid at least the minimum required for that agreement.


People Who Applied Before 31 May Not Affected

These changes do not affect the open partner work visas available to those who applied before 31 May. There is likely to be a rush of applications towards the end of the month and this could have an impact on processing times.

When Will You Need to Meet These Requirements?

These requirements must be met either: 

  • When the employer extends the offer of employment-meaning; it is possible for the partner to have the visa but not to work while they look for a qualifying job.
  • For those who are already employed at the start date of the work visa, whichever comes first.

Locked-In for the Length of the Visa

The partner visa holder then won’t be affected for the duration of the visa by any later modifications to the employer’s accreditation, the median salary, or sector agreements. Usually partner visa are for the same length as the principal applicant who holds the main work visa.

No Job Offer Required

The good news is that unlike accredited work visas no job offers are required for partners: as far as we know the application will be as it is now. However, once the Visa is granted, they can only work for an accredited (or exempt) employer: that is a big change. And they must be paid $29.66 in nearly all cases.

30 Hours Per Week Not Required

Part-time work is allowed: there are no minimum hours, but the rate must be $29.66 per hour unless exempt.

No Change for Some Partners

Partners of New Zealand citizens or residents are not affected by this change along with other visa types, at this stage although government has announced an intention to move towards accreditation for all work visas in future. Open work visas continue to be available to partners of essential skills or accredited employer work Visa holders: 

  • Paid at least twice the median wage, or
  • Working in a role on the Green List 
  • Including where these exceptions apply due to a pay increase or change the green list

These exceptions include migrants who did not meet these requirements when they received their visa, but have since met them through a pay increase or their role being added to the Green List. Partners can have their partnership work visas varied if their supporting partner meets the high-income threshold or their occupation moves to the green list. The supporting partner needs to all meet the Green List requirements and not just work in an occupation on the list.

What Happens If I Work for an Unaccredited Employer or for Below Median Wage

Immigration New Zealand can issue a deportation liability notice where someone breaches the conditions of the Visa but more often, we find it is raised when they come to apply for a new visa- it becomes a character and credibility (bona fides) issue. 

Contact Us: We Can Help!

This is general information only; Every case is different. The above information was up-to-date on 26 May 2023 but immigration instructions change over time. To get advice about your case contact our friendly team so they can assist you in the process. 

Richard Small