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Get ready, get ready, get ready – Upcoming changes for employer-assisted work visas

The upcoming changes to the New Zealand immigration system will affect almost every person who holds or intends to apply for an employer-assisted work visa.

A central feature is that all employers wishing to employ a migrant worker must first get one of three types of accreditation status with Immigration New Zealand before it can support a worker’s visa application.  This requirement is likely to include employers with existing employees on a work visa that requires a visa extension.

 

The proposed new system will replace the current visa categories:

  • Essential Skills
  • Approval-in-Principle
  • Talent (Accredited Employer)
  • Work to Residence (Long Term Skills Shortage List)
  • Silver Fern (Practical Experience)
  • Silver Fern (Job Search)

 

Accreditation already exists as a subset of the Work Visa policy, however, whether accreditation under the new policy will look much different is unclear.  Under the current settings (and likely to carry over into the new system), employers must show that they

  • Are in a sound financial position
  • Have robust Human Resources policies to safeguard employees
  • Have a history of compliance with New Zealand’s employment and immigration laws; and
  • Actively committed to employing and training New Zealand workers

 

It is also suggested that the current salary requirement for a Talent (Accredited Employer) visa of $55,000 per annum (or $26.24 per hour) based on a 40-hour working week will increase to about $78,000 per annum (or $37.50 per hour).  That is an increase of about 41.81%.

These changes are likely to be announced in the next few months and would take effect before the end of 2019.

Pacific Legal has experience with assisting clients with employer accreditation status with Immigration New Zealand, and can help employers and their employees prepare for the upcoming changes.