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A year of volatility – 2022 finishes with more immigration changes!

21 December 2022

Written by Zinnia Manchanda, Director. 

2022 - what a year it has been!

Immigration in NZ went through so many changes in 2022 that to share a ‘year-in-review’ recap (a customary practice for final article of the year) would be information overload! The metamorphosis of this landscape in one year has impacted more segments of the market than it has ever before – from temporary workers to employers, to students, partners, visitors and parents, you name it. 

The year started off hot with 2021 Resident Visa touted as one of INZ’s most unique products being processed through the automated ADEPT system. Now as 2022 ends, this has proven to be the one visa product fraught with technical errors and issues. Not long after 2021 Resident Visa Phase 2 opening, the government eased the border restrictions for critical workers in March 2022 as employers starved of skilled talent cried out for help (one only has to look at the media coverage of this issue to see the extent of it)!

With Covid19 slowing off around July 2022, the border was set to reopen, and the government decided to finally implement the new Accreditation scheme; which was first discussed during Labour’s election campaign in 2017. This scheme has largely been smooth sailing for most businesses. Success! 

For the first time since pandemic, new residence categories were announced for those in specific roles or higher incomes – these opened in September 2022. New median wage rates were also announced.

Then in a flash, the government reopened Skilled Migrant Category and Parent EOI in November 2022 – a second chance residence opportunity for many who missed out on 2021 Resident Visa.

December 2022 has been choc-a-block with announcements and changes. Partners of Accredited Employer Work Visa holders not in Green List or high income were due to lose their ability to apply for a work visa (creating much stress for many); but then last minute, the Minister overturned this, deferring these changes to 2023. Green List was expanded to include more roles. Biggest news to come out of December was a residence pathway for bus and truck drivers through a sector agreement (prior to this, this group of people had no obvious pathway to residence). INZ also said it would contact those that are still offshore and had held post study work visas that expired during the pandemic, and give them 12-months of open work rights. All positive news to end the year!

INZ also considerably hiked their fee for all visa products this year.

What are the results of 2022’s announcements?

Well, this depends on the individual person’s ability to grasp and keep up with the changes, but we’d like to say that the result of 2022 as a year is two fold: 

1) Choice (especially in regards to residence categories) 

2) Confusion (a result of the choices available).

There’s been too much change and it’s been chaotic. The technology (ADEPT platform) leaves much to be desired. Policies are announced to go live on a certain date, and then either postponed as we get closer to that time, or changed. The industry is forever playing catch up! 

What’s in store of 2023?

Time will tell but some new policies have already been proposed by the government. New median wage ($29.66/hr) will kick in in February 2023. Green List will be reviewed. New EOIs able to be submitted for Parent Resident Visa. SMC with 180 points will close mid/later this year to be replaced by a new version of SMC with 6 points (which is currently in its consultation phase). Accreditation extensions will kick in so accredited employers will not have to worry about submitting renewals.

But what we hope for the most in 2023 is that INZ will complete it’s 2021 RV queues in the first half of the year. Fingers crossed!

Relevant News

FAQs: Skilled Migrant Category 2022 21 June 2023

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FAQs: Parent Resident Visa Category 04 August 2023

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FAQs: Green List 'Straight to Residence' 05 September 2022

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Sector Agreements - What, Why and How? 27 April 2023

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