Urgent Policy UpdateChanges Announced 17th September 2019

Following a lengthy consultation process, INZ has announced upcoming changes to temporary work visas. The changes will come into effect over the next 18 months, starting with the first installment of changes coming into effect on 7th October 2019.

Phase one: Effective 7th October 2019
The first set of changes will affect the Work to Residence – Talent (Accredited Employer) category and the accreditation process for employer. These changes are as follows:

  • Increasing the Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa salary threshold from $55,000 to $79,560 (150% of the current median salary).
  • Limiting the duration of accreditation granted to employers under the Talent (Accredited Employer) policy to 24 months. It can currently be granted for up to 5 years.
  • Removing the ability to give a Permanent Resident Visa in place of a Resident Visa to Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa holders who earn above $90,000 (currently applicable RW2.1 instructions).

The Silver Fern Job Search Visa will also be permanently closing.

There are some very key points to note:

  • If you are thinking of applying for an Accredited Employer Work Visa and are being offered a salary between $55,000 and $79,559, you must apply before 7th October 2019.
  • If you do so, you will not be affected by these changes and the conditions and length of your visa will not change. If you later apply for a Talent (Accredited Employer) Resident Visa, you will only need a salary of at least NZD $55,000.

Phase two: Between now and 2021 (no specified time frame)
INZ will be implementing an overhaul to the temporary work visa instructions, replacing six work visa categories with one. The categories to be replaced are:

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

Employers will lead a new process for employing migrant workers – this will be a 3-step process

  1. An employer check — it will be mandatory for all employers, including those with an existing accreditation, to be accredited under the new application process before they can hire migrants on the new work visa.
  2. A job check — this will include checking that the job is paid in line with the New Zealand market rate and, in some cases, will include a labour market test to ensure New Zealand workers are not available.
  3. A worker check — when the worker applies for a visa, they must show they meet our standard character, identity and health requirements, as well showing they have the skills to do the job they have been offered.

Further key points to note:

Labour Market Tests: LMT – will still be used but not for every job

  • Employers will not need to undertake a labour market test if they offer high-paid work in rural areas and smaller towns.
  • Labour market tests will need to be done for all low-paid jobs and this will be strengthened.
  • Employers offering a high-paid job outside Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin will not have to do an LMT.

Skill Band:

  • Remuneration will be used to assess the skill band of employment offered to migrant workers, in contrast to current policy which uses both remuneration and the ANZSCO occupation description.
  • Current Skill Band assessment for Essential Skills is as below:

Please keep in mind that we are working hard behind the scenes to delve into these changes in much greater detail, and how it may impact you, your family, or your employer. If you have a specific concern(s) about your immigration, please contact us at Aims Global Immigration and Education Services. We are here to ensure that your immigration process is navigated smoothly and efficiently.


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