Posts about work visa options for New Zealand but not specific named ones
Immigration New Zealand is continuously amending their visa regulations to help the country bounce back from the economic effects of COVID-19. This month’s changes affect Essential Skill visa holders, dairy farm workers and three short-term work visas.
Changes to Essential Skills visa
Immigration New Zealand has announced three changes to the Essential Skills visa category:
- INZ 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 Essential Skills visas granted on or after 10 June 2021.
- From 19 July, Essential Skills visa applications will be assessed using the median hourly wage of NZ$27, in line with the 2020 Statistics New Zealand median wage. This is an annual adjustment, and it’s an increase from the current rate of NZ$25.50.
- The stand-down period for Essential Skills visa holders who are paid below the median wage will be further postponed until July 2022. This stand-down period requires visa holders to leave New Zealand for 12 months after three years before applying for another lower-paid Essential Skills visa.
Border exception for dairy farm workers
Immigration New Zealand is introducing a border exception for three groups of dairy farm workers:
- Dairy herd managers (up to 150)
- Dairy farm workers (up to 50)
- Veterinarians (up to 50)
INZ is still finalising the details but it has committed to providing details as soon as its confirmed.
Extensions for three short-term work visas
INZ has extended the validity of Working Holiday visas and Supplementary Seasonal Employer work visas. INZ is also granting Pacific Recognised Seasonal Employer workers longer stays.
Working Holiday visas
Working Holiday visas that are expiring between 21 June 2021 and 31 December 2021 have been extended a further six months. To qualify for the extension, visa holders must have been in New Zealand on 14 June 2021.
This extension is already legally in effect, and INZ will update visa records in July. Visa holders can use the confirmation email from INZ as proof of their right to work when engaging with prospective employers.
Supplementary Seasonal Employer (SSE) work visas
Supplementary Seasonal Employer (SSE) work visas expiring between 30 June 2021 and 31 December 2021 have been extended for six months.
The extended SSE visas now have open work rights allowing them to work in any sector.
Immigration New Zealand will contact visa holders to confirm their extension. The visa extensions are however already legally in effect, and INZ will update visa records in July.
Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) visa
If you are a Pacific RSE worker who came to New Zealand through the border exception you can apply for a new visa and will be able to stay beyond the normal maximum period.
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Immigration New Zealand has made a couple of announcements that affect Employer-assisted Visas, Essential Skills Visas and Working Holiday Visas. Get all the details below.
1. Employer-assisted visas expiring from 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021 will automatically receive a 6-month extension
Employer-assisted visa holders whose visas are going to expire between 1 January and 30 June are sure to welcome the news of extensions for a further 6 months. This extension applies to the following visas:
- Essential Skills Visa
- Work to Residence Visa
- Special and Skilled work visas for China, Indonesia, South Korea, Philippines and Vietnam
- Special category work visas for Japanese interpreters and Thai chefs
- Employer-specific work visas granted under section 61 of the Immigration Act 2009
- Fishing Crew Visa
- Religious Worker Visa
- Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa
INZ is also going to extend the visas held by the partners and dependent children of eligible visa holders. All visa holders will get confirmation of the extension from Immigration New Zealand by March 2021.
2. Lower-pad Essential Skills Visa stand-down delayed for 12 months
The introduction of the stand-down period that was announced in July 2020 will be delayed until January 2022.
The stand-down period means that Essential Skills visa holders earning less than the median wage must leave New Zealand after three years for one year before they can return.
3. Working Holiday Visas extended by 6 months
Working Holiday Visas that expire from 21 December 2020 to 30 June 2021 will get a 6-month extension.
INZ will apply varied conditions to allow Working Holiday visa holders to continue in any employment that is not permanent in any sector until the expiry date of their visas. Furthermore, a time limit on total work for one employer will no longer apply.
Working Holiday Visa holders who are eligible for this extension will no longer be transferred to the Supplementary Seasonal Employment (SSE) work visa when their visa expires.
Migrant workers who are already on an SSE Visa can continue to work in the horticulture and viticulture sectors, or apply for an Essential Skills Visa if they find alternative qualifying work.
INZ is making this allowance because New Zealand is facing labour shortages across many industries at the moment.
4. 2019 Median wage in effect until July 2021
Immigration New Zealand will continue to use the 2019 median wage of NZ$25,50 an hour to determine conditions until at least July 2021, at which point the median wage will raise to NZ$27 an hour.
Immigration New Zealand has advised that any migrants who are unable to meet the conditions of their current visa, including migrants who have lost their jobs, should make arrangements to depart New Zealand or apply for a new visa that best suits their circumstances. This may include applying for a Variation of Conditions.
No EOI selections for residence under the Skilled Migrant and Parent categories for another 6 months
Immigration New Zealand announced on Monday, 19 October, that it’s deferring the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest under the Skilled Migrant and Parent categories for a further 6 months. The decision to defer this process was first made back in April due to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The New Zealand Government has said that the continued deferral will give INZ the space to focus on processing applications from people who are in New Zealand or people who are eligible to travel while border restrictions are in place.
Can migrants still submit Expressions of Interest?
This is what Intergate Emigration’s licensed advisor Sarah Hewitt had to say when we asked her this question:
“The Expression of Interest for the Parent category is a hard copy that’s couriered to New Zealand, so while EOI selection is closed, migrants are going to be unable to submit EOIs. Applicants will have to wait for the EOI selection to reopen again.
My advice to skilled migrant applicants would be to also wait for EOI selections to reopen again. EOIs from offshore applicants are only eligible for selection with 160 points and a job offer, so it won’t make sense to submit an EOI in the interim. The best plan of action would be to look at the temporary route first and to do an assessment to ensure that you qualify for the visa.”
Contact us if you’d like to explore other visa options
Do you have your heart set on living in New Zealand but you don’t want to wait for the EOI selections to open? Don’t hesitate to contact us to explore other visa options.
We would like to see you realise your dream of making New Zealand your home as much as you do!