Latest NZ work visa news: January 2021

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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.

Please note…

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.

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