New Zealand: Latest
immigration updates

The government of New Zealand has recently introduced a number of immigration updates which applicants and employers should be aware of. We set out the changes below.

Skilled Migrant Category Reopens

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will restart the selection of Expressions of Interest (EOI) that have been already lodged under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) and new SMC EOIs lodged on or before 9 November 2022.

The points-based residence visa has been closed to new applications since April 2020.

People who have already submitted an EOI can update their information or withdraw their EOI and request a refund.

The initial selection on 9 November 2022 will have a 160-point threshold.

A second selection will be completed on 18 January 2023 and will be assessed under a 180-point threshold. After 18 January 2023, a EOI selection will be completed on the third Wednesday of every month.

Those who are invited to apply for a Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa will have four months to submit their application. Submissions are made online.

After June 2023, INZ have indicated that they will introduce a new points system.

Parent Category Restarts

Selections of already submitted Parent Resident Visa EOIs will also recommence with an initial selection on 14 November 2022 and subsequent selections every 3 months after the initial selection.

These existing EOIs will be selected in the date order that they were received. Those with an existing EOI will be contacted and given the opportunity to update it (for example to add an adult child as a joint sponsor) or withdraw it (and request a fee refund).

Those who withdrew their EOI because they could not meet the previous income limit set before October 2019 will be invited to resubmit an EOI to the queue.

The Parent Category reopened to new EOIs on 12 October 2022.  These will be selected via a ballot system every three months, starting in August 2023.

EOIs that have not been selected from the ballot expire after 2 years. This means there is no rush to submit an EOI now. If EOIs are submitted closer to the ballot selection in August, the amount of time it stays in the ballot before expiring will be maximised.

From May 2023 EOIs can be submitted online on the Immigration New Zealand website.

500 visas will be available each year for EOIs selected by ballot.

The Government has advised that they will increase the number of visas available under the Parent Category to 2,500 annually.

New Median Wage

From 27 February 2023, a new median wage of NZD 29.66 per hour will take effect.

All wage thresholds indexed to the median wage will also be updated on this date. This includes the Accredited Employer Visa (AEWV), occupations covered by sector agreements, and residence visa categories including the Green List and Highly Paid pathways, the Skilled Migrant Category and the Parent Category.

Workers that are submitting an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) application on or after 27 February 2023 (for roles that do not have a median wage exemption), to be paid at least NZD 29.66 per hour.  This means that if the wage threshold increases between the job check being approved and the migrant applying for the visa, the migrant may need to meet a higher wage threshold than was approved in the job check pay range.

Previously, wage thresholds were updated regularly, but not always at the same time each year.

From 2023, there will be a standard process where the median wage is adopted in immigration instructions in February. This will be based on the June rate published by Stats NZ the previous year.

Tourism and hospitality median wage exception

Many tourism and hospitality roles have also been provided an exemption to the median wage threshold under the AEWV, with a lower wage threshold of NZD 25 an hour until April 2023.

This is a temporary exception that recognises these sectors have been hit hard by Covid-19.

The Government is continuing to support the industry and has decided to transition away from the exemption to the median wage threshold in two stages.

  • In April 2023 the median wage exception will increase from NZD 25 to NZD 28.18, or 95% of the new median wage.
  • In April 2024 the exception will end, and these roles will be required to be paid 100% of the median wage.

Support with New Zealand immigration

If you are applying for a visa to work in New Zealand and require support with the process, Smith Stone Walters can help. Our dedicated Global Immigration team are on hand to provide support through the entire process, from initial consultation to delivery of your visa and post-arrival assistance.

To find out more, please contact us today.

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