Several updates have been made to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) policy settings. This alert summarises key changes released between 30 September 2022 and 30 October 2022.
1. Requirement to complete a New Zealand Traveller Declaration has been removed
From 20 October 2022, a New Zealand Traveller Declaration no longer needs to be completed to enter New Zealand.
2. Skilled Migrant Category changes
The following changes have been made:
- From 25 October 22, if it is not possible for applicants to claim points for a recognised qualification (as their qualification requires an NZQA IQA assessment) or meet English language requirements, where an assessment has been booked but the result will not be available by a selection date, there is an option to make a declaration to allow requirements to be met after EOI selection when the residence application is submitted. Applicants that make a declaration will need to show that they had booked an acceptable English language tests or requested a qualifications assessment, but the result was not ready by the EOI selection date.
- Applicants can use English language tests older than two years to meet English language requirements.
- The median rate that ANZSCO level 1-3 roles will need to pay above has been updated to $27.76 per hour. For ANZSCO level 4-5 roles, the pay will need to be above $41.64 per hour.
The changes will be in effect for the initial selection on 9 November 2022 (160 points) and for subsequent selections starting from 18 January 2023 (180 points).
3. Green List
The following changes have been made to the Green List:
- Extension of the medical registration requirements to include 'special purpose locum tenens scope of practice'.
- Addition of four IT roles.
- Clarification of qualification requirements for Food Technologist.
Green list roles and requirements can be found here.
4. Accredited Employer Work Visa
The following changes have been made:
- Chefs are no longer required to have a certificate at NZQF Level 4 or higher, which includes the credit and knowledge requirements of a New Zealand Certificate in Cookery (Level 4), or comparable overseas qualification.
- Addition of a transitional provisions to ensure Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) applicants are provided with the most favourable outcome should Green List occupation requirements be amended between when a job check is approved and an AEWV application is submitted.
Upcoming changes to AEWV to note:
- On 27 February 2023, a new median wage of $29.66 per hour will be incorporated into policy. This will require 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 $29.66 per hour.
- All wage thresholds indexed to the median wage, will also be updated on 27 February 2023.
- The twice median wage rate will also be increased to $59.32 per hour or $123,177.60 per annum (using a 40 hour work week) on 27 February 2023.
5. Specific Purpose Work Visa for Philippine nurses
Internationally qualified nurses are eligible to apply for a three month Specific Purpose Work Visa (instead of a CAP visitor visa) where they:
- have received a job offer from a district health board or Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand; and
- are accepted for the onto a Nursing Council's Competence Assessment Programme.
6. Sector Agreements
INZ have implemented sector agreement changes to allow the following workers in specific industries to be paid below the current median rate ($27.76 per hour):
- Care Workers paid at the Level 3 rate (currently $26.16 per hour) under the Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlements Act 2017. A 12 month stand down will apply.
- Construction Workers earning at least $25 hourly. A 12 month stand down will apply.
- Meat Processing Workers earning at least $24 hourly. This is capped at 320 workers over a two year period and will only result in 7 month AEWVs with a 4 month stand down.
- Seafood Processing Workers (onshore) earning at least $24 hourly. This is capped at 600 onshore will only result in 7 month AEWVs with a 4 month stand down.
- Seafood Processing Workers (sea-based) earning at least $25.20 hourly, with incremental increases. This is capped at 940 and will only result in 12 month foreign crew of fishing vessels work visas.
- Seasonal Snow and Adventure Tourism Workers earning at least $25 hourly, with incremental increases. These will be issued for 7 months but no stand down period will apply.
A list of roles that can be paid below median wage rate can be found here.
7. Parent Category
Previously only a single adult child or joint adult child and their partner could be considered to meet Parent Category sponsor income requirements. A change has been made to allow the income of two adult children to be considered to meet Parent Category sponsor income requirements.
Sponsor income requirements have been reduced to:
- 1.5 times the New Zealand median wage with one adult child sponsor sponsoring 1 parent, and increases by half the median income amount for each additional parent.
- 2 times the median wage for 1 parent with joint sponsors sponsoring 1 parent, and increases by half the median wage amount for each additional parent.
8. Care Worker Work to Residence pathway
Care workers that have worked for at least 24 months (starting from 29 September 2021 and were paid Level 4 rates across the 24-month period) in New Zealand in an occupation on the Care Workforce sector occupation list in Appendix 14, and meet other requirements, will be able eligible to apply for a resident visa.
There continues to be a lot of change in the immigration space and INZ is doing its best to implement the policy decisions of the New Zealand government.
All information in this update is current as at 31 October 2022.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.