New Zealand Unveils Updated Criteria for Skilled Migrant Visas

New Zealand
#workvisa #skilledworkers

Immigration New Zealand recently announced major revisions to the requirements for numerous visa categories, including skilled migrant visas. These revisions, which take effect on February 28, 2024, correspond to the hourly median wage of NZD $31.61 due to changes in wage thresholds.

Wage Thresholds Reflect Economic Realities

The pay thresholds have been increased to reflect the median hourly earnings in New Zealand for the following visa classes: Parent Category resident class, Green List Straight to Resident and Work to Residence, and Skilled Migrant Visas.

The median wage was previously NZD $29.66 per hour, but it is currently NZD $31.61 per hour. These standards are revised periodically to reflect inflation and function as markers of the skill levels of jobs.

Impact on Visa Eligibility and Sector Agreements

The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV), which is still valued at NZD $29.66 per hour, is exempt from the modifications. When applying for visas, holders of AEWV must continue to pay the current wage rate.

Furthermore, work visas tied to the AEWV, such as those that are pegged to the median pay rate, will not change.

Employers and employees in the tourist and hospitality sectors will also benefit from the extension of the exclusions for the transport sector agreement.

Minimum Wage Increase and RSE Worker Remuneration

On April 1, 2024, the minimum wage in New Zealand will also rise in addition to the updated visa requirements. This will affect the minimum wage requirement for workers classified as Recognised Seasonal Employers (RSEs), who are entitled to NZD $25.47 per hour + 10%.

This guarantees that RSE compensation keeps increasing in accordance with increases in the minimum wage, upholding adherence to employment contracts.

To achieve their obligations under the Agreement to Recruit (ATR), employers in the RSE sector are required to comply with the new minimum hourly pay. If wages are not updated appropriately, these agreements will be broken.


Are the increased wage requirements for skilled migrant visas subject to any exceptions?

The use of wage thresholds may be impacted by sector agreements or exemptions for specific industries, such as tourism, hospitality, and transportation. These exemptions are, nevertheless, open to routine evaluation and revision.

In what ways does the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) vary from other types of visas?

Employers in New Zealand can hire qualified foreign workers using the AEWV type of work visa. The AEWV has a distinct pay barrier, which is now NZD $29.66 per hour, in contrast to other visas.

What happens if an employer neglects to raise RSE employees' pay to reflect the new minimum hourly wage?

Employers risk legal and regulatory repercussions if they fail to revise RSE workers' salaries in line with the new minimum hourly rate and violate their Agreement to Recruit (ATR) obligations.


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