Significant changes proposed to employer-supported work visas

Author:Mr Natasha Rae
Profession:Cavell Leitch


The New Zealand government is proposing significant changes to the employer-assisted work visa framework. This immigration update is intended to give a brief overview of the key proposed changes. Further updates will follow, when this consultation period closes, and as new policies are implemented.

What are the key proposals?

Introduction of a "gateway framework" This is set to replace all employer-supported work visa categories with a "gateway framework." The suggested framework is largely employer-led and will introduce three stages that must be satisfied before a work visa can be approved: Employer Check This involves mandatory accreditation for all employers seeking to support work visa applications. Different categories of accreditation are proposed, including standard accreditation, labour hire accreditation and premium accreditation. Job Check As the labour market check phase, this proposes to introduce: Regional Skill Shortage Lists Industry sector agreements, eg for hospitality No labour market testing for salaries of $101,046+ A salary increase from $55,000 to $78,000, for employers with premium accreditation looking to support employees for 'work to residence' visas. Individual Check The individual check is the final stage before a work visa can be issued, and will assess the identity, character and health of the work visa applicant. It will also look at whether the potential employee is suitably skilled through relevant qualifications and/or work experience. Regional Skill Shortage Lists Regional Skill Shortage Lists will be introduced to replace the current Essential Skills in Demand lists. This proposal acknowledges that labour market conditions do vary by region. Increasing "mid-skilled" remuneration levels The minimum hourly rate for mid-skilled workers is set to be...

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