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Work & Resident Visa Changes – Effective from 28th August 2017
The Government has made decisions on proposals announced in April to change the settings for temporary migrant workers under the Essential Skills policy.
The changes will support already announced changes to the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) residence policy and strike the right balance between ensuring Zealanders are at the front of the queue for jobs and preserving access to the temporary migrant labour necessary for New Zealand’s continued economic growth.
THE CHANGES INCLUDE:
The introduction of remuneration bands to assess the skill level of roles offered to Essential Skills visa applicants
- The introduction of a maximum duration of three years for lower-skilled Essential Skills visa holders, after which they will need to spend 12 months outside New Zealand before they can be granted an Essential Skills visa to work in another lower-skilled role, and
- Requiring the partners and children of lower-skilled Essential Skills visa holders to meet the requirements for a visa in their own right (they will still have access to short-term visitor visas).
The changes will be introduced on 28 August this year, at the same time as the changes to the SMC. Detailed information about the application of these policy changes will be available within the next fortnight. That will include how the remuneration threshold will be calculated, implications for family members of workers in lower-skilled roles, and how the stand-down period will be applied.
Skilled Migrant category changes – Effective 28th August 2017
Two remuneration thresholds are being introduced for applicants applying for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC). One will be set at the New Zealand median income of $48,859 a year for jobs that are currently considered skilled. The other threshold will be set at 1.5 times the New Zealand median income of $73,299 a year for jobs that are not currently considered skilled but are well paid.
The automatic selection mark for applicants under the SMC was increased from 140 points to 160 in October last year and the Government has now realigned the points system to put more emphasis on characteristics associated with better outcomes for migrants.
More points will be available for skilled work experience and some recognised post graduate qualifications, and points for age will increase for applicants aged 30-39.
Points will no longer be available for qualifications in areas of absolute skills shortage, for employment, work experience and qualifications in Identified Future Growth Areas and for close family in New Zealand.
The changes will be implemented on 28 August 2017.