Changes to Temporary Work Visas

After mid-2021, INZ is introducing a new 3-check visa application system and replacing six temporary work visas with one. The new visa application process will be employer led. Before hiring a migrant on the new employer-assisted temporary work visa, employers will need to:

  • apply for accreditation
  • apply for a job check to make sure the role they want to fill cannot be done by New Zealanders, and
  • request a migrant worker to apply for a visa.

 A new temporary work visa

The new employer-assisted work visa replaces these 6 work visas:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa — approved in principle
  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa
  • Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa
  • Silver Fern Job Search Visa (closed 7 October 2019)
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa.

 A new system with 3 checks

The system will introduce 3 checks before an employer can hire a migrant worker. These checks are:

  • the employer check — employers need accreditation to pass this
  • the job check
  • the migrant worker check.

 Employer check

The employer check will replace 3 current employer schemes:

  • approval in principle (AIP) before an employer hires workers on an Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Accreditation as a Talent Accredited Employer, and
  • Labour Hire employers accreditation for Essential Skills work visas.

To pass the employer check you need accreditation in the new system. Only accredited employers can hire a migrant worker on the employer-assisted work visa.

 Job check

The job check will confirm the job pays market rate, the terms and conditions comply with our employment laws, and you have done a labour market test if you need to.

A labour market test shows you have genuinely advertised the role to New Zealanders and there are no New Zealanders available to do the job in that region.

Jobs paying 200% of the median wage and those on skills shortage lists do not need a labour market test.

You can only hire a migrant worker if the job check is passed. Employers pay for a job check.

Migrant worker check

The migrant worker check is where the migrant work applies for a visa. It is the last in the new system. The migrant worker must show they meet INZ’s character, identity and health requirements, and have the skills to do the job before being granted a visa.

Migrant workers or employers pay for this check.

Further information on fees will be announced in early 2021.

Temporary work visas not affected

The following temporary work visas will not be changed by the new visa system:

  • Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Limited Visa
  • Working holiday schemes
  • Post-study Work Visa
  • Fishing Crew Work Visa
  • Religious Worker Work Visa
  • Specific Purpose Work Visa
  • partnership work visas including Partner of a Worker Work Visa, Partner of a New Zealander Work Visa and Partner of a Student Work Visa
  • work visas granted for international or humanitarian reasons, such as domestic staff of diplomats, consular and official staff, and for refugee or protection status claimants.

*More information on these changes will likely become available in early 2021.

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