Changes to the Accredited Employer Work Visa from October 2019

The Government has finally made the announcement we have all been waiting for regarding changes to Work Visa policy. The biggest news is that people applying for Work to Residence Visas from October 7th 2019 will require a job offer with a minimum salary of $79,000 per annum. This brings the policy in line with it’s initial intention to cater for employers supporting highly skilled workers, as average pay rates have increased since the program was first introduced.

Current instructions require applicants for a Work to Residence (accredited employer) work visa to include in their application a job offer meeting the following requirements:

  1. for employment in in the accredited employer’s core area of business activity and under the direct responsibility of the employer
  2. for a period of at least 24 months
  3. for full-time employment
  4. for a position meeting the minimum salary threshold

These changes will not affect work to residence work visas that have been already been issued or that have been submitted before October 7th, which will be accepted even with a salary of $55,000 per annum or higher.

Such a significant increase will affect especially lower skilled workers performing in the core area of activities of accredited companies, whose jobs are vital for the business’ operations but for which the employers are unable to meet such a high salary threshold.

These migrants’ only possibility to obtain a more permanent immigration status in New Zealand currently lies almost exclusively in the Work to Residence system and in the pathway to residence that this visa offers.

These migrants will now, most likely, have the low skilled Essential Skill Work visa as their only valid option to work in New Zealand, and will be unable to obtain any security regarding their immigration status and duration, their welfare benefits or the possibility to migrate with their family.

In conclusion, the new Work to Residence work visa policy will undoubtedly deprive New Zealand of the stable presence in the country of a significant and necessary workforce.

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