Impact of New Median Wage Increase on NZ Visa Categories in Feb 2024

Impact of New Median Wage Increase on NZ Visa Categories in Feb 2024

In February 2024, New Zealand is slated to witness a significant alteration in its economic landscape as the median wage is poised to ascend from NZD$29.66 to NZD$31.61 per hour. This hike bears consequential implications, particularly for various visa categories and sector agreements. Let’s delve into the intricacies of this impending change and how it stands to influence specific visas.

Key Transformation

The foremost alteration on the horizon is the surge in the median wage, a pivotal metric that underpins numerous visa categories and employment agreements. This increase, from NZD$29.66 to NZD$31.61 per hour, signifies a substantial adjustment that reverberates throughout New Zealand’s immigration framework.

Who’s Impacted?

This wage increase doesn’t just affect one visa category; it creates changes that prospective migrants and employers need to pay attention to. Among those affected are:

1. Onshore Skilled Migrant Category Residence Visa Applicants

For individuals eyeing permanent residency under the Skilled Migrant Category, meeting a minimum income threshold based on the median wage is imperative. With the imminent wage elevation, this threshold will proportionally rise, potentially facilitating the path to permanent residency for skilled migrants.

2. Green List Straight to Residence Visa and Work to Residence Roles

The Green List, a catalog of occupations in high demand, delineates specific wage thresholds tethered to the median wage. As the median wage escalates in February 2024, these thresholds will automatically adjust, potentially reshaping the eligibility criteria for certain Green List applicants.

3. Parent Resident Visa Sponsors

Individuals seeking to sponsor their parents on a Parent Resident Visa must demonstrate an income exceeding the median wage. The wage hike necessitates careful consideration for sponsors navigating this process, ensuring compliance with the revised income criteria.

Deciphering Green List Specifics

Within the Green List framework, certain roles feature wage thresholds pegged to a percentage of the median wage. Consequently, these thresholds will synchronize with the new median wage, affecting applicants in these specialized roles. For instance:

Currently, Auditors necessitate a wage of NZD$38.56, which will ascend to NZD$41.09 in tandem with the median wage increase.

Exclusions from the Median Wage Increase

It’s imperative to note that not all visa categories are subject to the impending wage hike. Accredited Employer Work Visas (AEWVs) stand exempt from this adjustment, maintaining existing wage rates as follows:

  • NZD$29.66 per hour for most AEWVs
  • Under the Care Workforce Sector Agreement, roles cost NZD$26.16 per hour

Implications and Compliance

This stride towards aligning visa prerequisites with evolving market wages underscores the government’s commitment to fostering a responsive and equitable immigration system. Potential applicants and employers must acquaint themselves with these adjustments, ensuring adherence to updated regulations to facilitate seamless immigration processes.

Understanding Changes in Specific Visa Categories

1. Changes to Transport Sector Work to Residence Visa

Among the big changes happening, it’s crucial to focus on the Transport Work to Residence Visa. Here, the threshold is going up, which means bus drivers won’t qualify anymore. This adjustment shows how immigration authorities are fine-tuning visa rules to meet the specific needs and priorities of different sectors.

2. Why the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) is Paused: Reasons and Effects

Putting a temporary pause on the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) is a decision worth examining closely. It’s part of a strategic adjustment aimed at making the visa more effective and relevant. By giving authorities time to improve the median wage system for the AEWV, stakeholders can expect a better framework that addresses real skill shortages and labor market needs.

Impact on Current and Future AEWV Holders

For people who already have the AEWV, the pause means they can keep gaining work experience at the current wage of $29.66. However, they’ll need to meet the updated rate of $31.61 for future applications. Similarly, future applicants will have to adjust their plans to meet the new wage requirements, highlighting the importance of being flexible and forward-thinking in navigating New Zealand’s changing immigration landscape.

Broader Policy Implications

Expanding Policy Impacts

This significant update reflects a big change in how New Zealand deals with skilled migration. Instead of just focusing on numbers, like before, policymakers now prioritize genuine skill needs and market value. This shift means migrants are evaluated based on their actual value to New Zealand, not just meeting certain numerical requirements.

Embracing Change for Growth

Although the temporary uncertainty caused by the AEWV pause might worry some people, it’s actually a sign of progress. Updating immigration rules is an ongoing process that involves making adjustments and strategic changes over time. So, instead of seeing this pause as a setback, stakeholders should see it as an opportunity for constructive discussions, self-reflection, and ultimately, positive improvements.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, the introduction of the new median wage system marks a fresh start in New Zealand’s immigration story. It shows a focus on being more selective, making strategic adjustments, and staying practical about the economy. As everyone prepares for the changes ahead, it’s evident that being adaptable and forward-thinking will be key to navigating through New Zealand’s immigration process effectively.

For any inquiries regarding this update or further immigration matters, please reach out to Immigration Chambers at

Median wage changes and impacts