New Zealand is a popular destination for work and study, attracting people from all over the world. For those who have partners, the prospect of living and working together in this beautiful country is an exciting opportunity. The Partnership Work Visa is the key to making this a reality. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about New Zealand’s Partnership Work Visa, including recent changes, eligibility requirements, and application processes.
Table of Contents
- Introduction to Partnership Work Visa
- Recent Changes to Partnership Work Visa Rules
- Who Can Apply for a Partnership Work Visa?
- Work Conditions for Partners of Migrant Workers
- Exceptions for Partners of Highly Paid and Green List Workers
- Ineligibility for Supporting a Partner Work Visa
- Partner Work Rights for Student Visa Holders
- Impact of Changes on Employers and Recruiters
- Application Process and Required Documents
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. Introduction to Partnership Work Visa
The Partnership Work Visa is designed for individuals who want to live and work in New Zealand while their partner is already living in the country on a work, student, or resident visa. The primary goal of this visa type is to enable couples to stay together and contribute to the New Zealand economy.
2. Recent Changes to Partnership Work Visa Rules
The New Zealand government has made significant changes to the rules governing Partnership Work Visas, effective from May 31, 2023. These changes primarily impact the partners of Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) and Essential Skills (ES) visa holders.
Under the new rules, partners who apply for this visa as dependents of AEWV or ES visa holders will be granted a visa with specific conditions. These conditions require them to work only for an Accredited Employer, and they must be paid at least the median wage in New Zealand. In addition, while applying for a Partnership Work Visa, partners will no longer require a job offer or to go through a job check.
A variation of conditions application is not necessary when changing accredited employers. If the primary visa holder makes twice the median income or works in a position on the Green List, certain partners of AEWV holders may be qualified for open work privileges. The partners of AEWV or ES visa holders who are disqualified must apply for their own work visas. Those who do not wish to work in New Zealand can apply for a Visitor Visa.
It’s important to note that these changes do not apply to partners of other work visa holders or holders of Partnership Work Visas granted before May 31, 2023.
3. Who Can Apply for a Partnership Work Visa?
To be eligible for a Partnership Work Visa, you must be living with your partner in a stable relationship. Your partner must be in New Zealand on a work, student, or resident visa, or be a New Zealand citizen. You do not need to find a job before applying for this visa.
There are specific requirements for each type of partner’s visa situation:
- If your partner is a New Zealand citizen or resident, you can apply to join them and work in New Zealand for the same period of time as long as you continue to live together. Your partner must support your application and be eligible to support your application for residence if you decide to stay.
- If your partner holds a work visa, you might be able to work in New Zealand as well. You’ll need to check if your partner’s work visa allows you to join them, and if granted, your visa will be the same length as your partner’s.
- If your partner is studying in New Zealand, you might be eligible to work in the country depending on your partner’s course of study or if they’re on a New Zealand Aid Programme Scholarship.
4. Work Conditions for Partners of Migrant Workers
Under the new rules, partners of migrant workers who successfully apply for a Partnership Work Visa on or after May 31, 2023, may have new conditions that include:
- Only being able to work for an accredited employer
- Not being allowed to be self-employed
- Not being able to work below the median wage in roles covered by capped sector agreements
If partners are working in a role not covered by an uncapped sector agreement, they must be paid at least the median wage in effect at the time they receive their visa or job offer, whichever is later. If they are working in a role covered by an uncapped sector agreement, they must be paid at least the relevant wage threshold in place.
These conditions apply to most partners of workers who hold an AEWV or an Essential Skills Work Visa (ESWV). For this visa, partners do not require a job offer, and employers do not have to perform a job Check. If approved, partners are free to switch jobs without submitting a request for a Variation of Conditions. Partners are not required to work a certain amount of hours.
5. Exceptions for Partners of Highly Paid and Green List Workers
Some partners of AEWV or ESWV holders will still be qualified for a work permit, which would allow them to work in any job for any company in New Zealand with no requirement for a minimum salary. This includes partners of:
- Immigrants who earn at least twice the median income
- Immigrants who are employed in a position on the “Green List”
These exceptions also apply to migrants who did not meet these requirements when they received their visa but have since met them through a pay increase or their role being added to the Green List. Evidence of eligibility will be needed as part of the Partnership Work Visa application or through a Variation of Conditions request.
6. Ineligibility for Supporting a Partner Work Visa
A partner work visa cannot be supported by AEWV holders who are covered by a sector agreement and paid less than the median pay. A partner work visa cannot be supported by ESWV holders who are paid less than the median pay (or less skilled if the visa application was submitted before July 27, 2020).
They could be eligible to sponsor their partner’s application for a work visa if they obtain a salary increase that raises their income to at least the median. They do not need to apply for a new work visa to support a partner unless they want their eligibility for a longer work visa to be assessed based on the new salary.
7. Partner Work Rights for Student Visa Holders
Partners of student visa holders have their own eligibility rules for working in New Zealand. If your partner is studying in New Zealand, you might be able to join them and work in the country depending on the level of their course or if they’re on a New Zealand Aid Programme Scholarship. To be eligible for a Partnership Work Visa in this case, your partner must be studying a Level 9 or Level 10 qualification, or a Level 7 or Level 8 qualification included in the Green List.
8. Impact of Changes on Employers and Recruiters
The recent changes to partner work rights will have implications for employers and recruiters, who will need to be aware of the new conditions when hiring partners of migrant workers. Employers and recruiters should check the conditions of a candidate’s work visa before hiring them, as they may no longer be able to hire from this pool of candidates without meeting the new requirements.
9. Application Process and Required Documents
To apply for a Partnership Work Visa, you’ll need to submit an application online or on paper, depending on your circumstances. Your partner will also need to complete a form in support of your application. You’ll need to provide evidence of your relationship, proof of your partner’s visa status, and any other required documents, such as health and character certificates.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section, we’ll address some common questions about the Partnership Work Visa, including the impact of the recent changes, eligibility requirements, and application processes.
Q: Do the recent changes apply to all work visa holders?
A: No, the changes primarily impact partners of AEWV and ESWV holders. There are exceptions, such as partners of Post Study Work Visa holders and partners of New Zealand citizens or residents.
Q: What are the new work conditions for partners of migrant workers?
A: Under the new rules, partners of migrant workers must work for an accredited employer and cannot work below the median wage in roles covered by capped sector agreements.
Q: Are there exceptions to the new work conditions?
A: Yes, partners of highly paid and Green List workers are exempt from the new work conditions and can continue to work in any occupation for any employer in New Zealand.
Q: What is the application process for a Partnership Work Visa?
A: You’ll need to submit an application online or on paper, depending on your circumstances. Your partner will also need to complete a form in support of your application.
Q: What documents are required for a Partnership Work Visa application?
A: You’ll need to provide evidence of your relationship, proof of your partner’s visa status, and any other required documents, such as health and character certificates.
Q: How do the recent changes impact employers and recruiters?
A: Employers and recruiters should be aware of the new conditions when hiring partners of migrant workers and check the conditions of a candidate’s work visa before hiring them.
In conclusion, the Partnership Work Visa is an essential tool for couples looking to live and work together in New Zealand. With the recent changes to the visa rules, it’s essential for applicants, employers, and recruiters to be aware of the new work conditions and eligibility requirements. By understanding the application process and providing the necessary documentation, you can successfully navigate the Partnership Work Visa system and make your dreams of living and working in New Zealand a reality.