April 23, 2021

New Zealand Introduces Changes to Application Process for Temporary Work Visas

The New Zealand authorities intend to introduce a new temporary work visa process in the second half of 2021, according to Immigration New Zealand (INZ). The new employer-led application system will replace the current six temporary work visas with one visa and will include a three-check process before an employer can hire a foreign worker. More details about how the process will work are expected to be forthcoming shortly, but here is a look at what we know to date.

These work visa categories are expected to be replaced:

    • 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 in October 2019) and
    • Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa

The new system will include three “checks”:

    1. The employer check.
      Only employers accredited in the new system will be permitted to hire a migrant worker on the employer-assisted work visa. Standard accreditation will be issued for employers who want to hire five or fewer migrant workers and high-volume accreditation will be used for employers who want to hire six or more migrant workers. Once approved, the employer will receive accreditation for 12 months. At renewal, some employers will be granted accreditation for 24 months.
    2. The job check.
      This will confirm the role pays local market rate, terms and conditions comply with employment law and a labor market test is completed (if required). Positions paying 200% of the median wage and those on skills shortage lists do not need a labor market test.
    3. The migrant worker check.
      This final step is for the migrant worker to apply for their visa and prove that they meet the INZ’s character, identity and health requirements, and have the skills to perform the role.

Certain temporary visas such as the following (among others) will not be affected: Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) Limited Visa, Working holiday schemes, Post-study Work visas, Specific Purpose Work Visas, Partner of a New Zealander and 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.

For further information on the new temporary work visa process in New Zealand, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team.

Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over ten years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends.

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