New Zealand recently announced it will soon change the way it assesses the skill level of jobs for essential skills work visas.

Key Points:

  • Immigration New Zealand (INZ) currently uses a combination of an occupation level according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) and the applicant’s salary to assess if their position is low, mid or high skilled when determining an Essential Skills work visa application. From July 27, INZ will base its assessments purely on a median-wage threshold.
  • Applicants with offers of employment that pay less than the median wage of NZD $25.50 per hour will only be able to access a maximum duration of six months per visa, for the next 18 months. The maximum combined duration of all work visas below the median wage is three years, at which time holders of below the median wage work visas will be subject to a stand-down period of 12 months.
  • Below median wage work visa holders and/or applicants will be able to support partners for a visitor visa only (not a work visa). They should also be able to support visitor or student visas for dependent children, so long as their salary meets the minimum income threshold set at NZD $43,322.76 or more a year.
  • Employers supporting below median wage Essential Skills work visa applications will be required to engage with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and provide a Skills Match Report for the purposes of meeting the Labour Market Testing requirements.
  • Applicants with offers of employment that pay at or above the median wage (NZD $25.50 per hour) will be able to access a maximum duration of three years per visa, with no maximum combined duration. These applicants are also not subject to stand-down periods and will be able to support visitor or work visas for partners as well as visitor or student visas for dependent children.

Background: The removal of ANZSCO for the assessment of Essential Skills work visa applications is part of the wider changes to employer assisted work visas that are due to be introduced by INZ in mid-2021.

Analysis & Comments
: Employers should note the assessment changes and prepare accordingly.

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