What is the change? New Zealand has waived labour market testing requirements for companies employing foreign nationals renewing temporary work visas, provided the employees are applying under the Essential Skills policy and have a valid invitation to apply for residence.

What does the change mean? The waiver eliminates one obstacle for employers looking to retain qualifying foreign nationals.

  • Implementation time frame: 1 February.
  • Visas/permits affected: Temporary work visas.
  • Who is affected: Employers and foreign nationals on temporary work visas who are applying for new visas under the Essential Skills category.
  • Impact on processing times: Processing times may be reduced as a result of the waiver.
  • Business impact: The change is good for business as it waives cumbersome labour market testing requirements for some employees.

Background: The change is another example of New Zealand moving to waive labour market testing requirements in some situations. In February, New Zealand launched a temporary program to waive labour market testing in Queenstown for employers recruiting foreign workers in certain jobs.

Though labour market testing has been waived in certain cases, work visa renewals will still only be given if the employee meets other visa criteria, including health and character requirements. Employers and foreign nationals should also note that work visa renewals under this exemption will only be valid for 12 months.

BAL Analysis: In recent months, New Zealand has eased labour market testing requirements, waiving them for some foreign nationals. The changes make it easier and cheaper for employers to recruit or retain foreign workers who qualify for the waivers.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in New Zealand. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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