New Zealand has taken action to increase its minimum wage for seasonal workers, create a new Ukraine Resident Visa, and update its List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment (LQEA).

Key Points

  • On April 1, the minimum wage for Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers increases to NZ$25.47 (about US$15.50) from NZ$24.97, which is equal to the new New Zealand minimum wage plus 10 percent for RSE workers.
  • The new Ukraine Resident Visa is available to those who arrived on a 2022 Special Ukraine Visa, opened on March 16, 2024, and will remain open for two years.
  • Updates to the List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment, aimed at streamlining visa pathways for applicants who hold overseas qualifications, go into effect March 25, 2024.

Background: More information is available at Immigration New Zealand.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

Copyright © 2024 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries, please contact copyright@bal.com.

Immigration New Zealand announced the extension of the 90-day trial period to all employers except accredited employers using the Accredited Employer Work Visa.

Key Points:

  • As previously reported, immigration officials recently eliminated the 90-day trial period in employment agreements for accredited employers on the AEWV.
  • Government officials are now allowing the 90-day trial period to all other employers.
  • Accredited employers are not able to use 90-day trial periods in employment agreements when hiring people on an AEWV to encourage the fair treatment of migrants and to facilitate recruitment only when there is a genuine labor need or skills gap.

Additional Information: Government officials recently issued a new requirement for labor hire (triangular) employment firms who place migrants in specific construction occupations. The new requirement states that these employers must have at least 35% of the labor hire workforce made up of New Zealand citizens and residents in full time employment, which represents an increase from the previous threshold of 15%.

BAL Analysis: These changes are designed to treat foreign workers more fairly and ensure genuine labor needs and skills gaps are filled, while also protecting employment opportunities for New Zealand citizens and residents. Employers should be aware of the new guidelines and understand their responsibilities when hiring individuals using a 90-day trial period in their employment agreements.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group.

Copyright © 2024 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries, please contact copyright@bal.com.

New Zealand announced that applicants for permanent resident visas will be able to submit applications electronically by the end of January 2024.

Key Points:

  • Applicants for permanent resident visas, second or subsequent resident visas and variation of travel conditions of a resident visas currently must submit applications using paper forms.
  • Government officials stated that the current system limits an applicant’s ability to track the progress of their applications.
  • Applicants will soon be able to apply on the Immigration Online website and check their application status online without having to call the INZ contact center, and will no longer have to physically submit certain supporting documents, including passports.

Additional Information: Nationals are only eligible for a permanent resident visa after holding a resident visa for at least two years. The start of the two-year period begins upon arrival in New Zealand on the resident visa. Applications for permanent residency will be denied if the applicant has not satisfied the two-year requirement.

BAL Analysis: Employees should check eligibility criteria before applying for permanent residency. The change should improve the application process and ease an applicant’s ability to apply for permanent residency.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group.

Copyright © 2024 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries, please contact copyright@bal.com.

 

Immigration New Zealand confirmed that employers can no longer use 90-day trial periods in employment agreements when hiring foreign nationals on an Accredited Employer Work Visa.

Key Points:

• Immigration officials will decline or request updated information if an AEWV job check application includes an employment agreement with a trial period.
• The 90-day trial period rule does not apply to migrants who already hold, applied for or were approved for an AEWV job check prior to Oct. 29.

BAL Analysis: The change is designed to treat foreign workers more fairly and ensure labor needs and skills gaps are filled. Employers may lose accreditation status if they include a trial period in their employment agreements.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group.

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IMPACT — MEDIUM

The New Zealand government recently announced several changes to the Accredited Employer Work Visa scheme.

Key Points:

  • Beginning Nov. 27, 2023, workers offered employment paying at least median wage will be granted a five-year AEWV.
  • AEWV holders who receive their visas before November 2023 can apply to extend their AEWV so that it lasts a total of five years if they meet maximum continuous stay requirements and their job role, location, and employer remain the same, and they are paid no less than the rate offered as part of the initial AEWV application.
  • Partners of AEWV holders who are granted five-year visas will likely be able to extend their Partnership Work Visas, though policy changes may be required to enact these extensions.
  • Under current policy plans and subject to no future policy changes, Immigration New Zealand is expected to raise the median wage rate to $31.61 (about US$18.80) from the current $29.66 in February 2024.

Additional Information: AEWV holders must spend at least 12 months outside of New Zealand when their visas expire before returning to the country unless they are on a residence pathway.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

Copyright © 2023 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries, please contact copyright@bal.com.

IMPACT — MEDIUM

The government of New Zealand has announced changes to the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa and Accredited Employer Work Visa.

Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa changes:

  • Beginning Oct. 9, qualification requirements for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa will be replaced with a simplified points system that sets clear skills requirements for residence and offers several ways for individuals to demonstrate their skill level.
  • More information regarding the new points system for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa is available here.

Accredited Employer Work Visa changes:

  • Individuals who are unable to show they are on a pathway to residence will be able to stay in New Zealand for up to five years on an AEWV.
  • Individuals must live outside of New Zealand for at least 12 months if they have lived in New Zealand for five years continuously on an AEWV to be eligible to apply for another AEWV.
  • Beginning in November 2023, the validity of AEWVs will be extended from three to five years to align with the introduction of the five-year maximum continuous stay limit for AEWV holders.

BAL Analysis: New Zealand authorities updated the conditions of the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa and the AEWV to help support New Zealand’s economic growth and to provide more certainty to migrants and employers.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

Copyright © 2023 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries, please contact copyright@bal.com.

The U.S. State Department has provided guidance for U.S citizens traveling to Australia and New Zealand for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Key Points:

  • The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is scheduled to take place across Australia and New Zealand from July 20 through Aug. 20.
  • The State Department encourages U.S. travelers to check the U.S. embassies’ websites for Australia and New Zealand for the most accurate travel information, including additional entry and exit requirements.
  • Before traveling to Australia, U.S. citizens should:
    • Read the State Department’s Australia Travel Advisory.
    • Ensure that they have a valid U.S. passport and an Australian visa or an approved Electronic Travel Authority to enter the country.
    • Visit the International Travel page on the Australian government’s website.
    • Review the Department’s Country Information page and the Australian government’s travel tips, including guidance on what travelers can and cannot bring into the country.
  • Before traveling to New Zealand, U.S. citizens should:
    • Read the State Department’s New Zealand Travel Advisory.
    • Ensure that their passports have at least three months’ validity from the date they depart for New Zealand and hold a valid visa or an approved New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority.
    • Review the Department’s information on New Zealand’s entry, exit and visa requirements on the Country Information page.
    • Know what food and goods individuals can bring into New Zealand and review the government of New Zealand’s information on its biosecurity procedures.

Additional Information: U.S. citizens are encouraged to sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program if they have not done so already to receive emergency/security alerts and make it easier for the State Department to assist them in case of an emergency.  More travel guidance for U.S. citizens traveling to Australia and New Zealand for the Women’s World Cup is available here.

This alert has been provided by BAL U.S. Practice Group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

Copyright © 2023 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries, please contact copyright@bal.com.

IMPACT — MEDIUM

The government of New Zealand announced changes to Partnership Work Visas supported by Accredited Employer Work Visa and Essential Skills Work Visa holders.

Key Points:

  • Beginning June 1, individuals applying for Partnership Work Visas supported by AEWV or ESWV holders may be required to:
    • Only work for an Accredited Employer.
    • Not work in roles covered by capped sector agreements.
    • Be paid at least the median wage in effect at the time they receive their visa or when they receive a job offer if the role is not covered by a sector agreement.
    • Be paid at least the current income requirement if the role is covered by an uncapped sector agreement.
  • The changes to the partner visa does not affect current work visa requirements or for those who apply before May 31.
  • There are no changes to visa conditions for partners of New Zealand nationals or partners of those holding other work visas (such as a Post Study Work Visa).
  • Individuals applying for a Partner of a Worker Work Visa supported by an AEWV holder that meets Green List or twice median wage requirements will not be impacted by the changes.

Additional Information: Partners do not need to have a job offer to apply for the Partner of a Worker Work Visa, and employers do not need to complete a Job Check. Once approved, partners can change employers without applying for a Variation of Conditions, and there is no minimum number of hours that partners need to work. More information regarding the changes to the Partnership Work Visa is available here.

BAL Analysis: Those who have not yet submitted a Partnership Work Visa application will be impacted by the changes if their AEWV partner does not meet Green List or twice median wage requirements. Those who have already applied for or have gained their Partnership Work Visa will not be impacted by the changes until they need to renew their visa.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

Copyright © 2023 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries, please contact copyright@bal.com.

IMPACT — MEDIUM

The government of New Zealand has recommended individuals apply for visitor visas by April for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Key Points:

  • Foreign nationals who are not eligible for a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority and are traveling to New Zealand for the Women’s World Cup in July should apply for visitor visas by the end of April.
  • When applying for visitor visas, travelers must indicate if they plan to travel to Australia during the World Cup to receive a multiple-entry visa.
  • Visitor visa applications can be submitted online through this website.
  • World Cup spectators transiting through New Zealand on their way to or from another country may need a transit visa unless traveling to Australia, from a visa waiver country or from a transit visa waiver country.

Additional Information: Individuals traveling to Australia during the World Cup may need an Australian visa or Electronic Travel Authority in addition to a New Zealand visitor visa. More information is available here.

BAL Analysis: Foreign nationals who are not eligible for a NZETA and are planning on traveling to New Zealand for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup should apply for visitor visas as soon as possible to ensure they receive their visa by July. Travelers who do not hold a visitor visa, NZETA or another valid visa will not be allowed to enter the country for the World Cup.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

Copyright © 2023 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries, please contact copyright@bal.com.

IMPACT — MEDIUM

The government of New Zealand announced an accreditation extension for certain employers under the Accredited Employer Work Visa system.

Key Points:

  • Employers who apply for accreditation under the AEWV before July 4, 2023, will receive a 12-month automatic extension.
  • Employers are reminded to check that they hold the correct accreditation type (standard, high volume, franchisee or triangular employment) for the employment they want to place work visa holders in.
  • If employers do not hold the correct accreditation type, they should apply for the correct accreditation type to ensure that they comply with immigration requirements.

BAL Analysis: New Zealand authorities granted the accreditation extension to remove administrative burdens while employers familiarize themselves with the new system.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

Copyright © 2023 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries, please contact copyright@bal.com.