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Earlier this year, Immigration New Zealand announced that they were going to make changes to work visa applications.  The following briefly outlines some of the key changes that Immigration New Zealand has proposed:



Old System:  Six temporary work visa categories ( Essential Skills, Work to Residence (long term skill shortage list), Talent (Accredited Employer), Silver Fern (Practical Experience), Silver Fern (Job Search) and Approval in Principal).

New System: There will only be one work visa category that will be using a new framework.



Old System: As part of an employees work visa application under an employer specific category, an employee can provide information in relation to the financial sustainability of the employer and whether the employer has attempted to train or up-skill New Zealanders if issues are raised.

New System: Before an employee can apply for an employer specific work visa, an employer must have obtained accreditation.  Only an accredited employer can support an employee for an application for an employer specific work visa.  In order to become accredited, the employer will be required to satisfy Immigration New Zealand in several aspects such as completing character checks, providing workforce development strategies and evidence of financial sustainability. 



Old System: The old labour market test required employers to advertise on nationwide platforms such as TradeMe and Seek for ANZSCO level 1-3 roles.  For ANZSCO level 4-5 roles the employer had to advertise with Work and Income New Zealand and obtain a Skills Match report.  If an employee had been offered employment in a position that was listed on the Long Term Skill Shortage List and is able to meet listed requirements then no labour market test was required, as long as the employee was able to meet the listed requirements.  In addition, if an employee had an offer of employment with an accredited employer and was paid $55,000 per annum then no labour market was required.

New System: The new labour market test will be satisfied through regional job and skills hubs as well as sector agreements.  The new regional skill shortage list will replace the current skill shortage list under the proposed changes.  If an employee is offered a job under one of the occupations and locations on the regional skill shortage list and meets the listed requirements then no labour market test will be required by the employer.  If an employee has an offer of employment and is paid $75,000 per annum, no labour market test is required.  No labour market test is also required if an employee has an offer with remuneration that is 200% more than the New Zealand median income with a non-premium accredited employer.



Old System: Under the old system there is only one type of accreditation which allows employers to support the visa applications of their employees.  The visa application for these employees is called Work to Residence (Accredited Employer) and can be applied for if the employee is paid $55,000 per annum for a full time position and the employee meets the listed requirements. Under this category the employee could support and employee for their work and subsequent resident visas.

New System: Accreditation is proposed to be split into three categories: Standard, Labour Hire and Premium Accreditation categories.  Standard Accreditation will apply to all employers looking to hire migrant workers and is only able to support employees for work visas.  Labour Hire Accreditation is the baseline requirement for labour hire companies that wish to recruit migrant workers on work visas for specific projects.  As with Standard Accredited employers, Labour Hire Accreditation does not provide a pathway to resident visas..  Finally, Premium Accreditation is the only accreditation category that allows employers to support applicants for both work and resident visas. As well as the listed requirements, the employees must also be paid 150% of the New Zealand’s median income in order to apply.



Old System: Mid-skilled work visa remuneration threshold was set at 85% of New Zealand’s median income.

New System:  Mid-skilled work visa remuneration threshold is proposed to be set at 100% of New Zealand’s median income.


We have taken care to ensure that the information given is accurate, however it is intended for general guidance only and should not be relied upon in individual cases. Professional advice should always be sought before any decision or action is taken as Immigration New Zealand’s instructions change on a regular basis.