Temporary migrant workers and international students, who are already employed in essential services, are now able to vary some of the conditions of their visa. This loosening of visa requirements is intended to make it easier for essential businesses and services to operate during the COVID-19 response. It will allow essential businesses and service providers to maintain their labour pool during a time when new recruitment is very difficult.

INZ have announced that effective from 16 April, 2020:

Work visa holders with employer-specific work visas already employed in essential services will be able to vary their hours and be redeployed to do other roles within their current workplace. They can also perform their current role in a different workplace to help essential businesses keep operating while New Zealand remains at Alert Level 3 or 4 and for six weeks after that.

International students who are already employed in an essential services role will be able to work longer hours for their current employer while New Zealand remains at Alert Level 3 or 4 and for six weeks following. Students who are employed in an essential services role and wish to work more than 20 hours must still meet their study requirements and should discuss their plans with their education provider.

All standard employment law requirements continue to apply to any amendments to an employee’s conditions of work.

Interim visa holders are not able to change their visa conditions under this new special policy.

If you are either a work visa holder or an international student currently employed in an essential services role, you may apply for a Variation of Conditions. There are no fees or levies required to make this application to INZ. However, if you would like professional assistance to apply for a VOC, or would like to discuss these changes in further detail, we recommend you seek licensed immigration advice. Pathways’ staff are working from home while New Zealand is at Alert Levels 3 and 4. Please contact us to speak with one of our advisers today.

More information about Alert Levels 3 and 4 is available at the Government’s official COVID-19 website.

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