The only constant in life is change - especially with NZ immigration!14 Sep 2021

At Pathways, we see first-hand the almost daily changes in the immigration space. Given that we have difficulty keeping up to date, we can only imagine how exasperating and confusing this must be for employers.

More than ever, employers need clear and simple messaging to understand what all these changes mean for their business, and for their migrant employees.

So what do you need to know?

The mandatory employer accreditation, scheduled to be introduced on 1 November 2021, has been deferred, possibly to mid-2022 and employers should simply forget about this for now.

The median payrate was increased to $27 ph from 19 July. This means that Essential skills work visa (ESWV) applicants who are paid at or above the median payrate can be issued 3-year work visas, and those paid below the median will be issued two year “lowskilled” work visas.

For applicants holding ANY type of work visa who are applying for an ESWV to continue working in the exact same employment, then no job advertising or employment agreement is required, and applicants are not required to provide updated police and medical reports.

Employers need to be mindful where the employee has accompanying family members as a person on a low-skilled work visa cannot normally support their partner for a work visa. However, if the partner is holding any work visa they can now directly apply for their own ESWV to continue working in their existing employment role. Dependent children are eligible for domestic student visas up until completion of secondary school providing one parent, or both parents in combination, who are holding ESWVs, are earning at least $43,322.76 pa.

Applications for the previous employer accreditation, and for the renewal of existing employer accreditation, ceased on 30 June 2021. Consequently, existing accredited employers should be proactive in transitioning their eligible employees (those paid at least $79,560 pa) onto work-to-residence work visas BEFORE their existing accreditation expires – and before 31 October 2021 when this visa category is forecast to close.

NB: existing employees who are holding work-to-residence visas, based on their employer’s previous accreditation, can still lodge their residence application if otherwise eligible to do so.

Expressions of Interest pursuant to the Skilled Migrant residence category which have been suspended since April 2020 are expected to resume soon, but with changed eligibility criteria.

Border entry exceptions remain possible for very specialised critical workers – but the threshold is high!

While the Greek philosopher Heraclitus was right about the constant of change, all you really need to know is that while change is always a constant in the immigration space the answers can always be found with our team here at Pathways!

Link: First published in Waikato Business News August/September Volume 29: Issue 8 2021, page 16