Work to residence – highly paid

To be eligible to apply for residence based on working in a highly-paid role an applicant must have worked in New Zealand for at least 24 months, and within the 30 months immediately prior to lodging their residence application. This period of work does not have to be obtained in consecutive months, and can also include any parental leave undertaken. Work comprising a Green List role and a highly-paid role can also be combined to achieve the required 2 years. Only work experience gained in New Zealand after 29 September 2021 can be counted, and so the earliest a residence application can be lodged under the highly-paid option will be 29 September 2023.

At the time of lodging their residence application the applicant must hold an Accredited Employer Work Visa or another work visa (eg; Essential Skills) applied for before 4 July 2022, and be in permanent employment or have fixed term employment for at least 12 months following the date the residence application is lodged. Employment must be for a guaranteed minimum of 30 work hours per week.

The employment being relied on for the 24 months must be remunerated at twice the New Zealand median pay rate, which was $54.00 ph from 29 September 2021 to 3 July 2022, and $55.52 ph from 4 July 2022, and will increase to $59.32 ph from 27 February 2023. Accommodation allowances may be able to be included in the remuneration calculation, but commissions or bonuses which are not guaranteed cannot be included.

The key issue will be in the process applied by Immigration New Zealand to calculate the remuneration rate. There should be no issues where an employee is paid at a guaranteed minimum hourly rate which is at, or above, the specified level. However, as most higher paid roles will be remunerated by way of a salary which covers “all hours worked” then INZ can request a declaration from the employer as to the range of hours actually worked, including maximum work hours. INZ will then use this maximum number of hours, when divided into the salary, to determine the hourly pay rate – which must be at or above the required threshold in order for the application to be successful.

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