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Following the Skilled migrant changes we discussed previously, the Ministry announced a consultation for the major and very harsh changes to work visa categories. This includes requirements to leave New Zealand for a year, no ability to bring a partner and no domestic fees for children.

Proposal 1 – Maximum 3 years on Essential Skills Visa

Cabinet has agreed, in principle, to introduce a maximum duration of three years that a lower skilled migrant can spend in New Zealand. The table below sets out how this would create three skill levels for the Essential Skills visa policy (lower-, mid- and higher-skilled).

Proposal 2 – Stand down period of 1 year OUTSIDE of New Zealand

Cabinet has agreed, in principle, that once a lower-skilled (with salary below $24 an hour OR ANZSCO 4&5) worker has reached the maximum duration of time allowed on an Essential Skills visa, there would be a stand-down period where they must spend one year outside of New Zealand before they are eligible for another Essential Skills visa in a lower-skilled occupation.

This is to ensure that migrants do not simply transition to another visa category before being granted another lower-skilled Essential Skills visa (with salary below $24 an hour OR ANZSCO 4&5).  The stand down requirements would not, however, apply where an Essential Skills visa holder is eligible for a mid-skilled or higher-skilled Essential Skills visa.

Proposal 3 – No spouse visa for lower-skilled workers (salary below $24/hour OR ANZSCO 4&5)

Cabinet has agreed, in principle, that partners of lower-skilled Essential Skills visa holders would no longer be eligible for a either a Partner of a Worker Work Visa or a Partner of a Worker Visitor Visa. Partners of lower-skilled Essential Skills visa holders would still be able to come to New Zealand if they meet the requirements for a visa in their own right.

Proposal 4 – No domestic fees for children of lower-skilled workers (salary below $24/hour OR ANZSCO 4&5)

Cabinet has agreed, in principle, that children of lower-skilled Essential Skills visa holders would no longer be eligible for a student visa with conditions containing ‘Domestic Student’, based on their parents Essential Skills visa. Children of lower-skilled Essential Skills visa holders would still be able to come to New Zealand if they meet the requirements of a visa in their own right.

[1] ANZSCO 4 and 5 Essential Skills applicants will be required to provide additional information about relevant work experience and qualifications.

[2] Indexed to the minimum wage.

 

If you needed any help – please let us know.

Kind regards,

Immigration Centre Team