Immigration New Zealand Update 15 July 2020

15th July 2020

Essential Skills work visas – Remuneration and median wage

INZ have announced the combination of ANZSCO and salary to assess skill level is being replaced with a simple remuneration threshold, aligned to the national median wage calculated by Statistics NZ.

Remuneration will now be used to determine the following for an Essential Skills work visa application:

  • Whether an employer needs to engage with The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in order to meet the labour market test
  • The maximum duration of the visa
  • Whether the person holding the visa can support a partnership based work visa to bring family with them to New Zealand. However, anyone offshore will be subject to the border restrictions currently in place

INZ will continue to calculate remuneration using an hourly rate. Hours of work are taken as stated in the employment agreement. If employment specifies payment by salary, then the payment per hour is calculated by dividing the annual salary by 52 weeks, followed by the number of hours to be worked each week.

Further information about how INZ calculates pay rates is available here.

Selecting the right ANZSCO code

The ANZSCO occupation will continue to be requested on the Employer Supplementary form as this information plays a very important role for government policy making purposes, such as understanding the make up of the migrant workforce in New Zealand. It is important that employers continue to choose the ANZSCO code which is the closest match to the job being offered to the migrant worker.

ANZSCO will continue to be used to determine skilled employment as when assessing residence applications under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC). Essential Skills applications which are approved on the basis of remuneration at or above the median wage does not guarantee that the occupation will be considered skilled for the purposes of a SMC application.

Where an employer has selected an ANZSCO code that requires a higher level of experience or qualification than what the employer has advertised, an Immigration Officer will make a determination if the ANZSCO code selected is a suitable match.

  • If the ANZSCO code selected is a suitable match, then the applicant’s suitability will be determined by the requirements outlined in ANZSCO.
  • If the ANZSCO code selected by the employer is not a suitable match, the applicant’s suitability will be determined by the ANZSCO code identified by the Immigration Officer.

Where an employer has advertised a role with a higher level of experience or qualification than is required by the ANZSCO code indicated, the employer will be asked to provide an explanation as to why a higher qualified person is required.

Supporting partners and dependents

Essential Skills work visa holders earning below the median wage can only support partners on visitor visas, not work visas.

However, once the partner of an Essential Skills work visa holder earning below the median wage is in New Zealand on a visitor visa, they can apply for a work visa in their own right.

Essential Skills work visa holders earning below the median wage can support visitor or student visas for their dependent children.

Essential Skills work visa holders earning at or above the median wage can support work or visitor visas for partners, and visitor or student visas for dependent children.

Keep in mind that any partners and dependents who are offshore will be subject to the border restrictions currently in place. All partners and dependents of any Essential Skills work visa holder must meet immigration requirements such as health and character. Holding an Essential Skills work visa is not a guarantee that partners and dependents will be granted visas or entry to New Zealand.

Appendix 7 – occupations treated as exceptions under the residence Skilled Migrant Category

INZ are updating the list of occupations that can be treated as an exception to certain skill level assessments for SMC residence policy.

This list of occupations is provided in Appendix 7 of the INZ Operational Manual. From 27 July 2020 this list will not be used to assess Essential Skills temporary work applications.

The following occupations will be added from 27 July 2020:

  • Aged or Disabled Carer
  • Nursing Support Worker
  • Driller
  • Bicycle Mechanic

Read the latest news about short term changes to NZ temporary work visas here.

For any inquiries

Contact Arno Nothnagel, Immigration Director | New Zealand