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Sector agreement immigration information for NZ industries

On Sunday 21 August, a number of announcements were made by the New Zealand government regarding immigration in order to assist employers in filling skills gaps.

The implementation of sector agreements for particular industries are one of the initiatives that will be introduced on 31 October 2022.

The sector agreements allow limited exceptions to the median wage requirements for hiring skilled migrant workers on an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) in specific occupations. In addition to the sector agreements, employers can continue to hire migrants with open work visas such as students, working holiday makers and partners with open work visas.

Sector Settings

Settings for each agreement will include pay rates, timeframes and roles and these have been developed following consultation with sector representatives and government agencies.

The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) was introduced on 4 July 2022 and most migrant workers holding an AEWV will be paid the median wage (NZD $27.76 an hour) or more. However, new sector settings will allow limited exemptions. Job offers for migrants should reflect the market rate.

The following industry sectors will have a sector setting applied from 31 October 2022 and topline details are listed below. For full details, please refer to Immigration New Zealand’s Fact sheet.

  • Care

Workers in the specified roles on an AEWV must be paid at least NZD $26.16 an hour (Level 3 rate in the Pay Equity Settlement).

Migrant care workers on NZD $28.25 an hour (Level 4 rate) will be able to apply for the Work to Residence pathway after two years.

Lower wage thresholds are already in place for some care roles and will continue until 31 October 2022.

Sector settings will apply from 31 October 2022 until at least October 2024.

  • Construction and infrastructure

Workers in the specified roles on an AEWV must be paid at least NZD $25 an hour (90% of the median wage):

This wage threshold will be updated to align with changes in the median wage.

There is no cap on the number of workers that can be hired below the median wage.

Sector settings will apply from 31 October 2022 until at least October 2024.

  • Tourism & hospitality

Seasonal snow and adventure tourism

Workers in the specified roles on an AEWV must be paid at least NZD $25 an hour (90% of the median wage). This percentage will gradually increase until the sector agreement ends in 2025.

Sector settings will apply from 31 October 2022 until 2025.

Other tourism and hospitality roles

Many other tourism and hospitality workers can already be paid NZD $25 per hour until April 2023. This is a temporary exception, not a sector agreement, introduced because the numbers of migrants onshore with open work rights are lower than normal.

  • Seafood

Onshore processing

Workers in the specified roles on an AEWV must be paid at least $24 an hour (86% of the median wage). This wage threshold will be updated to align with changes in the median wage.

The number of visas will be capped at 600 for 2022/2023 and 600 for 2023/2024.

This sector agreement will be replaced with a Pacific programme from 2024.

Sea-based roles

Workers holding a Fishing Crew Work Visa must be paid at least the minimum wage plus $4 an hour. The wage threshold will be increased each year towards the median wage.

The number of migrants will be capped at 940.

  • Meat processing

Entry-level meat process workers can be paid NZD $24 an hour (86% of the median wage). This wage threshold will be updated to align with changes in the median wage.

The number of visas will be capped at 320.

This sector agreement will be replaced with a Pacific programme from 2024.

Stand-down periods and AEWV

Most migrants on AEWVs who are paid less than the median wage for two years will have to wait 12 months before reapplying for another AEWV role at that rate.

However, they can reapply immediately for another AEWV role that is paid the median wage or more, or another visa.

Partners of AEWV holders in roles earning less than the median wage will be able apply for visitor visas for the duration of their partner’s visa.

Seasonal workers

Meat process workers and seafood process workers will not be able to get another AEWV for work paid below the median wage until the following season.

 

To discuss how we can assist, contact Arno Nothnagel, our NZ Immigration Director: Arno.Nothnagel@absoluteimmigration.com

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