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The government have announced several significant updates to New Zealand’s current and future immigration setting.

We set out key information below.

Key updates

New Zealand’s border will fully open by 1 August 2022. On 31 July 2022, all student and visitor visa categories will reopen.

All work visa categories will open for applications on 4 July 2022.

A ‘Green List’ has been introduced.

  • The first benefit of this list is that it has two pathways to residence which will have an age cap (principal applicants will need to be under the age of 56 years of age). The first is a fast-tracked residence category that will open from September 2022. The second is a work to residence pathway which will require workers to work for 2 years on the work visa before applying for residence.
  • The second benefit of this list is that the need for advertising at the Job Check stage is waived if a role is featured on the list.
  • To be able to benefit from the list, requirements set for each role must be met.

Changes to future Partnership Work Visas in 2023. Initial indications are that partners of Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) holders will be provided visitor visas unless the AEWV holder is working in a role that is on the Green List or pays over 2x median income. Partners of AEWV holders in future will need to apply for AEWVs if they wish to work and their partner’s role is not on the Green List or if their partner is not paid 2x the median income.

It has been indicated that in 2023, all employers will require accreditation in order to employ any migrant. This would indicate that Working Holiday visas and other visas may be phased out in future.

Sector agreements will be used to allow for exemptions to the AEWV $27.76 wage threshold. Current interim lists of roles have been released. Full sector agreement lists will be released in the future. Migrants holding this AEWV while exempt from the wage threshold will be able to work in New Zealand for 24 months, before a stand down period, in which the employee must leave New Zealand for 12 months, will apply. After this stand-down period the employee may re-apply for a visa.

Open work visas have been granted to those in New Zealand holding one of the following eligible visas expiring between 9 May and 31 December 2022:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Post Study Work Visa
  • Partner of a New Zealander Work Visa
  • Eligible Ukraine nationals granted a temporary visa on 10 March 2022

These visas are valid for 24 months from the expiry date of the previous visa and will allow the holder to work for any employer, anywhere in New Zealand. Migrant workers holding this visa may also leave and re-enter New Zealand. Visas for partners and dependent children of eligible visa holders will also be granted provided their visas were due to expire between 9 May – 31 December 2022; and who were physically present in New Zealand on 9 May 2022.

The following visas expiring between 9 May-31 December 2022 have been extended by six months:

  • Talent (Accredited Employer)
  • Talent (Arts, Culture and Sports)
  • Long Term Skill Shortage List
  • Skilled Migrant Category Job Search Visa
  • South Island Contribution

Eligible visa holders must have been physically present in New Zealand on 9 May 2022 for this extension to apply.

Partners and children of these eligible visa holders will also have their visas extended, provided they hold a visa based on their relationship to the work visa holder, and were physically present in New Zealand on 9 May 2022.

The following working holiday schemes have had opening dates updated:

South Korea10 May 2022
China19 May 2022
Taiwan25 May 2022
Argentina26 May 2022
Chile31 May 2022
Luxembourg17 May 2022
Czech Republic2 June

From 16 May 2022 online Visitor Visa applications will open for the following countries:

    • Federated states of Micronesia
    • Fiji
    • French Polynesia
    • Kiribati
    • Nauru
    • New Caledonia
    • Palau
    • Papua New Guinea
    • Republic of Marshall Islands
    • Samoa
    • Solomon Islands
    • Tonga
    • Tuvalu
    • Vanuatu

Applicants must be able to show that they are a genuine visitor and only intend a temporary stay.

Consultations to reopen the Skilled Migrant Category will start after 31 July 2022.

A raft of changes for Student Visas and Post Study Visas including the following:

    • Closing post-study work rights options for those that study for non-degree level courses except where they are studying and then working in specified shortage and skilled occupations
    • Post study work rights for students will mirror length of time that can be worked.
    • Closing the ability to apply for a second post-study visa in New Zealand

Cruise ships able to return with the opening of the maritime border from 31 July

Allow Critical purpose visitor visas to be granted with multiple entry travel conditions

Our thoughts

The latest update provided will form the foundation for policy changes in the future. We anticipate a constant flow of policy amendments in future to transition the announcements that have been made into policy.

For additional details, information can be found on the Immigration New Zealand website here!

Our team is working on a detailed factsheet, which will be circulated once further details have been released by the government.

Our experts

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch with the team.

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