Areas of expertise

The government have announced several significant updates to New Zealand’s immigration settings.

The volume of updates has made it difficult to keep up to date. To assist with keeping up to date with changes, we have summarised in this article:

  1. Key updates and useful information; and
  2. Pathways to bring skilled workers into New Zealand
Key updates/ Information
  • Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) applications and other work visa categories started to process on 4 July 2022 (this includes Specific Purpose work visa applications)
  • AEWV applications can only be submitted after a token/link is generated from a successful Job Check application
  • The Essential Skills Work Visa (ESWV) category closed to new applications after 11:59pm on 3 July 2022
  • Most Border Exceptions categories will be closed after 11:59pm on 31 July 2022. Primary sector exceptions will close on 1 September 2022. There has been no announcement that Border Exceptions for deepwater fishing crew or seafood processors will close. AEWV and other work visa applications can submitted without the need for a Border Exception Request
  • Applications for Student Visa applications and all types of Visitor Visa applications will open on 31 July 2022
  • The government are likely to negotiate wider sector agreements for exemptions to the AEWV remuneration threshold
  • The 2021 Resident Visa Category will close to new applications after 11:59pm on 31 July 2022
  • VisaView is still having difficulty displaying extended work and work to residence visas that were due to expire between 9 May and 31 December 2022
  • A review of the Skilled Migrant Category is underway. Immigration New Zealand (INZ) have indicated that this category may re-open sometime after 31 July 2022
  • New Fast Tracked and work to residence pathways to open from September 2022
  • Critical Purpose Visitor Visas (CPVV) have been provided with multiple entry conditions
  • There is no requirement to provide a negative pre-departure Covid-19 test when travelling to New Zealand. A traveller declaration and evidence of vaccination will be required in most cases. New Zealand citizens and resident visa holders (Kiwis) do not need to provide evidence of vaccination
  • INZ will increase immigration fees and levies from 31 July 2022. The average increase is around NZ$81
  • A further 85 countries have been added to the INZ Low Tuberculosis Incidence List (LTIL)
  • INZ have changed the policy for assessing whether Chest X-ray certificates are required. The new policy requirement is that Chest X-ray certificates are required where visas of longer than 6 month duration are requested for by people who hold a passport not issued by one of the countries on INZ’s LTIL or have spent a cumulative total of three months or more in any country not listed on INZ’s LTIL in the last 5 years
  • There is a rumour that there may be operational level policy changes to Job Check applications and the AEWV category
  • After December 2022, most partners of AEWV holders will be provided with Visitor Visas (instead of open work visas), if the AEWV holder is not paid 2 times median income or meets Green List requirements. From now until December 2022, partners of AEWV holders paid at or above median wage will be granted open Work Visas. If partners of AEWV holders are paid below median wage, they will need to apply for a Visitor Visa
Pathways to bring skilled workers into New Zealand
  • Critical Purpose Visitor Visa: Border exceptions and CPVV applications can still be submitted to support workers to travel to NZ. Border exceptions will be phased out after 31 July 2022. Approved border exceptions will still allow CPVV holders to travel to NZ
  • Specific Purpose Work Visa: This vehicle is generally used to support workers that are intra-corporate transferees, workers required to install or service assets that require specialist expertise as part of purchase or service agreements, and other workers that are working on specific specialist projects or events of a fixed term nature, where their skills are likely to benefit Kiwis and where there is no risk of a negative impact to job opportunities for Kiwis
  • Accredited Employer Work Visas: The most common visa vehicle that will be used to allow skilled workers to travel to and work in New Zealand. This requires an employer to gain accreditation status and be approved for a Job Check application. Workers will need to be paid over $27.76 per hour or be offered employment in an exempt role (or in future, a sector agreement role). Workers will need to meet the instructions that Job Check applications are approved under. A key test for a Job Check application is to determine whether a role:
    • remunerates $55.52 per hour or more; or
    • is on the Green List; or
    • can pass a labour market test
  • Business Visitor Visas: Business visitor visas (including those secured via the Visa Waiver Scheme) can be used to allow for work in the limited scenarios
  • Working Holiday Visas: Workers with citizenship from counties that have quota and can meet requirements, can use Working Holiday Visas to work in fixed term roles in New Zealand
Our thoughts

We have reached the end game of the border restrictions that were implemented to protect New Zealand from Covid-19. We envisage changes to the border setting to allow New Zealand to take advantage of global migration trends by opening residence categories including the Fast Tracked residence pathway. It is possible that the AEWV and Job Check instructions will be changed at an operational policy level to provide more flexibility. The current iteration of the policy is of an early stage.

There are pitfalls and areas where employers and workers are likely to have difficulty. We would be most happy to assist with successfully navigating any immigration related matters. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

All information in this release is current as of 19 July 2022.

Our experts

Please contact our team if you have any questions.

See all people