Immigration Updates – June 2023
General, Immigration, Government, Employment Law / 28 June 2023
New changes regarding occupations on the Green List came into effect on 29 May 2023. Immigration New Zealand (INZ) announced a new the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) and duration of Accredited Employer work visa (AEWV).
New Occupations on the Green List
Occupations added to Tier 2 Green List (Work to Residence) include:
- Bus Driver (731211), truck drivers (7331), Ship’s Master (231231) and Deck Hand (899211
- Earthmoving plant operators (7212)
- Crane, Hoist or Lifer Operator (712111)
More occupations in Health and Social Services sectors moved to Tier 1 or Tier 2.
We suggest you reach us for more details regarding the occupations and specific requirements of eligibility. We can also do a preliminary assessment of eligibility for you.
New settings of SMC
Besides Green List residence and Highly Paid residence pathways, SMC is still the main residence pathway for the majority of skilled migrants. INZ is introducing a new, simplified six-point system to give more certainty to migrant workers and their families, and applicants must have a job offer or current employment in a role paid at or 1.5 times the median wage depending on the skill levels. They also need at least six points to be eligible, which can be made up from:
- 3 to 6 points based on either professional registration, qualifications or income. People can choose the skill category that offers the most points based on their circumstances; and
- 1 point per year of working in New Zealand in a skilled job, up to a maximum of 3 points.
All applicants must also meetthe medical and character requirements for all visa applications. This new setting has no annual cap on the number of eligible applications, meaning all eligible applications will be processed.
If you missed the 2021 Resident Visa applications, the new SMC may be an option. We can preliminarily assess your qualification, work experience, income and skilled work in New Zealand to ensure your eligibility. Otherwise, we can advise your options for residence pathways based on your circumstance.
Changes to AEWV
From November this year, new AEWVs will be granted for five years and existing visa holders can apply for a further visa to get up to five years in total.
AEWV holders who are not clear on a pathway to residence need to leave New Zealand for 12 months (standdown period) before applying for another AEWV. Previously, low-skilled workers were granted two years’ AEWV and a condition of 12-month standdown period. Now, this has expanded to include all other AEWV holders.
INZ has advised it will release more details on this shortly.
Message for Employers
The changes to AEWV holders may impact your mid-skilled and low-skilled migrant workers significantly, and we can discuss their visa options and advise on a plan for a pathway to a residence to support greater certainty over this.
As INZ amends and updates its policies every month, with our advice you can save valuable time to do an assessment and review before applications are submitted to INZ.
If you and your employees have any queries in relation to temporary and/or resident visa applications or have issues of medical and/or character issues, please feel free to contact us.
Disclaimer: We remind you that while this article provides commentary on employment law, health and safety and immigration topics, it should not be used as a substitute for legal or professional advice for specific situations. Please seek legal advice from your lawyer for any questions specific to your workplace.