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New Zealand – Government announces changes to temporary work visas

17 September 2019

New Zealand’s government has announced changes to employer processes and visas.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said between now and 2021, it is making changes to the way employers recruit some migrants for temporary work in New Zealand.

These changes include:

  • introducing a new employer-led visa application process that will involve three stages — the employer check, the job check and the worker check
  • a new temporary work visa that replaces six temporary work visas
  • using the level of pay to categorise a job in place of the existing skill bands — existing skill bands rely on a combination of level of pay and categorisation of the job under the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO).
  • strengthening the labour market test for low-paid jobs and open access for high-paid jobs in rural regions and lists in cities
  • introducing sector agreements for a range of industries that regularly employ migrant workers, and
  • reinstating the ability for lower-paid workers to bring their families to New Zealand.

The Ministry added that there is a lot of detail that is not yet available. This includes information about fees, processing times and evidence that employers and migrants will have to provide in support of their applications.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway told The New Zealand Herald that up to 30,000 businesses across the country will benefit from the new changes to the government's temporary work visa process programme.

“The new visa system will require all employers to be accredited and will give employers more certainty about their ability to hire a foreign worker earlier in the application process,” Lees-Galloway said. "It will also provide the foreign worker with more assurance about the employer they are coming to work for and the job they are coming to do."

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