Find out everything you need to know about the Median Wage and how it affects your workforce

Median wage increases explained

In order to support an Accredited Employer Work Visa (and other New Zealand visa schemes), your international worker must meet the wage threshold requirement

The main government objective behind this is to attract highly skilled people to grow New Zealand’s economy. This is good news for anyone looking to hire from overseas.

What is the median wage?

From 28 February 2024, the new median wage rate of $31.61, which is based on StatsNZ median wage, will be adopted into parts of immigration policy.

For other policies, the wage rate of $29.66 will remain the threshold.

Work Visas to remain the same

The rate of NZ$29.66 remains the threshold for the following Work Visas. This is to allow government time to review the use of wage thresholds as indications of skill level and to reset policies.

For roles covered by the sector agreements, the current median wage exemptions also continue to stand.

The tourism and hospitality median wage exemption will no longer be removed in April 2024.

Residence Visas affected by the increase

The wage thresholds for the following visa categories will increase from 28 February 2024, in line with the new StatsNZ median wage of NZ$31.61;

  • Skilled Migrant Category
  • Green List Straight to Residence
  • Green List Work to Residence (WtR)
  • Transport Sector Work to Residence (excluding bus drivers)
  • Parent Category Residence

How might the Residence Visa wage threshold increase impact staff?

  • The rate required for accruing work experience over the 2-years of their WtR pathway may differ from the rate required at time of application.
  • For certain occupations, a higher wage threshold indexed to the median wage will be required to qualify for residence.
  • For anyone you’d like to support on residency but are not meeting the thresholds yet, you may only have a short window to increase wages to start qualifying; as they will otherwise require higher rates from 28 February 2024 to qualify.

For example, the current requirement for Civil Machine Operators to start their WtR pathway is NZ$34.11. If you increase wages to NZ$34.11 now, they can commence their 2-year pathway. If you wait until after 28 March 2024, the wage they require to start the pathway will be increased to $36.35.

Looking to hire or support people on an AEWV or their residence pathway?

We appreciate that there’s is a bit of detail here so feel free to get in touch with us to check what wages are required for what roles and visa types. We’re here to help you get clarity on the changes.

Our team can assist with a workforce review.

We’re here to simplify this process for you and ensure you have the people you need to operate your business effectively. Working In has been helping New Zealand employers manage all aspects of the visa and immigration process, for over a decade. Complete the form below and we will be in touch to talk you through the necessary steps.