Apr 8, 2024

Breaking news – Immigration policy undergoes huge overhaul

The government has announced, with immediate effect, changes to immigration policy – set to impact thousands of Kiwi businesses and their visa holding staff.

Below is a quick summary.

Changes to the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) Scheme:

Shorter visa lengths and maximum stays:

Effective immediately, AEWV applicants in ANZSCO level 4 or 5 occupations will receive shorter visas, with a maximum length reduced to three years (2+1). They will no longer be entitled to apply for the balance of the five-year AEWV introduced last year.

Requirements for new applicants:

New AEWV applicants must have either three years or more of work experience or hold an NZQA assessed qualification at Level 4 or above, unless they earn double the median income, are on the Green List, or are eligible for the Work to Residence pathway.

English language requirements:

Applicants in ANZSCO skill levels 4 and 5 must meet English language requirements with an IELTS score of 4 or a PTE score of 29, unless exempt from sitting a test.

Changes for employers:

Employers recruiting for ANZSCO skill levels 4 and 5 occupations are now required to advertise positions for 21 days and liaise with Work and Income.

Changes to residency pathways:

  • 9 occupations have been recently added to the Green List but other planned additions for Construction and Infrastructure Sector Agreement will not progress.
  • The Work to Residence pathway for Bus and Truck Drivers is now closed to individuals who are not already working (or have applied to work) in a qualifying role.
  • Migrant high school leavers awaiting the outcome of a family residence application will soon be granted work rights, effective around the middle of this year.

No Franchisee Accreditation:

The Franchisee Accreditation category will be disestablished. Franchise businesses will instead apply to bring in workers from overseas through the standard, high-volume, or triangular employment accreditation.

We understand that these changes may drastically impact your operations and your staff.

If you have any questions, we are here to talk.


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