Oct 10, 2022

Relief for the Hospitality and Tourism Sector – INZ Announcement


Following COVID, the Hospitality and Tourism sector has seen drastic workforce shortages across New Zealand.

The introduction of the Accredited Employer Work Visa policy on July 4th of this year, along with establishing a median wage role threshold exemption for some roles in this sector, were steps in the right direction, but the requirement for Chefs entering New Zealand was still very specific and put huge limitations on those looking to hire from overseas.

Update just announced!

Immigration New Zealand have just announced that they will remove the qualification requirement for Chefs coming into the country, as well as extending the median wage exemption for other roles within the industry for another year.

This is welcome news for Kiwi employers who will now have greater opportunity to select skilled workers from a larger pool.

The removal of the qualification requirement for Chefs to be hired through an Accredited Employer Work visa (AEWV) will be effective from 18th October 2022.

Immigration Minister Michael Wood, in his announcement this weekend, recognized the Hospitality sector has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. INZ have acknowledged industry concerns that the qualification requirement was limiting options to recruit Chefs without formal qualification (including highly skilled or experienced Chefs), at a time when labour market conditions are tight.

Employers hiring Chefs from overseas, will only be required to meet work experience, median wage and market rate requirements

The industry has already benefited from the lower wage exemption that was announced earlier and they can continue to hire migrants in other roles on a lower wage threshold which is extended another year till April 2024.

Key dates for wage changes for the Hospitality sector:

  • Current Median wage $27.76/hour
  • Current Hospitality Industry Median Wage Exemption minimum rate (excluding Chefs): $25.00/hour
  • February 2023 – Median wage $29.66/hour
  • April 2023 Median Wage Exemption minimum rate (excluding Chefs)- $28.18 per hour
  • April 2024- 100% of median wage applicable at the time for all roles

Further updates to the Median Wage rate Announced

From February 2023 a New Median wage rate of $29.66 will be adopted into the Immigration New Zealand system with no exception for all sectors.

The objective behind this is to make New Zealand a higher wage economy, increasing the skill level of migrant workers and encouraging employers to offer competitive wages and improved career pathways.

Until February 2023 you have a small window to hire Chefs at the current median wage. You also have until April 2023 to fill other key hospitality roles before the minimum wage offered increases from $25 to $28.18 an hour.

Looking to hire Chefs from overseas? Want to hire or support staff currently on a visa? We can help!

Get in touch now so we can work through a solution for you within the current immigration framework.

We can create a plan based on what you have already done to date and what you can do now in light of the recent announcements. We’ll make sure you are sorted and ready to recruit sooner than you thought!


Hamneet Jaggi
Corporate Services Manager – Visas
IAA License #201500559

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