As promised, Immigration New Zealand have introduced a number of
new rules under the Essential Skills Work Visa category.
These rules came into effect from 28 August 2017.
The most striking change is the introduction of salary
bands. The bands are set depending the skill level of the job
as assessed by the Australian and New Zealand Standard
Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). The salary band will
determine what kind of Essential Skill Visa will be issued. A
role with an ANZSCO skill level of 1, being paid $19.97 per hour or
less, will only receive a 1 year visa without the eligibility to
support a family visa application or apply for residency.
These workers will now need to earn a minimum of $23.49 per hour
before they will be eligible to apply for residency.
There are also salary bands for roles assessed at ANZSCO skill
levels 4 and 5, which are set higher than the bands for ANZSCO
levels 1 to 3. Whilst this seems counter intuitive, these
changes are designed to attract people with a higher level of
skill. Setting a high salary level for low skilled jobs means
that workers who are being paid a higher salary for ANZSCO level 4
and 5 jobs are likely to be more experienced with well-developed
skills. It is these workers that will be better placed to
train New Zealand workers, and support business development.
These changes will encourage migrants to move into more skilled
roles if they want to remain in New Zealand. It also allows
highly skilled migrants in the lower ANZSCO levels, such as truck
drivers or aged care workers, to be recognised for the skills that
they have, based on their ability to attract a higher wage.
It is important to note that where a migrant worker is paid a
salary rather than per hour, Immigration New Zealand will calculate
the equivalent hourly rate using the actual hours worked.
This means that if a salaried worker is required to do more than
the standard 40 hours per week, the hourly rate could be lower than
expected. The good news is that now any accommodation that
might be provided as part of a salary can now be included in the
remuneration calculations, as long as it is taxable.
Remuneration becomes a key element of any application to
Immigration New Zealand. Clear information about pay and the
actual hours worked will be needed to support visas. If
salary levels drop below the level for the salary band the
application was made under, the employer could be considered in
breach of immigration law, which has implications for that
employer's ability to hire migrants in the future.
If you or would like assistance with applying for an Essential
Skills Work Visa, or you employ migrants and require advice on
these changes, contact
Paul Milne or