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NEW ZEALAND: Changes to Accredited Employer Framework

, 24/09/2019

Effective 7 October 2019, the New Zealand government has announced significant changes to the Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa.

Below, we examine the key changes.

Increasing the Minimum Salary

As a migrant, the minimum salary needed to apply for a Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa will increase from NZD 55,000 to NZD 79,560 per year.
The new salary applies to all Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa applications received from 7 October 2019, regardless of when the employer became accredited.
The salary threshold was last updated in 2008. The new threshold is 150% of the current New Zealand median salary and will be updated each year in line with the median income.
The new salary is based on a 40 hour week, or NZD 38.25 per hour. If the job is for more than 40 hours a week, the employee must be paid at least NZD 38.25 an hour.
If the salary will be under NZD 79,560 from the 7 October 2019, the employee can apply for an Essential Skills Work Visa instead.

Removing the Option to get a Permanent Resident Visa

From 7 October 2019, employees who do not have a Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa or a current application for one will no longer be able to get a Permanent Resident Visa if they apply for a Talent (Accredited Employer) Resident Visa.
Currently, Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa holders who earn NZD 90,000 or more per year can apply for a Talent (Accredited Employer) Resident Visa and get a Permanent Resident Visa.
Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa holders can still apply for a Permanent Resident Visa later.

Limiting Employer Accreditation to 24 Months

From 7 October 2019, employers who apply for accreditation can only be accredited for two years before they have to reapply (rather than five years as currently).
This limit is to allow for some changes Immigration New Zealand is making to the way employers recruit migrant workers.
Currently-accredited employers will not be affected.

Who Will be Impacted?

Accredited employers looking to support employees through the work to residence visa pathway.
Employers who wish to apply for accreditation.
Individuals working for accredited employers who earn at least NZD 55,000 but have not yet applied for a work to residence visa.

Our Advice

Individuals earning between NZD 55,000 and NZD 79,560 who have not yet applied for a work to residence visa are advised to do so by 6 October 2019.
Employers wishing to apply for accreditation are advised to do so by 6 October 2019 to obtain accreditation for more than two years.
Employers who may be affected are encouraged to contact a Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.