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Your Questions Answered: Immigration New Zealand’s 16 July 2021 Update Explained

by | Jul 18, 2021 | Articles, Employers, Individuals & Families, News, News & Articles

Estimated Reading Time: 5 mins

The Announcement

On 16 July 2021, the Minister of Immigration announced the following key changes:

    • The new proposed Accredited Employer Work Visa employer-led visa process (also known as the AEWV) will be delayed to mid-2022.
    • The duration of Essential Skills Work Visas paid below the median wage will be increased from 12 months to 24 months.
    • The removal of the requirement to provide Police, Medical, and/or Chest X-ray Certificates for migrant workers who are applying for Essential Skills Work Visas, if they have provided them before.
    • The introduction of the new streamlined Essential Skills Work Visa process for some migrant workers ‘staying in the same role’.

The New Accredited Employer Work Visa Delayed

On 16 July 2021, the Minister of Immigration announced that the new proposed Accredited Employer Work Visa employer-led visa process (which includes the new proposed compulsory Employer Accreditation system) will be delayed and will now be launched mid-2022. Originally, Immigration New Zealand was proposing to introduce the new Accredited Employer Work Visa on 1 November 2021.

On 16 July 2021, the Minister of Immigration announced that the new proposed Accredited Employer Work Visa employer-led visa process (which includes the new proposed compulsory Employer Accreditation system) will be delayed and will now be launched mid-2022.

Longer Essential Skills Work Visas For Migrant Workers ‘Paid Below The Median Wage’

Originally, migrant workers paid below the median wage would only be eligible for an Essential Skills Work Visa with a duration of up to 12 months. In accordance with the 16 July 2021 announcement, this will now be increased to 24 months.

Originally, migrant workers paid below the median wage would only be eligible for an Essential Skills Work Visa with a duration of up to 12 months. In accordance with the 16 July 2021 announcement, this will now be increased to 24 months.

Requirement To Provide Police, Medical, and/or Chest X-ray Certificates Removed For Some Migrant Workers Applying For Essential Skills Work Visas

From 19 July 2021 onwards, if migrant workers applying for Essential Skills Work Visas have provided the following before, they will no longer need to provide the following again in order for their applications to be lodged (this means to meet minimum requirements for the application to be accepted for processing by Immigration New Zealand):

    – Medical Certificate and/or Chest X-ray Certificate if the migrant worker has provided these certificates with a previous visa application (even if it has been over 36 months); and
    – Police Certificate(s) if the migrant worker has provided these certificates with a previous visa application (even if it has been over 24 months).

From 19 July 2021 until 29 August 2021, eligible migrant workers will need to apply for their Essential Skills Work Visa using the newly updated paper-based form (INZ1266) on Immigration New Zealand’s website if they want to waive the requirement to provide Police, Medical, and/or Chest X-ray certificates. From 30 August 2021, migrant workers will also be able to apply for this via Immigration New Zealand’s online platform, once it has been updated.

It is important to note that Immigration Officers may still request for these documents if they choose to do so.

The New Streamlined Essential Skills Work Visa Process For Some Migrant Workers ‘Staying In the Same Role’

On 16 July 2021, the Minister of Immigration announced a new streamlined Essential Skills Work Visa application process for some migrant workers. The new streamlined Essential Skills Work Visa process will be introduced on 19 July 2021.

  • Eligibility
    The new streamlined Essential Skills Work Visa will apply to migrant workers ‘staying in the same role’. ‘Staying in the same role’ means that the migrant worker will continue to work in the same role, the same region, and for the same employer as their existing current employment.

    The new streamlined Essential Skills Work Visa will apply to migrant workers ‘staying in the same role’. ‘Staying in the same role’ means that the migrant worker will continue to work in the same role, the same region, and for the same employer as their existing current employment.

    They will also need to remain in their current full-time (at least 30 hours per week) employment, and at the time of submitting their new streamlined Essential Skills Work Visa, they will need to hold:

      – A work visa of any type; or
      – A Student Visa with conditions allowing unlimited work rights (usually for a Master Degree or a PhD qualification); or
      – A Critical Purpose Visitor Visa either granted on the basis that the migrant worker has a critical purpose for travel to New Zealand as a ‘Critical Healthcare Worker’, an ‘Other Critical Worker’ approved for a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa for over 6 months, or if the migrant worker falls under a ‘Class Exemption’.

  • What It Means For Eligible Migrant Workers & Their Employers
    Eligible migrant workers ‘staying in the same role’ under the new streamlined Essential Skills Work Visa process will not have to include the following for their application to be lodged (this means to meet minimum requirements for the application to be accepted for processing by Immigration New Zealand):

      – Medical Certificate and/or Chest X-ray Certificate if the migrant worker has provided these certificates with a previous visa application (even if it has been over 36 months);
      – Police Certificate(s) if the migrant worker has provided these certificates with a previous visa application (even if it has been over 24 months);
      – Evidence of their remuneration payment (such as Inland Revenue income summaries and bank statements);
      – A copy of their employment agreement;
      – Evidence of their qualifications, work experience, and/or occupational registration; and
      – Labour Market Test evidence (advertising evidence to demonstrate that there are no suitable New Zealand Citizens or New Zealand Residents available to do the work) from their employer. This also means that a valid Skills Match Report prepared by Work and Income for roles paid below the median wage will also not be required.

    This will not only apply to migrant workers ‘staying in the same role’ applying under the new streamlined Essential Skills Work Visa application process, but will also apply to migrant workers who are ‘staying in the same role’ but have already applied for their Essential Skills Work Visa before 19 July 2021 and if their application has yet to be decided on by 19 July 2021.

    Under the new streamlined Essential Skills Work Visa process for migrant workers ‘staying in the same role’, the employer will still need to:

      – Complete INZ1113; and
      – Confirm whether or not the worker requires occupational registration in New Zealand.

    It is important to note that Immigration Officers may still request for documents if they choose to do so.

  • Application Process
    From 19 July 2021 until 29 August 2021, eligible migrant workers ‘staying in the same role’ will need to apply for this using the newly updated paper-based form (INZ1266) on Immigration New Zealand’s website. From 30 August 2021, migrant workers will also be able to apply for this via Immigration New Zealand’s online platform, once this has been updated.

    Employers will need to complete the latest INZ1113 form.

    If a migrant worker is not eligible for the new streamlined Essential Skills Work Visa (for example, the migrant worker is changing roles or is not currently working) and does not need their Police, Medical, and/or Chest X-ray certificates waived under the new announcement rules (because they are still valid), the migrant worker will still be able to apply for an Essential Skills Work Visa through the current online work visa system.

How We Can Help

This article was written to provide general guidance only. It is correct at as the date of this article and is subject to further updates. Stay Legal is always happy to provide immigration guidance and solutions. If you have any questions about the 16 July 2021 announcement, please do not hesitate to contact us.   Please call us +64 7 575 2882 or email hello@staylegal.co.nz.

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