From 4 July 2022, the Immigration Rebalance plan will affect those in New Zealand who are under the accredited employer work visa, and those who are hiring migrants for high-skilled, hard-to-fill positions.
New Zealand’s borders will be fully reopened to travellers by the end of July. According to New Zealand's Immigration Centre, this is "three months earlier than originally planned".
With this announcement, travellers can apply for:
- Visas from the Pacific Island Forum countries (excluding Australia) such as Fiji, Kiribati, and Papua New Guinea from 16 May 2022 (Monday);
- As for those from Australia - vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents have already been able to enter New Zealand effective 1 May 2022, and they must self-test on arrival.
- Work visas, which includes the Accredited Employer Work visa, from 4 July 2022 (Monday), and
- All student and visitor visa categories from 31 July 2022 (Tuesday).
On top of that, the government agency shared that the maritime border will also be reopened alongside the student and visitor visa categories on 31 July 2022.
Specific to business travellers, or non-local workers in New Zealand, the Immigration Centre highlighted that:
- Most 'Work to Residence' visa holders who were onshore on 9 May 2022 (Monday), and whose visas are expiring on or before 31 December 2022 (Saturday) have had their visa extended by six months,
- 'Two-Year Open Work' visas have been granted to 'Essential Skills', 'Post-Study Work', and 'Partner of a New Zealander work' visa holders who were also onshore on 9 May and whose visas are expiring on or before 31 December.
Beyond travel and visas, the New Zealand government agency, as well, revealed an Immigration Rebalance plan to "lift working conditions for everyone, improve career pathways for New Zealanders and encourage businesses to focus on increasing productivity and resilience as part of our plans for economic recovery from COVID-19". This was said to "to make it easier to attract and hire high-skilled migrants, while supporting some sectors to continue their shift away from relying on lower-skilled migrant workers".
With the plan in place, from 4 July 2022 (Monday), the following changes take effect:
- The Accredited Employer Work visa will include a median wage threshold;
- A green list will make it easier for employers to hire and attract migrants for high-skilled, hard-to-fill positions, and
- There will be new sector agreements to provide for short-term or ongoing need to access lower-paid migrants.
From September 2022, there willl be "streamlined pathways to residence" for migrants in green list occupations, or paid twice the median wage. And from December 2022, the government agency shared, most partners of temporary migrant workers will need to qualify for an Accredited Employer Work Visa in their own right, instead of automatically getting an open work visa.
Classified under 'other changes', the Immigration Rebalance plan will also see "changes to post-study work rights and cost-of-living requirements for future students", and a "new requirement come into effect requiring employers to be accredited to employ any migrant" in 2023.
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