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GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES CHANGES TO ESSENTIAL SKILLS AND DELAY OF THE NEW EMPLOYER ACCREDITED WORK VISA

By July 15, 2021September 28th, 2021No Comments

The government has announced that they are introducing a simplified process for those requiring a new essential skills visa for the same job, with the same employer and in the same location. The simplified process includes:

  • No requirement for labour market check.
  • No requirement to provide an employment agreement.
  • If medical and police certificates have been supplied previously, they will not be required for new application.

If you are applying for a new visa and you are changing jobs, employer or location the process remains relatively unchanged.

The maximum duration of an Essential Skills visas for jobs paid below the median wage has also been extended from 12 to 24 months.

The changes to the Essential Skills Work Visa have been made as the New Employer Accredited Work Visa rollout has been delayed. Initially announced to rollout on 1 November, it will now be delayed until the middle of next year. An update will be provided when an exact date is confirmed.

Tourism Minister, Stuart Nash has stated “COVID support previously rolled out to businesses has been designed to keep workers connected to employers and keep tourism businesses operating while international borders are closed. The decision to extend Essential Skills visas and simplify application processes is the next step, and will be welcomed by sectors like tourism and hospitality where employers are keen to retain their current migrant workers,”.

The Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor, said the changes acknowledged feedback he had been getting from the primary sector where employers were desperate to hang onto migrant staff, like dairy farm managers, who had often worked for the same employer for several years on an Essential Skills visa.

Essential Skills visas are available to anyone who is offered full-time employment (30+ hours) in New Zealand and can meet other eligibility requirements. The majority of Essential Skills visa holders work in the service sector which includes tourism, hospitality and retail.

The government believes the changes to the Essential skills will help the below:

  • Two year Essential Skills visa to provide certainty to at least 18,000 visa holders
  • Streamlined application process to benefit at least 57,000 visa holders

See full release here:

https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/extended-essential-skills-visas-being-rolled-out

Other information about release can be found here:

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/125768376/skilled-migrant-visas-extended-by-12-months-for-lowerpaid-workers-to-aid-service-sector

https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/covid-19/in-new-zealand/visa-information/essential-skills-work-visa-changes