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Median Wage & Exemptions

What is the median wage?

The median wage is the minimum amount a migrant can be paid to be supported on a work visa. While there are few exemptions to paying the median wage, in most cases the median wage must be met. The median wage is reviewed yearly by Stats NZ. The trend has generally shown a yearly increase.

The past few years have looked like:

15 January 2018 – 25 November 2018: $24.29
26 November 2018 – 23 February 2020: $25.00
24 February 2020 – 18 July 2021: $25.50
19 July 2021 – 23 October 2022: $27.00
24 October 2022 – 26 February 2023: $27.76
From 27 February 2023 – 27 February 2024: $29.66
From 28 February 2024: $31.61

The current median wage is $31.61 and will be reviewed again in 2025. There are a few exemptions to the median wage as per below:

Pause for Accredited Employer Work Visas

There has been a temporary pause on the median wage for Accredited Employer Work Visas. This means those applying for an Accredited Employer Work Visa only need to be paid $29.66. This temporary pause has been initiated to allow for careful consideration of alternatives to the median wage threshold within the AEWV.

Occupations Exempt from the AEWV Median Wage Threshold

You cannot pay a migrant less than the NZ median wage, unless their occupation features on one of the exemption lists. There are various sector agreements in place that allow for certain roles to be paid less. These sectors include:
• care workforce
• seafood processing (onshore)
• seafood (sea-based)
• construction and infrastructure
• meat processing
• seasonal snow and adventure tourism
• transport

Roles exempted from paying the median wage can be found here.

Other impacts of the median wage

Currency of your visa – Being paid below the median wage in an exemption position will impact the length of visa you would be eligible for. Some sector agreements have a 2-year maximum continuous stay requirement and you must then spend a 12 month stand down period outside New Zealand before applying for another work visa.

Partner visa – The type of visa you can support your partner on is determined by the median wage. Those being paid below the median wage means you can only support your partner on a visitor visa. Those earning the median wage can support their partners on a work visa with conditions. Those earning twice the median wage can support.