If you're an aspiring migrant in New Zealand, you'll want to stay informed about the recent immigration changes that have already taken place. Here's the latest:
Work to Residence Pathways Now Open
As of September 29, 2023, the Work to Residence pathways have officially opened. These pathways offer new opportunities for those seeking residence visas. The Green List and Work to Residence pathways are now available for residence visa applications.
Work to Residence Pathways Overview
Migrants with two years of eligible work experience in a Green List or Sector Agreement role in New Zealand can apply for residence if they meet the required skill and wage thresholds. They must also meet standard residence requirements, including health, character, English language proficiency, and age.
Three Visa Pathways Available
Under the Work to Residence category, there are three visa pathways available:
- Skilled Residence: Green List Work to Residence visa
- Skilled Residence: Care Workforce Work to Residence visa
- Skilled Residence: Transport Sector Work to Residence visa
All work visa holders and Critical Purpose Visitor Visa holders with work rights can claim work experience for these residence pathways.
Key Requirements for Applicants
To be eligible for a Work to Residence Visa, applicants must have two years of work experience in a relevant role, gained from September 29, 2021, and within 30 months from the date the residence application is made. Additionally, they must meet the relevant skill and wage thresholds and work for or have an offer of employment from an accredited employer.
Green List Criteria
Green List Work to Residence applicants must earn at least the hourly rate specified in the Green List for their occupation for the duration of their 24-month work experience. If there is no specified rate in the Green List for their occupation, they must earn at least the median wage. If the occupation-specific or median wage rate increases during the 24-month period, the applicant does not need to meet the new threshold until they make their residence application, unless they change employment.
Median Wage Exemption
For applicants applying under the Green List pathway who had their work or Critical Purpose Visitor Visa before September 29, 2023, they only need to be paid at least the median wage at the time they apply for residence. Please note that this exemption does not apply to Accredited Employer Work Visa holders or when there is a specific rate specified by the Green List for the occupation.
Sector Agreement Criteria
Care Workforce and Transport Sector Work to Residence applicants must meet the specified pay requirement for the entire 24-month work experience in New Zealand when they apply for residence.
- Care Workforce Work to Residence Visa: Applicants must have worked in New Zealand for 24 months in a care workforce sector role that paid the level 4 support workers' minimum wage per hour rate or more.
- Transport Sector Work to Residence Visa: Applicants must have worked in a transport sector role for 24 months and meet the role's work requirements.
New Priority Processing Order for Skilled Residence Applications
As of September 29, a new priority processing order has been put in place for skilled residence applications, including Work to Residence, Straight to Residence, and the Skilled Migrant Category.
Applications will be processed in the following order:
- People in occupations on the Tier 1 Green List
- People paid three times the median wage
- Skilled Migrant Category applicants with 6 points without work experience
Importantly, there is no cap on the number of Skilled Residence visas that can be granted. Visas will be granted to all applicants who meet the relevant immigration requirements.
Stay informed, stay prepared, and take advantage of these changes that are already in effect. Your journey to New Zealand may be closer than you think!
If you have any questions about the changes email firstname.lastname@example.org
and/or go to INZ News here: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/media-centre/news-notifications