NZ nearing completion on new temporary work visa process

The New Zealand Government has announced it is making progress on plans for a new temporary work visa process.

The new program will assist around 25-30,000 businesses get the workers they need to fill skills shortages. Currently there are over 54,000 workers on the main employer assisted work visa – the essential skills visa.

“We are committed to ensuring that businesses are able to get the workers they need to fill critical skills shortages, while encouraging employers and regions to work together on long term workforce planning including supporting New Zealanders with the training they need to fill the gaps,” said Minister of Immigration, Iain Lees-Galloway.

“The new temporary work visa process is more streamlined and less complex, replacing six visa categories with one temporary work visa and it ensures there is an employer check, a job check and a worker check.”

Changes to the employer-assisted temporary work visa system include:

– Introducing a new employer-led visa framework that will drive the application process.

– Negotiating and introducing sector agreements ensuring there is more planning for future workforce needs.

– Reinstating the ability for lower-paid workers to bring their families to New Zealand.

– Replacing existing skills bands with a simple remuneration threshold aligned to the median wage.

– Strengthening the labour market test for lower-paid workers and removing it altogether for higher-paid jobs outside the main centres.

“The new framework will require all employers to be accredited and will give employers more certainty about their ability to hire a foreign worker earlier in the application process,” Lees-Galloway says. “It will also provide the foreign worker with more assurance about the employer they are coming to work for and the job they are coming to do.”

The Minister also explained that the new program will also place added emphasis on encouraging migrants to move to regional areas.

“A regional approach to the labour market test will ensure that foreign workers are able to be recruited for genuine skill shortages in regions with lower numbers of New Zealanders available for work, while ensuring that the labour market is tested regularly in areas with higher availability of New Zealanders,” he said.

“Together, these changes represent a significant shift in the way our temporary work visa system operates. It will make the process of hiring a foreign worker easier and more straightforward. It will also provide more certainty for employers due to upfront checks, while also increasing expectations on employers to train and employ more New Zealanders.”

Article published 17th September 2019