Library of law in New Zealand

On 7 July 2020, the Government of New Zealand has made three key changes to NZ Temporary Work Visas. These changes are short-term and because of the impact that the coronavirus pandemic constantly having on businesses and holders of temporary work visas in New Zealand.

These changes will provide immigrants about their work situation with more certainty and also allow employers to keep employing the existing holders of work visas without taking off the opportunities from citizens of New Zealand.

What are the three key changes to New Zealand Temporary Work Visas in 2020?

1. The extensions of employer-assisted temporary work visas for up to 6 month

If you are a holder of an employer-assisted temporary work visa set to expire before 31 December 2020, it will be extended for up to 6 months. It includes:

  • Visas that are set to expire after 9 July 2020
  • Visas that were already extended to 25 September under the notice of Epidemic Management

The employer-assisted temporary work visa includes:

  • Work to Residence
  • Essential Skills
  • Special and Skilled work visas for states like China, Indonesia, South Korea, Philippines, and Vietnam
  • Special work visas for Japanese Interpreters and Thai Chefs
  • Work visas that are given under section 61 of the Immigration Act 2009 that determine an employer

Note that all other visa conditions will remain the same, including your job terms and location. You will receive an email confirming your visa extension from Immigration New Zealand on Tuesday, 14 July.

2. For lower-paid workers, delay to the 12-month stand-down period

In case you are employed in a lower-paid position where you must stand down during August 2020 and 31 December 2020. According to your visa extension, you will be allowed to remain in New Zealand and work in the same occupation, employer, and location for six months more. Also, if you apply for another lower-paid Essential skill work visa to work for another employer or update location in a lower-paid role, the stand-down period will still be applicable.

3. Lower-Essential Skills work visas reduced to six months

The length of new lower-Essential Skills work visas will be reduced from 12 months to six months, and this change will influence all the applications of the lower-Essential Skills work visa submitted from 10 July 2020. So, the applications approved prior to 10 July will be assigned a 12 months visa.

Which visas will not be extended?

If you have assisted a partner or dependent child, and if they have a visa based on their relationship with you, the visa expiry date of their visa will not be extended. They need to apply for a new visa.

Some Future Changes You Should Know

From 27 July 2020, a modest wage threshold will be used to find out whether a job is higher-paid or lower-paid. Your visa length will also depend on whether you are paid above the national median wage or below. If you apply for a work visa for employment and your pay is below the national median wage, your employer will need to comprise a Skills Match Report (SRM) from the MSD (Ministry of Social Development).

Read our previous article Suspension of the U.S. Work Visa in 2020.