NEW ZEALAND: Immigration Policy and Process Updates

December 15, 2022

On 5 December 2022, Immigration New Zealand released a new policy on the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) and an updated policy on the Essential Skills Work Visa (ESWV) allowing these visa types to be varied. The variation process enables holders of these visas to update certain conditions on their visas without having to apply for a new work visa application.

The new policy on AEWV will allow its holders to update their employer, occupation, and location information by way of submitting a Job Change application. Varying AEWVs can only be allowed if the holders are going to work for an accredited employer. Those who are earning below the median wage can only be approved for occupations that have exemptions.

ESWV updated policy mentions that the visa can only be varied if the employer conducts a new labor market test, unless certain exemptions apply. Variations can now be granted even if the ESWV holder is paid below the median wage and if the holder will need to update their employer, occupation, and location conditions. Previously, varying ESWV was not allowed for holders being paid below the median wage. Additional requirements should be met before they can update their occupation or location.


Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) online application submission

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will now accept Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) applications to be lodged online. This means applicants will be able to submit copies of supporting evidence through this new online system. Previously, SMC applications were filed manually with the authorities and applicants required to submit certified and original supporting evidence as part of their application.


Partners of Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV)

It has been announced recently that partners of AEWV holders will no longer be able to work in New Zealand unless certain exemptions apply. This was supposed to take effect as of December of this year. The authorities have now confirmed that these changes will be delayed to April 2023.


Accreditation Extension and Postponement of Expansion

An automatic extension is granted for 12 months for employer accreditations filed on or before 4 July 2023. Further, the proposed accreditation system expansion that will cover all migrants has now been postponed to 2024 due to the authorities’ re-assessment of priorities.


New Streamlined Pathway for Critical Purpose Visitor Visa Holders

Long term critical workers holding Critical Purpose Visitor visas will now have an option to apply for a streamlined Specific Purpose visa that will enable them to remain in their current role and continuously work for up to three years.


Green List

Registered nurses, midwives and specialist doctors will now be in the category of Straight to Residence Green List as of 15 December 2022. Registered auditors will move to this category as well starting March 2023.

Additional occupations are expected to be added on the category of Work to Residence Green List starting March 2023 and specific information on the roles can be found here. The list is set to be reviewed again in mid-2023.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Newland Chase dedicated contact or submit an inquiry here should you have any specific questions regarding this announcement.

This immigration update is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal or scenario-specific advice. Furthermore, it is important to note that immigration announcements are subject to sudden and unexpected changes. Readers are encouraged to reach out to Newland Chase for any case- or company-specific assessments.