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As part of our service at Harris Tate, we produce a range of legal articles that are published in various media, designed to alert our clients to legal developments that may affect them.

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Immigration policy changes

27 September 2019

Immigration policy changes – mandatory employer accreditation.

With the most recent immigration policy shakeup, the six most commonly utilized work visa categories will be affected. This will mean all employers wanting to recruit foreign workers must become accredited under one of the three new categories. There will also be four new ‘job gateways’ introduced through which the employer can recruit.

This is a no nonsense policy designed to attempt to place more New Zealanders into jobs and to reduce migrant exploitation.

For those employers waiting until the proposals come into force, the upshot is likely to be delayed processing times due to the high volume of anticipated applications and overseas workers unable to lawfully work in New Zealand.
This month the Government released further specifics in regard to changes to the current employer accreditation scheme and the Talent (Accredited Employer) Work to Residence Visa (TAE WTR visa).
These changes are as set out below and take effect from 7 October 2019:

  • The minimum salary threshold for a TAE WTR visa will increase from NZD$55,000.00 p.a. to NZD$79,560.00 p.a.;

  • There will no longer be an option to obtain a Permanent Resident Visa when applying for a Talent Accredited Employer Resident Visa; and

  • Employer accreditation will be granted for a 24 month period only before a renewal application is required.

It has been confirmed that compulsory employer accreditation scheme will be designed over the next 18 months and will take effect from 2021. Specific details as to how currently accredited employers will transition to the new accreditation scheme are therefore yet to be released.

Things to note

  • Migrants already holding TAE WTR visas or who have applied prior to 7 October 2019 will not be affected by the increase in remuneration threshold;

  • Migrants applying for a TAE WTR from 7 October 2019 will be required to have a salary of at least $79,560.00 p.a.

  • Employers wishing to apply for accreditation now should make sure they can pay migrant employees at least NZD$79,560.00 as the processing timeframe for an accreditation application is currently three months.

  • Employers should apply for accreditation now to avoid a backlog in accreditation applications and potential delays in current or potential employees being able to obtain work visas.

  • Migrants with visas expiring mid to late 2020 should apply for new visas as soon as possible to avoid likely delay in visa processing.

Please feel free to contact our immigration team if you require assistance with compulsory employer accreditation or any other immigration related matter.

By Michelle Carabine