Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Talent work visa changes 2019

The changes to the work visa system are the most significant in over a decade. By 2021, 6 different types of work visas will be replaced with one employer-assisted work visa.

Under the changes, accreditation status will be mandatory by 2021 for all employers who are seeking to hire workers from overseas. But the systems and processes for application (and the cost) have not been created.

The announcement demonstrates that the ‘consultation’ conducted at the beginning of the year was in fact just ‘show and tell’ by the government. As usual, people who engaged in the ‘consultation’ were listened to but not heard.

The Impact for Employers:

Employers who were wise enough to obtain accreditation status under the existing programme will be transitioned into the new system in 2021. They are likely to experience an easier time of it than those who did not bother to engage with the accredited employer scheme.

Current accredited employers will be familiar with the processes and requirements that are likely to come. They will be better placed to address any new criteria than those who are trying to learn after implementation of the new system. More importantly, they will experience less disruption to the recruiting process.

A major problem I foresee is that, if all employers need to become accredited, there will be a substantial queue of applications. We have no idea how Immigration New Zealand will have the resources to deal with this. The Government is promising a ‘streamlined process’. I've been an immigration lawyer since 1996, and I can honestly say that what Immigration New Zealand considers ‘streamlined’ is very different to the interpretation of the private sector.

The new proposed accreditation status will have three types: standard, high-volume, and labour hire accreditation.

Standard accreditation is for those who intend to employ one to five expatriate workers in a 12-month period. High-volume accreditation is for those who intend to employ five or more expatriate workers. For high-volume accreditation status there will be more stringent requirements around providing training, up-skilling local staff, and increasing wages and conditions.

But it is still undecided how the new system will work. When exactly will it be implemented? How long will it take to process applications? What will it cost? What evidence will be required? And what will an employer do if they don’t know before applying exactly how many workers they need from offshore?

The initial accreditation status will last for 12 months, and on renewal 24 months. This seems somewhat ludicrous, as it overburdens an already overburdened application processing system. It would have been far better to have simply offered the initial accreditation status for a 24-month period.

The welcome news (to a degree) is that ANZSCO codes will no longer be used to determine skill level. The unwelcome news is that skill level will now be arbitrarily assessed by whether a person is above or below the median wage. This is likely to have significant adverse impact in some sectors.

In other refinements, the current skill shortage list system will be replaced by one better targeted to skill shortages pertinent to the needs of major urban centres as well as the rural sector.

Changes as of 7 October

Employers who already hold accreditation status will only be able to obtain work to residence visas for staff who are paid $79,560 and over from 7 October.

Those employers who were wise enough to on-board staff members under the current regime will be able to sleep comfortably knowing those staff will proceed through to residence under the salary/wage requirement of $55,000.

Employers who are accredited can also rest easy knowing their accreditation status will stay in place until 2021, when they will be transitioned over to the new system.

Workers who hold a work to residence visa under the current rules will also be relieved their immigration status is safe. Work to residence visa holders who had hoped they would be able to apply directly for the permanent resident visa (as opposed to the standard resident visa) will be disappointed. But at least they can still acquire a resident visa – they just need to remain in New Zealand in order to acquire the permanent resident visa.


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Binoy Kampmark: Budget Cockups In The Time Of Coronavirus: Reporting Errors And Australia’s JobKeeper Scheme

Hell has, in its raging fires, ringside seats for those who like their spreadsheets. The seating, already peopled by those from human resources, white collar criminals and accountants, becomes toastier for those who make errors with those spreadsheets. ... More>>

The Dig - COVID-19: Just Recovery

The COVID-19 crisis is compelling us to kick-start investment in a regenerative and zero-carbon future. We were bold enough to act quickly to stop the virus - can we now chart a course for a just recovery? More>>

The Conversation: Are New Zealand's New COVID-19 Laws And Powers Really A Step Towards A Police State?

Reaction to the New Zealand government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and resultant lockdown has ranged from high praise to criticism that its actions were illegal and its management chaotic. More>>

Keith Rankin: Universal Versus Targeted Assistance, A Muddled Dichotomy

The Commentariat There is a regular commentariat who appear on places such as 'The Panel' on Radio New Zealand (4pm on weekdays), and on panels on television shows such as Newshub Nation (TV3, weekends) and Q+A (TV1, Mondays). Generally, these panellists ... More>>

Jelena Gligorijevic: (Un)lawful Lockdown And Government Accountability

As the Government begins to ease the lockdown, serious questions remain about the lawfulness of these extraordinary measures. Parliament’s Epidemic Response Committee has indicated it will issue summonses for the production of legal advice about the ... More>>

Caitlin Johnstone: Do You Consent To The New Cold War?

The world's worst Putin puppet is escalating tensions with Russia even further, with the Trump administration looking at withdrawal from more nuclear treaties in the near future. In addition to planning on withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Why Thinking Makes It So: Donald Trump’s Obamagate Fixation

The “gate” suffix has been wearing thin since the break-in scandal that gave it its birth. Since Watergate, virtually anything dubious and suggestive, and much more besides, is suffixed. Which brings us to the issue of President Donald Trump’s ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Ethics (and Some Of The Economics) Of Lifting The Lockdown

As New Zealand passes the half-way mark towards moving out of Level Four lockdown, the trade-offs involved in life-after-lockdown are starting to come into view. All very well for National’s finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith to claim that “The number one priority we have is to get out of the lockdown as soon as we can”…Yet as PM Jacinda Ardern pointed out a few days ago, any crude trade-off between public health and economic well-being would be a false choice... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Brutal Choices: Anders Tegnell And Sweden’s Herd Immunity Goal

If the title of epidemiological czar were to be created, its first occupant would have to be Sweden’s Anders Tegnell. He has held sway in the face of sceptics and concern that his “herd immunity” approach to COVID-19 is a dangerous, and breathtakingly ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Trans-Tasman Bubble, And The Future Of Airlines

As the epidemiologists keep on saying, a trans-Tasman bubble will require having in place beforehand a robust form of contact tracing, of tourists and locals alike - aided by some kind of phone app along the lines of Singapore’s TraceTogether ... More>>


  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog