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Immigration Settings Updates

· Judicial warrant process for out-of-hours compliance visits

· 2023/24 Recognised Seasonal Employer cap increased by 500

· Additional roles for Construction and Infrastructure Sector Agreement

· More roles added to Green List

· Three-month extension for onshore Recovery Visa holders

The Government has confirmed a number of updates to immigration settings as part of the rebalance.

“Our immigration system is complex, and must continually evolve to underwrite the economic recovery, support businesses to fill gaps, and grow strong communities,” Immigration Minister Andrew Little said.

Out of hours compliance visits legislative change recommendation response

Mike Heron KC’s independent review into out of hours immigration visits made five recommendations.

Four of the recommendations were for MBIE, have been accepted by the department, and are being implemented.

The final recommendation was for the Government ‘to consider amending the Immigration Act 2009 to specify criteria for out of hours compliance visits by Immigration New Zealand compliance officers and consider whether those involving residential addresses be stopped entirely, or made subject to judicial search warrant, or otherwise limited to specific situations, such as those involving public safety or matters of national security’.

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“The government is committed to continuing to right the wrongs of the past, and honouring the historic Dawn Raids Apology to Pacific people with action,” Andrew Little said.

“Cabinet has agreed to a policy that the Act be amended to require a judicial warrant to be sought for out-of-hours compliance activity.

“Requiring a judicial warrant will ensure powers are not used disproportionately and there is a legal, third-party check and balance. It will mean this aspect of immigration compliance activity aligns with the intent of the 2021 Dawn Raids apology.”

RSE cap

The Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme cap will increase by 500, to allow up to up to 19,500 workers to be employed for the 2023/24 season.

“Our horticulture and viticulture sectors asked for a moderate increase to the RSE cap for the year ahead. The increase strikes the right balance between giving New Zealanders first access to jobs, the availability of suitable accommodation, and the importance of remittances and access for our Pacific Island neighbours,” Andrew Little said.

Work continues on the RSE policy review which has focused on prioritising workers’ wellbeing and the long-term sustainability of the scheme.

Additional roles for Construction and Infrastructure Sector Agreement

The Construction and Infrastructure Sector Agreement enables employers to recruit migrants for roles on the sector agreement at a lower wage threshold (currently $26.69 per hour) than under the Accredited Employer Work Visa (which has a current wage threshold of $29.66).

“Cabinet has agreed to add seven roles to the agreement next year to continue the government’s delivery of new houses and infrastructure,” Andrew Little said.

More roles added to Green List

Following the latest review, Cabinet has agreed to add 17 roles to the Green List.

“From next year the ICT, automotive and engineering sectors will have the option of Green List visas when they need to fill specialist skilled role when a New Zealand worker cannot be found,” Andrew Little said.

Recovery visa

Existing onshore Recovery Visa holders can now apply for a three-month extension in which to transition to longer term work visas, and the category has now closed to new applications.

“The Recovery Visa was an immediate response to the Auckland floods and Cyclone Gabrielle. Our focus is now on building a longer-term workforce to support the recovery ongoing recovery and be ready to respond to future extreme weather events,” Andrew Little said.

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