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New Zealand Government announces three new skilled residence pathways

New Zealand

immigration, new zealand, New Zealand visa, skilled migrants, work to residence,

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‘Straight to residence’, ‘Work to residence’, and ‘Highly Paid’ categories will give migrants a higher chance to work, live, and gain residency in New Zealand.

Following the Immigration Rebalance announcement in May 2022, the New Zealand Government has announced details of three new residence categories that will make it easier for employers to hire and attract migrants for specified high-skilled, hard-to-fill occupations, including those from the respective Green List. 

There will be three new residence pathways, Straight to residence, Work to residence, and Highly paid. The Straight to Residence pathway will be ready for people to apply for from 5 September 2022. The Work to Residence and Highly Paid pathways require people to have worked for 24 months and will be available for people to apply from 29 September 2023.

The Straight to Residence and Work to Residence relate to the respective Green List occupations, which allow employers to complete a Job Check for the Accredited Employer Work Visa without proof of advertising as long as the minimum requirements for the role at least match the minimum requirements. At the same time, the new Highly Paid resident visa is for those earning twice the median wage.

The implementation of the Government’s immigration rebalances is progressing well, with details released today on how highly skilled migrants, including those with roles on the Green List, can apply to gain residence once they have arrived in New Zealand.

These new visas are not the only pathway to skilled residence. They are intended to complement the Skilled Migrant Category with the same health, age and character requirements but a different, more straightforward application process.

“The Government is focused on helping to address shortages in highly skilled areas and speeding up our economic growth. Key to this is having clear pathways migrants can use to gain residency,” Minister of Immigration, Transport, and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood says.

“The Green List covers areas where New Zealand has a skills shortage. These pathways will incentivise and attract high skilled migrants to New Zealand by providing a new streamlined process to achieve residency for those globally hard-to-fill roles. This is the latest step in delivering a rebalanced immigration system that is simple, has reduced categories, and has more online accessibility.

“The Government is rebalancing the immigration system to support its plan for a higher-productivity, higher wage economy, and these pathways make it easier for employers to hire and attract migrants for specified high-skilled, hard-to-fill, and high-paying occupations.

“The new Straight to Residence and Work to Residence pathways are available for specified occupations on the Green List,” says Michael Wood.

“People are working in Work to Residence or Highly Paid occupations can count their two years from 29 September 2021. They will also need to be on an Accredited Employer Work Visa. However, provisions have been made for people who have already started working in these roles on other work visas before 4 July.

“Many skilled migrants in New Zealand will already be eligible for the 2021 Resident Visa, but we are backdating when work in New Zealand can be counted to ensure that the small number of people who aren’t eligible for the 2021 Resident Visa can still have some work in New Zealand recognised for the new Work to Residence and Highly Paid pathways.

“These new pathways help provide more certainty and a streamlined path for those we want to attract. These are not the only pathway to skilled residence; they are intended to complement the Skilled Migrant Category. We are reviewing the category to identify which other skills New Zealand wants to attract and retain. Details about the new settings and when the category will reopen will be announced in the coming months,” says Michael Wood.

More information about the three new pathways will be available on the Immigration New Zealand website here: New residence categories announced | Immigration New Zealand 

Eligibility Criteria

The new pathways will have the same health, age, and character requirements as the Skilled Migrant Category. Still, they will have a different application process and be more straightforward to apply for, with much faster decision times. Immigration New Zealand expects to complete most applications within six weeks once complete information has been provided.

To be eligible for these pathways, people must meet the following requirements:

  • are aged 55 or younger at the time the resident visa application is made (aligned to the Skilled Migrant Category age limit);
  • principal applicants and partners need to meet the English language requirements set out in the Skilled Migrant Category at the time the resident visa application is made;
  • meet standard health and character requirements for residence
  • the employer must be accredited at the time the resident visa is applied for
  • a person holding an Accredited Employer Work Visa in an eligible occupation will still need to meet the health and character requirements (for them and their family) for residence, which differ from the requirements for temporary work visas.

Straight to Residence and Work to Residence Pathways

  • The main requirement for both Green List pathways is to have a job in, or job offer for, one of the Green List occupations and meet the specified conditions on the list for the said occupation.
  • The employment or offer must also be full-time (at least 30 hours per week), genuine, and permanent or for at least a 12-month fixed-term contract.
  • The Straight Residence visa provides a straight-to-residence pathway. Eligible migrants in these occupations can come to New Zealand on a work visa from 4 July and apply for residence from 5 September 2022. From 5 September 2022, residents can also be used directly from offshore.
  • Contractors are eligible for the Green List Straight to Residence pathway, provided applicants meet some additional criteria.
  • The Work to Residence visa differs as the applicant must also demonstrate they have at least 24 months of acceptable work in New Zealand. Acceptable work means working in an occupation on the Green List and meeting the specified requirements for that occupation for 24 months. This work in New Zealand can only be claimed on or after 29 September 2021. Work must be on an AEWV unless the person had commenced work on another visa before 4 July 2022.

Highly Paid Resident Pathways

  • The Highly Paid resident pathway was created to provide a way to residence for people who were paid at least two times the median wage (currently $55.52 per hour) over 24 months while working in New Zealand.
  • Similar to the Work to Residence work experience requirements, the principal applicant must demonstrate they have at least 24 months of acceptable work in New Zealand. Acceptable work means earning at or above two times the median wage for at least 24 months.
  • This work in New Zealand can only be claimed on or after 29 September 2021. This aligns with the 2021 Resident Visa and ensures that the few people who do not qualify for this can still have some work in New Zealand recognised.
  • The two times median wage amount will be updated annually in February based on the June quarter median hourly earnings from wages and salaries published by Statistics New Zealand.

The application fee and levy will be between $4,020 and $4,890 depending on whether the applicant is applying from within New Zealand or another part of the world. This fee is aligned with the price for the Skilled Migrant Category.

Source: New Zealand Government

Source: © 2022 Immigration New Zealand

 

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