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New Zealand Introduces New Work Visa Rules

The job market in New Zealand is experiencing significant changes due to the government’s new immigration regulations. These reforms impact the duration of stay for foreign workers based on several factors, including salary, job classification, and the timing of their visa application.

Visa Duration and Stay

The new rules primarily affect the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) program, which allows employers to sponsor overseas workers for specific roles. Previously, most AEWVs allowed a maximum stay of five years. However, the new regulations introduce a tiered system based on the ANZSCO skill level of the job.

ANZSCO Level 4 & 5 Jobs:

  • Maximum visa length is reduced to 2 years, with the possibility of extending for an additional year through a new Job Check application.
  • The total maximum continuous stay on AEWVs is capped at 3 years. After 3 years, you must leave New Zealand for a period (usually 12 months) before applying for another AEWV.

Maximum Continuous Stay Restrictions

The total period workers can stay in New Zealand on one or more AEWVs, known as the maximum continuous stay, is limited to three years. After reaching this period, workers must leave New Zealand for at least 12 months before applying for another AEWV. These changes apply to those who applied for their first AEWV on or after April 7, 2024, or before June 21, 2023.

Who’s Exempt?

Several categories of ANZSCO level 4 & 5 jobs are exempt from the shortened visa lengths:

  • Roles on the New Zealand Green List (in-demand occupations)
  • Positions covered by transport and care sector agreements
  • Jobs where you earn 1.5 times the median wage
  • Individuals already on a pathway to residence (e.g., Skilled Migrant Category)

Lower Skill Levels

The new regulations do not affect the visa lengths for ANZSCO level 1 to 3 jobs. These visas will continue to offer a maximum stay of five years, with the same requirement to leave New Zealand for a period after reaching the maximum continuous stay limit.

Before applying for an AEWV, it’s crucial to understand the specific visa length and maximum continuous stay associated with your designated ANZSCO level. Immigration New Zealand provides a tool to check the ANZSCO skill level of your occupation.

 

Key Points

  • New Zealand has introduced stricter visa lengths for some ANZSCO level 4 & 5 jobs under the AEWV program.
  • The maximum visa length for these jobs is now 2 years, with a potential 1-year extension.
  • The total time you can stay in New Zealand on AEWVs is capped at 3 years.
  • Several exemptions exist, including Green List occupations and high-paying roles.
  • Visa lengths for ANZSCO level 1 to 3 jobs remain unchanged at 5 years.

By understanding these changes, you can make informed decisions about working in New Zealand and plan your immigration journey accordingly.

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