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Immigration policy undergoes significant overhaul: Impact on Kiwi businesses and visa holders

The New Zealand government has announced sweeping changes to immigration policy, effective immediately, with implications set to affect numerous businesses and their visa holding staff across the country.

Changes to the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) Scheme

The revisions to the AEWV scheme include:

  • Shortened visa lengths and maximum stays: AEWV applicants in ANZSCO level 4 or 5 occupations will now receive shorter visas, with a maximum length reduced to three years (2+1). The entitlement to apply for the balance of the five-year AEWV has been discontinued.
  • Requirements for new applicants: New AEWV applicants must demonstrate either three years or more of work experience or hold an NZQA assessed qualification at Level 4 or above. Alternatively, they must earn double the median income, be on the Green List, or be eligible for the Work to Residence pathway.
  • English language requirements: Applicants in ANZSCO skill levels 4 and 5 must meet English language requirements with an IELTS score of 4 or a PTE score of 29, unless exempt from the test.
  • Changes for employers: Employers recruiting for ANZSCO skill levels 4 and 5 occupations are now required to advertise positions for 21 days and liaise with Work and Income.

Changes to Residency Pathways

  • Nine occupations have been added to the Green List, but other planned additions will not progress.
  • The Work to Residence pathway for Bus and Truck Drivers is now closed to individuals not already working in a qualifying role.
  • Migrant high school leavers awaiting the outcome of a family residence application will soon be granted work rights, effective around the middle of this year.

No Franchisee Accreditation

  • The Franchisee Accreditation category will be disestablished, with franchise businesses instead applying through standard, high-volume, or triangular employment accreditation.

These changes are expected to significantly impact operations and staff for numerous businesses across New Zealand.

For inquiries or assistance navigating these changes, please contact the team at VisaAide.

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