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Understanding the business impact of the new median wage in immigration policies

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Here are some important updates on median wage announcements and their potential impact on your business, particularly concerning the hiring and retention of visa holders. 

Effective February 28, 2024, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has officially adopted a new median wage rate of $31.61, based on StatsNZ median wage. This adjustment will influence specific immigration policies, prompting the need for careful consideration to navigate its implications on your business operations.

To streamline this information, here is a breakdown of which visas will be affected and which will remain unchanged:

Unaffected work visas

The threshold of NZ$29.66 will persist for the following Work Visas, allowing the government time to review wage threolds as indicators of skill level and to reset policies 

  • Accredited Employer Work Visa
  • AEWV-linked visas (e.g., Partner of Worker Work Visa, subsequent Migrant Exploitation Protection Visa, some variation of conditions). 

It's essential to note that current median wage exemptions for roles covered by sector agreements will continue.

Residence visas affected

From February 28, 2024, the wage thresholds for the following visa categories will align with the new StatsNZ median wage of NZ$31.61:

  • Skilled Migrant Category
  • Green List Straight to Residence
  • Green List Work to Residence (WtR)
  • Transport Sector Work to Residence (excluding bus drivers)
  • Parent Category Residence

How this may impact your staff:

  • The rate required for accruing work experience over the 2-year WtR pathway may differ from the rate at the time of application.
  • Certain occupations will necessitate a higher wage threshold indexed to the median wage for residence qualification.
  • If you plan to support individuals on residency who do not currently meet the thresholds, there is a limited window to increase wages before higher rates are required from February 28, 2024.

For instance, if you have Heavy Machine Operators looking to start their WtR pathway, the current requirement is NZ$34.11. Increasing wages to this amount now allows them to commence their 2-year pathway. Waiting until after March 28, 2024, will result in an increased wage requirement of $36.35.


We understand that these changes involve specific details. Please feel free to reach out to us for assistance in understanding the required wages for different roles and visa types. We are here to provide the clarity you need.

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