Recent Immigration Changes & Updates September 2023

Recent immigration changes and updates

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There have been numerous updates and changes made by Immigration NZ this past week. Here’s a roundup to keep you up to date.

17 roles added to the Green List

17 new roles will be added to the Green List from March 2024, after a review by MBIE (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment). More information on the specific requirements for each role and the residence pathways available will be announced nearer the time.

These are the roles that are being added:

  • Aviation Engineer (Avionics, Aeronautical, Aerospace Engineer)
  • Naval Architects (aka Marine Designer)
  • Mechanical Engineering Technician
  • ICT Database and System Administrator
  • Aircraft Maintenance Engineer
  • Road Roller Operator
  • Paving Plant Operator
  • Corrections Officer
  • Metal Fabricator
  • Pressure Welder
  • Welder
  • Fitter (General)
  • Fitter and Turner
  • Fitter-Welder
  • Metal Machinist (First Class)
  • Panel Beater
  • Vehicle Painter

New roles added to the Construction and Infrastructure Sector Agreement

The following roles will be added to the Sector Agreement early next year – more information is expected nearer the time:

  • Driller’s Assistant (821912) 
  • Earthmoving Labourer (821113) 
  • Earthmoving Plant Operator (General) (721211) 
  • Linemarker (721912) 
  • Machine Operators n.e.c (711999) 
  • Mechanic’s Assistant (899916)  
  • Road Traffic Controller (899923)

Increase to the RSE (Recognised Seasonal Employer) Scheme cap

The cap on the number of RSE scheme visas has been increased by 500, meaning that 19,500 visas are available for the 2023/24 season. The increase has come around as a result of industry requests for access to more workers, while still balancing the effects on the NZ labour market.

The RSE scheme allows workers from participating Pacific countries to be employed in the NZ horticulture and viticulture sections where there is a shortage of local workers.

Applications for Work to Residence pathways open

The Green List and Sector Agreement Work to Residence pathways will open to applications for existing occupations on those lists from 29 September 2023.

Individuals with two years of eligible work experience in a role covered by the Green List Work to Residence or a role specified in an eligible Sector Agreement can seek permanent residence status provided they satisfy additional criteria pertaining to age, health, moral character, and proficiency in the English language.

Cyclone Gabrielle Recover Visa closed to new applicants

Applications for the Recovery Visa closed on 23 September 2023. From this date, existing visa holders already in New Zealand will be able to apply for a 3-month extension to their visa, to give them time to transition to longer-term work visas if necessary, via the Accredited Employers Work Visa.

Immigration NZ will contact workers as their visas approach expiry to inform them of their options.

Changes to work rights for Student Visa holders

There are a number of changes to in-study work rights for students from 9 October 2023. This is as a result of the new criteria for the Skilled Migrant Category Visa coming into effect.

Read more about the changes.

Median wage increase in February 2024

Immigration NZ has announced that the median wage will increase by 6.6%, from $29.66 to $31.61 in February 2024. Read our article on how to get your organisation ready for this median wage increase.

AEWV compliance issues and changes

Read our article on changes specific to the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV).

Contact us for personalised advice

Our team of immigration consultants is here to help you – please contact us for personalised advice for your organisation. Call us on 0800 4 VISAS (0800 484 727) or email

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