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New median wage to apply from February 2023 10 October 2022

The new median wage of NZD $29.66 an hour will be adopted into the immigration system on 27 February 2023.

All wage thresholds indexed to the median wage will also be updated. This includes the Accredited Employer Visa (AEWV), occupations covered by sector agreements, and residence visa categories.  

For the AEWV, migrants must meet the wage threshold in force at the time they apply for their visa. This means that if the wage threshold increases between the job check being approved and the migrant applying for the visa, the migrant may need to meet a higher wage threshold than was approved in the job check pay range.

For example, an employer is granted a job check on 1 November 2022 based on the current median wage of $27.76.

  • If the migrant worker they offer employment to applies for an Accredited Employer work visa before 27 February 2023, the worker must be paid at least the median of $27.76. This is because $27.76 will be the median wage in the immigration system at time of application.
  • If the migrant worker they offer employment to applies for an Accredited Employer work visa on or after 27 February 2023, the worker must be paid at least the new median of $29.66.

Residence visa categories and pathways with median wage-related criteria will also be updated. This includes the Green List and Highly Paid pathways, the Skilled Migrant Category and the Parent Category.

Previously, wage thresholds were updated regularly, but not always at the same time each year.

From 2023, there will be a standard process where the median wage is adopted in immigration instructions in February. This will be based on the June rate published by Stats NZ the previous year. 

This timing means people will have plenty of advanced notice of the changes. The median wage calculator tool will also be updated well in advance.

Tourism and hospitality median wage exception

Many tourism and hospitality roles have also been provided an exemption to the median wage threshold under the AEWV, with a lower wage threshold of $25 an hour until April 2023.

This is a temporary exception that recognises these sectors have been hit hard by Covid-19.

The Government is continuing to support the industry and has decided to transition away from the exemption to the median wage threshold in two stages.

  • In April 2023 the median wage exception will increase from $25 to $28.18, or 95% of the new median wage.
  • In April 2024 the exception will end, and these roles will be required to be paid 100% of the median wage.