News centre

Pathway to residence maintained for eligible migrant workers Friday, 25 September 2020

The Government is making changes to allow some Work to Residence (WTR) visa holders to maintain their pathway to residence.

Residence visa applicants who hold the following work to residence (WTR) temporary visas may benefit:

  • Talent (Accredited Employer)
  • Talent (Arts, Culture, Sports)
  • Long Term Skills Shortage List
  • South Island Contribution

From Monday 28 September 2020 the changes will allow:

  • a subsequent WTR visa to be granted where the applicant is older than 55 years (the current limit)
  • a subsequent WTR (Accredited Employer) Visa to be granted where the applicant’s employer is no longer accredited
  • South Island Contribution work visa holders to vary the industry or region specified on their visa to another industry or region in the South Island if they have lost their employment.

Talent-Accredited Employer Visa holders

Currently the Talent – Accredited Employer category allows applicants with an offer of employment from an accredited employer to be granted a WTR visa if the job is paid above the minimum salary threshold. Some employers however have not renewed accreditation.

A subsequent WTR visa may now be granted to affected applicants. The applicant must continue to work for the same employer for at least the same minimum base salary on which their residence application is based.  

South Island Contribution (SIC) visa holders

The SIC visa was available to migrants who have been employed for five years or more in the South Island while holding an Essential Skills work visa. They needed to be employed in the same industry and region listed on their visa to be eligible for residence.

SIC visa holders who have found new employment due to COVID-19 can now apply for a variation of conditions to change to another industry or region in the South Island (but not both) and maintain their pathway to residence.