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Skilled Migrant and Essential Skills policy details announced

Detailed information about changes to the Skilled Migrant and Essential Skills policies is now available.

The Government recently announced changes to the Skilled Migrant and Essential Skills policies, aimed at striking the right balance between ensuring New Zealanders are at the front of the queue for jobs while preserving access to the temporary migrant skills necessary for New Zealand’s continued economic growth.

The Skilled Migrant category allows for the grant of a resident visa to people with the skills and experience to contribute to New Zealand’s economic growth.

Changes to this category include:

  • the introduction of remuneration thresholds as an additional means of defining skilled employment
  • the requirement for previous work experience to be skilled, with more points available for skilled work experience
  • an increase in points for age between 30 and 39
  • an increase in points for level 9 and 10 post graduate qualifications
  • points for employment, work experience and qualifications in identified future growth areas, qualifications in areas of absolute skills shortage and close family in New Zealand will be removed.

The Essential Skills category is a temporary work visa category designed to allow employers to recruit overseas workers where shortages mean that no suitable New Zealanders are available or trainable. Changes to this category aim to manage the settlement expectations of overseas workers by:

  • introducing skill bands based on remuneration and ANZSCO skill level
  • aligning visa conditions with the skill band assessed
  • introducing a maximum amount of time visa holders can work in lower-skilled employment
  • requiring partners and dependent children of Essential Skills visa holders in lower-skilled employment to apply for visas in their own right, rather than on the basis of their relationship to a work visa holder.

Changes that extend the period of accreditation under the Accredited Employer policy have also been announced.

Read about changes to the Accredited Employer policy

Detailed information about the Skilled Migrant and Essential Skills changes is now available below, including immigration instructions and frequently asked questions.