How pay rates affect Essential Skills work visas

If you are applying for an Essential Skills Work Visa, the requirements and conditions of your visa will depend on the job you have been offered and if you will be paid below the NZ median wage, or the NZ median wage or above.

How your pay rate affects your visa

Whether you are paid below the median wage or the median wage or above will determine:

The current NZ median wage

As of 19 July 2021 the New Zealand median wage is NZD $27 an hour. We update the median wage every year.

Updating essential skills pay rate thresholds

If you earn a salary, we calculate what your hourly rate is based on the hours you are contracted to work.

How we calculate your Essential Skills pay rate

If you earn the NZ median wage or above

If you applied for your visa on or after 27 July 2020 for work paying the median wage or above, you can support:

The maximum duration of your visa is 3 years.

Bringing family if you have a work visa

How long you can stay on an Essential Skills Work Visa

If you earn below the NZ median wage

If you applied for your visa on or after 27 July 2020 for work paying below the median wage, you can support:

If you are granted a visa on or from 19 July 2021, the maximum duration of your visa will be 2 years.

If you work for an accredited labour hire company you may get a visa for up to 3 years (unless you are subject to the stand-down period).

Bringing family if you have a work visa

How long you can stay on an Essential Skills Work Visa

Accredited labour hire companies

If you want to improve your skills

You can improve your skills as long as you still meet your visa conditions. You cannot change your job or occupation if your conditions only allow you to work in a specific job or occupation.

Check your visa conditions

While you hold your work visa you can do any training your employer needs you to do as part of your employment. You can do this training without changing your visa conditions.

You can also do more skilled tasks during your normal employment, as long as your employment still mostly matches the ANZSCO occupation you were granted your visa for.

If you start doing so many higher-skilled tasks that your occupation more closely matches a different ANZSCO occupation, you must apply for a variation of conditions to your current visa or for a new visa.

Varying the conditions of a work visa