Updating pay rates for Essential Skills visas

The pay rate and thresholds for Essential Skills Work Visas are updated each year.

How we calculate pay rates and thresholds

Pay rates and thresholds are based on the annual New Zealand Labour Market Statistics (Income) information released in September or October each year.

Labour Market Statistics (Income) | Stats New Zealand

If you are applying for an Essential Skills visa, we determine the conditions of your visa based on if you will be paid below, or at or above the NZ median wage, which is currently NZD $27 an hour. 

How pay rates affect Essential Skills work visas

We use a separate minimum income threshold, currently NZD $43,322.76 a year, to decide if you can support visitor or student visas for dependent children.

When we update the pay rates and thresholds

We update the thresholds annually.

The New Zealand minimum wage is reviewed each year, usually in April.

We send out an Amendment Circular before the updated thresholds take effect.

Amendment Circulars

Updated thresholds do not affect current visas

Your visa conditions state that you must be paid above the pay rate that was in place when your visa was granted.


Your pay rate does not need to increase each year when the pay rate threshold is updated, even if your visa is for more than 1 year.  

Current and previous pay rate thresholds

If you applied on or after 27 July 2020, we use your pay rate to determine how long you can stay on your visa. If you applied before 27 July 2020, we used a combination of your pay rate and your ANZSCO skill level to determine the length of your visa.

How long you can stay on an Essential Skills work visa