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Wage rate requirements for visas

Check if you meet the median wage requirement, wage rate requirement, or 'wage threshold' to qualify for a visa.

What is a wage threshold

Wage thresholds are rates we use to calculate entitlement to some visas. The wage threshold is the lowest amount you can be paid to be granted the visa, unless your role has an exemption.

We use wage thresholds as an indicator of the skill level of the job. The rates are updated regularly.

If the threshold for your visa increases you will not need to meet the new rate unless you want to apply for a new visa and you need to:

For information about how this works see:
New Zealand skilled residence pathways

Median wage rate

Some wage thresholds in the immigration system are indexed to the New Zealand median wage.

When the median wage increases, the wage threshold for the visa will increase.

We update the median wage threshold by using the June median wage from the previous year published by Stats NZ.

Labour market statistics (income): June 2023 quarter — Stats NZ

All wage rates shown on here are hourly rates and are in New Zealand dollars.

Use the median wage calculator to work out your hourly wage rate:
Median wage comparison calculator

Table 1: Median wage rates for current and previous years
Date range Median wage (in NZD)
From 28 February 2024 $31.61
27 February 2023 to 27 February 2024 $29.66
4 July 2022 to 26 February 2023 $27.76
29 September 2021 to 3 July 2022 $27.00

 

Other wage thresholds

Some wage thresholds are based on or indexed to:

Pay thresholds for the different visa types

Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV)

AEWV jobs must pay at least NZD$29.66 an hour if the visa was granted after 27 February 2023, unless an exemption applies through a sector agreement. There is currently also a time-limited exemption for some tourism and hospitality roles.

This threshold is based on the median wage published by Stats NZ in June 2022.
Labour market statistics (income): June 2022 quarter — Stats NZ

If a job pays at least twice the February 2023 median wage, the employer does not need to advertise the job as part of their Job Check.

We approve a pay range at the Job Check stage, which must be at or above the pay threshold. The actual pay rate on the visa is determined at the visa application stage.

How we calculate pay rates for the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV)

AEWV sector agreements

Some industries have an agreement, known as a 'sector agreement', that allows them to pay below the AEWV wage threshold when hiring a worker on an AEWV. However, they must meet a wage threshold, see tables 2.1 to 2.4 for the rates for each agreement.

AEWV roles exempt from paying the February 2023 median wage
Sector agreements and hiring migrants on an AEWV

Table 2.1: Sector agreement wage rates
Sector From 27 February 2023 (in NZD)
Construction and infrastructure (90% of February 2023 median wage) $26.69
Meat processing (86% of February 2023 median wage) $25.51
Seafood (onshore) (86% of February 2023 median wage) $25.51
Seasonal snow and adventure tourism (90% of February 2023 median wage) $26.69

Table 2.2: Care workforce sector agreement wage rates
Sector From 1 July 2022 (in NZD)
Care workforce $26.16

Table 2.3: Transport (bus drivers only) workforce sector agreement wage rates
Sector From 26 April 2023 (in NZD)
Bus drivers $28

Table 2.4: Tourism and hospitality wage rate
Sector From 24 April 2023 (in NZD)
Tourism and hospitality (95% of the February 2023 median wage) $28.18

Care Workforce Work to Residence Visa

To qualify for this visa, you need to:

  • currently be paid at least NZD$28.25 an hour (or the equivalent salary)
  • worked for 24 months in this sector, and
  • been paid at least the care workforce sector wage rate during that time.
Table 3: Care workforce sector agreement wage rates
Date range From 1 July 2022 (in NZD)
From 1 July 2022 $28.25
29 September 2021 to 30 June 2022 $27.00

Transport Work to Residence Visa

To qualify for this visa you need to have:

  • worked for 24 months in this sector, and
  • been paid at least the median wage (or the bus drivers wage rate, if applicable) during your work experience.

Transport Work to Residence Visa

Some roles were removed from the list of approved of transport sector roles on 7 April 2024.

You may still be able to count work experience gained from a removed role towards your residence visa, if on or before 6 April 2024 you:

  • started work in one of these roles
  • received an AEWV to work in one of these roles, or
  • applied for an AEWV to work in one of these roles, and were successful in your application.

Transport Work to Residence Visa work requirements and roles

Table 4: Transport Work to Residence wage rates
Sector From 28 February 2024 (in NZD)
Land and maritime transport roles (except bus drivers) $31.61
Bus drivers $28

 

Work to Residence Visa

The jobs in Table 5 are on the Green List and provide residence through the Work to Residence Visa.

Green List roles that do not have a specific pay threshold must pay at least NZD$31.61 (the current median wage).

Green List roles

Table 5: Work to Residence Visa wage rates
Sector From 28 February 2024 (in NZD)
Telecommunications technician (115% of the median wage) $36.35
Civil machinery operators (115% of the median wage) $36.35
Crane operator (130% of the median wage) $41.09
Building associate (150% of the median wage) $47.41

 

Straight to Residence Visa

The jobs in Table 6 are on the Green List and provide residence through the Straight to Residence Visa.

Green List roles that do not have a specific pay threshold must pay at least NZD$31.61 (the current median wage).

Green List roles

Table 6: Straight to Residence Visa wage rates
Sector From 28 February 2024 (in NZD)
ICT, electronics and telecommunications (208% of the median wage) $65.74
ICT, electronics and telecommunications roles based on contract for services (312% of the median wage) $98.62
Multimedia specialist (165% of the median wage) $52.15
Multimedia specialist roles based on contract for services (247% of the median wage) $78.07
External auditor (130% of the median wage) $41.09
Internal auditor (130% of the median wage) $41.09

 

Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa (SMC)

To assess skilled work for the SMC we use:

  • the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupation (ANZSCO) list, and
  • the median wage.

Check the wage rate threshold for SMC expressions of interests submitted after 9 October 2023.

Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa wage rate thresholds

Parent Resident Visa

There is a minimum earning threshold for those wanting to sponsor their parents on a Parent Resident Visa. The sponsor must earn more than the threshold for 2 out of the 3 years preceding our selection of their expression of interest.

The threshold is:

  • tied to the median wage
  • depends on how any sponsors and parents are in the application.

The Parent Resident Visa is updated in February each year.

Sponsorship for Parent Resident Visa

Partner of a Worker Work Visa

AEWV and Essential Skills Work Visa (ESWV) holders must be paid at least NZD$29.66 an hour to support their partner's application.

If your partner has an AEWV or ESWV

Your visa may have work conditions depending on how much your partner is paid and if their job is on the Green List.

If your partner earns between NZD$29.66 and NZD$59.31 an hour your work visa will have conditions. This means you can only work for an accredited employer and you must be paid at least the wage threshold for your role.

Your visa will have open work conditions if your partner:

  • earns at least NZD$59.32 an hour, or
  • works in a role on the Green List and meets the Green List requirements.

If you have open work conditions, you can work for any employer. You will not have a wage requirement.

Partner of a Worker Work Visa

Recognised Seasonal Employer Limited Visa

Jobs for the Recognised Seasonal Employer Limited Visa must pay NZD$25.47 an hour (110% of the minimum wage).

Fishing Crew Work Visa

Jobs for this visa are covered by the seafood (sea-based) sector agreement. The minimum pay rate under this sector agreement is calculated using the minimum wage.

The minimum pay rate for this visa is updated in October each year.

Fishing crew employment conditions

Table 7: Seafood (sea-based) sector agreement wage rates
Sector From 31 October 2023 (in NZD)
Seafood (sea-based) Fishing crew (minimum wage plus $5) $27.70

Essential Skills Work Visa

This visa closed to new applications on 4 July 2022.

The median wage was used to set the requirements and conditions of the Essential Skills Work Visa (ESWV).

Pay rates for existing Essential Skills Work Visas

The median wage rate for ESWV holders was paused. It does not increase in February each year.

ESWV holders must earn at least:

  • NZD$29.66 an hour to support their partner's work visa application
  • NZD$43,322.76 a year to support a student or visitor visa for their dependent children.