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The Times They are a Changing!

On 19 April, changes to several visa categories were announced.These include changes to Skilled Migrant Category, Essential Skills Work Visas, a new category of visa for some people already on the South Island and a few other changes.  Most will take effect from mid-August, if the date is different, they will be identified. Here’s brief summary.

Skilled Migrant Category Residence

NB Although the following has been announced, there is no information about how many points will be awarded for the new factors, nor what the minimum threshold will be for selection. Further information is expected to be available at some point in June.

  • Minimum salary for people in occupations at ANZSCO Skill Levels 1 – 3 will be $48,859.  For people on Skill levels 4 – 5 (who are not currently eligible for residence) the minimum salary will be $73,299. For information on ANZSCO Skill Levels go to http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/1220.0Search02013,%20Version%201.2?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=1220.0&issue=2013,%20Version%201.2&num=&view
  • More points will be available for skilled work experience and this will, in part,be related to salary.
  • More points will be available for Masters degrees and Doctorates.
  • More points will be available for people in the 30 – 39 age-group.
  • No bonus points will be awarded for qualifications in an Area of Absolute Skills Shortage
  • No bonus points will be awarded for either qualifications or work experience in an Identified Future Growth Area.
  • No further bonus points for work experience in New Zealand will be awarded after 1 year.
  • No points will be awarded for partner qualifications below degree level.
  • No points for having close family members who are NZ Citizens will be available.

Essential Skills Work visas (main points)

  • Minimum salary will increase as for SMC outlined above.
  • People in ANZSCO level 4 – 5 occupations will only be able to get a work visa for 3 years. They will need to upskill to a higher level occupation if they wish to renew.
  • Eligibility of Essential Skills work visa holders to have their partners and children with them will also be changed in line with new minimum salary.

Special visas for some people on South Island

There are  a number of people who arrived in New Zealand several years ago to help with the Christchurch rebuild. For those in low level occupations, there is currently no pathway to residence. For  12 months only, a special Work to Residence Visa will be available for a two-year period allowing holders to move on to residence, so long as they have remained in employment in the same occupation on the South Island.

A selection of Other Amendments (will come into force on 8 May 2017)

  • Most visa applicants will be able to supply a certified copy of the ID page in their passport rather than the passport itself.
  • Changes will be made to clarify how long Specific Purpose visas for different purposes will last.
  • It will no longer be possible to apply for residence as a Partner until the couple has lived together for the full 12 months.  (It has been possible to apply a little before this and then the application would be deferred until the 12 month deadline.)
  • The current requirement that anyone sponsoring a partner for either a residence or temporary visa must not have been convicted of a sexual or domestic violence offence in the last 7 years has now been extended to a complete ban. Partners will need Police certificates for the last 10 years, not the last 7.
  • A new working holiday visa has been introduced for people from Luxembourg.

If you think that any of the above will affect you and you need help, Contact Us