From Wednesday, 7 October 2020, the process for hiring migrant workers under the Essential Skills Work Visa category will change slightly according to oversupply and undersupply of roles.
The government and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) have created lists of occupations and regions facing clear over- or under-supply of New Zealanders on Job Seeker Support.
Historically, New Zealand employers have been required to list job vacancies with Work and Income (WINZ) to determine whether any local workers are able to fill the role first. If that’s not possible, WINZ would send through a Skills Match Report to support a work visa application.
In response to an increase in New Zealand job seekers, MSD have classified ‘lower skilled’ roles (that is, those paid below the national median of $25.50 per hour) that are either oversupplied or undersupplied, and slightly altered the requirements for Skills Match Reports accordingly. Those roles are defined by their Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) codes for clarity.
These changes only affect visa applications made to Immigration NZ on or after 7 October 2020, and any applications submitted prior to this date will simply be considered as part of the previous application assessment process.
If roles are oversupplied, WINZ will not send through a Skills Match Report, thereby encouraging New Zealand employers to fill roles with local talent first.
At time of writing, this includes many but not all roles in retail and hospitality, construction, administration and call centres, manufacturing and warehousing, and transport.
For occupations in regions with oversupply, employers can move straight to engaging with MSD to recruit NZ job seekers when necessary.
Undersupplied roles are diverse and vary between regions, but can include registered nurses, dairy farm workers, engineers, deck and fishing hands, and wine makers. You can check regional availability here.
For those occupations and regions dealing with an undersupply of NZ job seekers, employers will no longer need a Skills Match Report for those ‘lower skilled’ roles. Of course, employers will still have to show to INZ that they’ve tried to fill the role with local talent first.
In this case, there’s no change to the process for hiring; employers will still require a Skills Match Report before they can hire a migrant earning less than the national median wage of $25.50 per hour.
The changes are only temporary, and will undoubtedly shift as the labour market responds to the ongoing effects of COVID-19. We expect the lists to be reviewed in early 2021, or sooner if there are big shifts.
Existing lower skilled migrant staff currently employed in roles on the oversupply list can continue to work until their visa expires, at which point their case will be revisited. Keep in mind that the most recent changes mean that Essential Skills Work Visa holders that would have otherwise expired before the end of 2020 have been extended for an additional six months, giving these workers a half-year reprieve.
Applicants who are paid below the median wage, currently $25.50 per hour, will need to meet more stringent requirements to be eligible for an Essential Skills Work Visa.
If paid below $25.50 per hour:
If paid at or above $25.50 per hour:
We highly recommend employers and temporary visa holders who currently hold or want to apply for a Essential Skills Work Visa get in touch with us now so we can expertly guide you through your (and your family’s) options for remaining in New Zealand.
We offer an initial free consultation to all new clients to discuss your particular circumstances and what services we can provide.
What sets us apart is that we are experts in each step of the immigration process. This means that we can advise on all immigration and visa-related issues.
We don’t just advise on the visa requirements, we can ensure that you receive comprehensive legal advice on all aspects applicable to your particular circumstances, including compliance and employment.
Contact our Elly Fleming on 03 548 8349 or Elly.Fleming@pittandmoore.co.nz for professional legal advice that will give you peace of mind.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended as legal advice. It is important that you seek legal advice that is specific to your circumstances.