MBIE’s initiative

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment is changing the way employers recruit some migrants for temporary work in New Zealand.

Announced 12 May 2020 – MBIE will [continue with the initiative announced in 2019] assist regions and businesses get the workers they need with a new temporary work visa process.

 The upcoming changes to the employer-assisted temporary work visa system will include:

  • introducing a new employer-led visa framework that will drive the application process.
  • negotiating and introducing sector agreements ensuring there is more planning for future workforce needs.
  • reinstating the ability for lower-paid workers to bring their families to New Zealand – workers will be able to bring their families to New Zealand.
  • replacing existing skills bands with a simple remuneration threshold aligned to the median wage – removal of skill bands.
  • strengthening the labour market test for lower-paid workers and removing it altogether for higher-paid jobs outside the main centres.

There are positives in this initiative for those families who have been separated due to skill bands and been classed as “lower-paid workers”. Median Wage remuneration will now play a big part in this.

Labour market tests will now take on a new meaning. We welcome the removal of testing outside the main regions. On the other hand, those temporary workers settling in the main centres will have to a meet much stricter rules. This is yet to be defined.


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