Immigration Updates

August 17, 2023

Stand Down Periods and AEWV Extensions

Yesterday, saw the final draw under the Skilled Migrant Category [“SMC”] for those with points on 180 or more. There will be a two-month break before SM6 – “6 Point system” opens, 09 October 2023.

Stand-down period – no pathway to residence – pay below median wage

AEWV holders who are paid at least the median wage [$29.66 per hour] can spend a maximum of five years on an AEWV, after which they must spend 12 months outside New Zealand before they are eligible to be granted a further AEWV. The five years can be on one AEWV or multiple AEWVs of shorter durations.

Exception to Stand-down period – pathway to residence

People on a recognised pathway to residence will be able to apply to stay on an AEWV once they have reached the maximum continuous stay without spending the 12 months outside New Zealand.

Example, someone meeting the skill threshold (occupational registration, qualification or income) but needing more time to complete their skilled work experience.

AEWV extensions from three to five years

A maximum continuous stay for Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) holders takes effect from 27 November 2023 that is based on a job OR job offer that is paid at least the median wage. 

Employers will not need to apply for a further Job Check if they are offering continued employment to someone who holds an AEWV on 26 November 2023 provided the worker’s visa conditions remain the same. The employer can reuse their job token.

October 11, 2022

New Zealand – Important changes and dates

We’ve received THREE major changes from Immigration New Zealand and the dates are worth noting.

  1. Green List policy changes

a. Green List policies have been updated to clarify that locum doctor registration is an acceptable form of registration for all roles registered with the Medical Council of New Zealand.

b. Qualification requirements for Food Technologist have been updated to clarify that the reference to a level 7 qualification means a Bachelor’s Degree. Effective on 14 November 2022.

2. Median wage increases to $29.66 per hour[effective 27 February 2023]

a. AEWVs – Wage thresholds must be met at the job check and visa application stages of the AEWV process. This affects the pay requirements for an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) and other visas.

b. Tourism and hospitality – Many tourism and hospitality roles have a lower wage threshold of NZD $25 per hour until April 2023.

The Government will therefore transition to the median wage threshold in two stages:

  • In April 2023 the median wage exemption will increase from $25.00 to $28.18 (95% of the new median wage).
  • In April 2024 the exemption will end.

c. Residence visas – the residence visa categories and pathways with median wage-related criteria will also be updated. This includes the Green List and Highly Paid pathways, the Skilled Migrant Category and the Parent Category.

3. Chef qualification requirement removed

The Government’s decision to remove the requirement for a New Zealand Certificate of Cookery (Level 4) or equivalent will allow employers to recruit highly skilled or experienced chefs who do not have formal qualifications. They will still need to meet the median wage and market rate requirement.

a. Current applications  – applications currently being processed by Immigration New Zealand can be assessed under the new instructions from 18 October 2022.

b. Future settings – these new settings will apply for 12-18 months.

To discuss your situation, give us a call on +64 0274214153 or email

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If you have concerns on your current work visa status or would like to talk to us about your pathway to residence, feel free to contact us.

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