Legal Updates

New immigration settings a green light for New Zealand businesses

A package of reforms to New Zealand’s border and immigration settings should assist businesses to address longstanding labour shortages across a number of key industries.

The government has announced the full re-opening of the border two months earlier than initially anticipated. From 31 July 2022, New Zealand’s international border will open to all tourists and visa holders.

This will be welcome news to holidaymakers, students, families and migrant communities alike, all of whom have been affected by the closing of New Zealand’s borders in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businesses will also be rapt with the suite of updates announced. Of major note is the Accredited Employer Work Visa system which is set to be operational from 4 July 2022. Under this new system, approved employers looking to hire migrant workers will enjoy a streamlined process with less information required for Immigration’s consideration and faster processing times.

The government has also announced the creation of a Green List, comprising 85 hard-to-fill roles in the construction, engineering, trades, health and ICT sectors. Migrants looking to fill these roles will face even less hurdles when applying for a work visa, with employers not required to provide proof that they have advertised the role to New Zealanders. Successful applicants will also have a clear pathway to residence and their partners will automatically enjoy open work rights (compared with non-resident partners of other temporary visa holders who will need to qualify for the Accredited Employer Work Visa themselves to be able to work).

The Green List should attract more high-skilled migrants to New Zealand, particularly with its simplified pathway to residency. This will be a win for businesses too, with immigration incentives like the Green List needed to address the significant labour shortages still hampering a number of key industries.

Other aspects of the government’s immigration update include automatic extensions to certain existing work visas and a temporary exemption for tourism and hospitality businesses from paying migrant workers the median wage under the Accredited Employer Work Visa.

Whether you are an existing work visa holder wanting to extend your stay in New Zealand, a migrant looking to live and work in New Zealand or a business owner on the hunt for high-skilled labour, Jordan can help you understand New Zealand’s latest immigration settings and guide you through the visa application process.