Recent rule changes to the Essential Skills Work Visa category have added new barriers to overcome in order an application approved.
The biggest change is the introduction of salary bands, which are determined by the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). These salary bands bring with them varying privileges including the length of time a migrant can remain in New Zealand. For example, a role with an ANZSCO skill level of 1, being paid $19.97 per hour or less, will only receive a 1 year visa without the eligibility to support a family visa application or apply for residency.
Roles at ANZSCO skill levels 4 and 5 have higher salary bands. At first glance, this seems counter intuitive. However, these higher bands present an opportunity for lower skilled workers with high levels of experience. These workers are in high demand for this experience. This makes them more likely to be able to train New Zealand workers. The changes also allow highly skilled migrants in the lower ANZSCO levels, such as truck drivers or aged care workers, to be more readily have their visa application approved.
There is now a strong focus by Immigration on the match between the role, the ANZSCO code and the salary being offered. Well written employment agreements and job descriptions will be needed to support visas. It will also be important to be accurate about the hours that are worked. If the hours actually worked are higher than 40 hours, any salary will be converted to an hourly rate using the actual hours worked, which may drop the rate per hour below the salary band levels.
If you or would like assistance with applying for an Essential Skills Work Visa, or you employ migrants and require advice on these changes, contact us.