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New Zealand prolongs the validity period of Essential Skills Work Visa

July 22, 2021

3 minutes read

New Zealand Extends Essential Skills Work Visa

The New Zealand government has made changes to the conditions for obtaining the Essential Skills Work Visa. If previously applicants with wages below average were offered to stay in the country for 1 year, now this period has doubled. The representative of the immigration service of the state specified that such measures will simplify the process of application in a difficult post-quarantine time. The government assumes, that the extension of the visa and simplification of the application procedure will have a favorable effect on the labor market.

What are the changes for Essential Skills

Starting July 19, 2021, foreign workers, who have applied for Essential Skills visa, will be eligible to stay in the country for 2 years, if their salary is below the average rate. In New Zealand, the average wage is considered to be NZ$27 per hour, which is about $19.

Applicants for a second work visa are exempt from the obligation to submit a medical certificate and a police certificate again. Under the amended legislation, the government will consider valid those visa documents, that applicants submitted to the Immigration New Zealand more than 36 months ago.

Foreign workers, who continue working with their former employer, do not have to undergo another labour market test. This is confirmed by a declaration that they have passed the labour market test. Work and student visa holders studying at New Zealand institutions of higher education are also not required to submit this form. This applies to holders of master's and PhD's, if their occupation is in the list of critical ones (e.g. health care worker).

What are the opportunities for Essential Skills visa holders

Essential Skills gives foreign workers the right to live and work in New Zealand. However, part-time employees cannot apply for this type of visa. In this case, employers must prove to the authorities that the company has invited the foreigner to work due to lack of local personnel for the same position.

Essential Skills holders also have the opportunity to study in the country for three months, provided that the new knowledge will enhance their skills. According to the Immigration New Zealand, The Accredited Employer Work Visa will replace the Essential Skills starting from the middle of 2022.

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