Important Immigration Policy changes announced April 2017

Important Immigration changes to be aware of

There have been some significant announcements in the last few days involving proposed changes to the Skilled Migrant Category, Temporary visas and a new (one-off)South Island Residence option.

South Island special residence category

  • Applications open 22nd May 2017
  • This is a one-off pathway to Residence for long term temporary migrants in lower skill jobs that have held Essential Skills visas for 5 years or longer for jobs in the South Island
  • This is a huge opportunity for those South Islanders that do not meet current Residency criteria

If you meet the above criteria, Greenstone can assist in planning and managing your application.

Skilled migrant category:

  • High level proposals announced
  • More detail to be made available in June
  • Changes to come into effect 14th August 2017

Two remuneration thresholds to be introduced :

  • $48,859 pa based on a 40 hour week ($23.49 per hour) for occupations with skill levels 1-3. Below this positions will not be considered skilled
  • Above $73,299 pa ($35.24 per hour) where automatically deemed to be skilled (salary will need to be justified)
  • Middle band income earners will still be assessed under current skilled employment instructions
  • Lower salary band will affect many retail, healthcare and hospitality migrants

Changes to points scores in SMC

  • increased points for skilled work experience
  • bonus points for incomes over $97,718 pa ($46.98 per hour)
  • removal of some bonus points for absolute skills shortages list, identified future growth areas, close family in NZ

Temporary visa changes

  • At this point, the proposals for temporary visa changes are not finalised- they are out for public consultation, submissions by 21 May 2017
  • Changes to be implemented in August 2017
  • Remuneration levels would likely replace ANZSCO as the main determinant of the skill level of an essential Skills visa holder
  • Visa lengths will be guided by the same salary bands that apply to the Skilled Migrant category (lowest band still one year)
  • Work visas for people in lower income bracket (<$23.49 per hour) only to be issued up to 3 years, then followed by a one year “stand down” period outside of NZ
  • Partners of lower skilled workers will likely only get visitor visas unless they apply for work visas based on a job offer
  • Dependent children of lower skilled workers will likely not be able to get fee subsidies as domestic students (will pay international student fees if they intend to study)

Feel free to contact Greenstone Global so that we can discuss how these changes may affect you and whether now is the time to get your residency application submitted.