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When is the right time to apply for your next work visa?

So you are on work visa and your visa is running out in 2021, should you be thinking about applying for your next work visa now or when the right time comes? How do the upcoming changes of 2021 apply to your personal situation? Would you be better off in applying for your next work visa ahead of its expiry, now in 2020 or should you wait for 2021? This article will help you understand some important points.

1. Skill level of your role: ANZSCO skill band will be no longer used

It is important to acknowledge that Immigration New Zealand is going to introduce a new method of determining skill level of the roles. From mid 2020 INZ will not use ANZSCO for this assessment but use your salary as the basis for your skill level determination. So even if your recent work visa application was not successful in your claim for a medium skilled visa, it would be potentially possible for you to claim medium skilled visa on the basis of your salary.

From mid 2020, INZ will consider the salary as the determination factor instead of band level of ANZSCO.  There is also a change of terminology, instead of using the work low skilled, INZ is going to use the term low-paid.

low-paid, if a migrant is paid below the New Zealand median wage, or high-paid, if they are paid at or above the New Zealand median wage.

Despite this change, the job description will still be required to match an ANZSCO occupation as we do today. INZ wants this to be done so that they can determine and ensure that the rate of pay is not less than the market rate and that the visa applicant is suitably qualified for the role.

So for anyone who is getting paid at or above the New Zealand median wage, can be considered to meet the new requirements and be granted a longer duration work despite the ANZSCO bands.

2. Expiry date of your current visa

If you are on a medium skilled visa and your visa is running out in 2021 or even early 2022, then you may still want to prepare ahead of time for the new era of work visa which is going to begin from mid 2021. As per the announcements made by Immigration New Zealand, they will release new work visa policy and under this policy, only those employers who become an accredited employer would be able to support a work visa application. With the release of this new policy, the currently active essential skills work visa policy will be no longer valid, however, anyone who would holds a previously granted work visa under this policy would remain unaffected. So until they need to apply for their new visa, they can continue working on their existing visa. So if you apply for your new work visa now and are again granted a medium skilled work visa as per the current policy requirements, you would be most likely granted a three year visa which will be until 2023. This would assist you in focusing on your work and your pathway for your Skilled Migrant Residence instead of worrying about temporary work visas.

3. Number of migrant employees hired/planned by your employer

From 2021, any employer who is planning to hire a migrant worker and support their visa application, would be required to become an accredited employer.

If your employer is planning to hire 5 or less migrant workers then the accreditation process will be relatively simpler and will be based on the following factors:

  • not be an employer who is on a non-compliant stand-down list — a list of employers who have broken employment law. This list is available here:
  • comply with any relevant industry or regulatory standards, and
  • have no history of non-compliance in your dealings with us.

But if your employer is planning to hire 6 or more migrant workers then the need to meet the following additional requirements:

  • Committment and evidence of training and upskilling New Zealanders, and
  • Evidence of their efforts to increasing wages and conditions for NZ workers.

So if you think that your employer is not likely to meet the accreditation requirements of INZ or may not be interested in becoming an accredited employer, then you may want to consider applying for your visa now. By having a longer valid visa, you and your employer will have time to plan your options and will not need to panic that your visa is running out but employer cannot support your visa.

If you liked this article, please share it with your friends so that they can also be prepared for 2021 and plan their immigration pathways.

In your service,
Malkiat Singh

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