Government Announces Further Visa Extensions

In addition to the welcomed update on Green List Visa roles that now includes much-needed nurses and midwives, the government has announced changes to the Employer Accreditation by automatically extending employer accreditation by 12 months if the first accreditation is applied for by 4 July 2023.

Visa extensions granted

The government also revealed that Partner Work Visa eligibility restrictions have been delayed until April 2023. The previous plan, due to be implemented in December 2022,  would have seen those who followed partners to New Zealand on the accredited Employer Work Visa pathway (but who were not on the Green List) unable to work legally.

The expansion of the accreditation system will cover all migrants (regardless of what type of work visa they held), including those with open work rights, and will be deferred until 2024.

According to the government, the extension to the Accredited Employer status has been granted to assure employers that they will continue to have access to skilled labour in 2023 without having to reapply for accreditation.

Playing catch up

While this is good news for migrants in New Zealand, or those intending on coming to the country who are looking for some form of reassurance, unfortunately, it shows that the government is still lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to creating straightforward pathways for those wishing to live and work in New Zealand.

This has been highlighted by the government themselves, who have admitted that these delays have been implemented in order to attend to other priorities like the review of the Skilled Migrant Points System Residency pathway, in addition to family and partnership immigration settings.

To put it bluntly, the government is now playing catch-up in a system that simply does not have the capability and resources to deal with application and audit processes on time.

Although the government has implied that automatically extending the Employer Accreditation and delaying Partner Work Visa eligibility restrictions provides a sense of certainty, this announcement is again light on details and instructions. It does little to address the critical skill shortage across the country and migrants who had no option but to exit New Zealand before these new measures were implemented.

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