Government backtracks on new partnership visa rules

There is good news for the partners of work visa holders, with the government backtracking on rules announced in the immigration reset which would have seen them limited to visitor visas.

In May this year, a ‘big reset’ was announced in immigration, to make it easier for employers to fill skill shortages, via an Accredited Employers Work Visa (AEWV). It also included an immigration Green List of 85 hard-to-fill, high-skill jobs that provide a priority pathway to residency. However, this reset also set a plan to be implemented this December that would have meant partners of those on AEWVs would be unable to get an open work visa, unless they too could secure a job with an Accredited employer, unless the AEWV holder had a job on the immigration Green List or being paid 200% above the median wage.

If they didn’t meet either of these criteria, their partner was only eligible for a visitor visa, which would severely limit their earning potential, leading to financial insecurity just as they moved to a new country. It would also make it much less desirable to move to New Zealand at all and thus less likely for employers to be able to fill vacancies  – the opposite of what this ‘big reset’ intended to do. 

The government announced as from the 4th of July that partners are now eligible for an open work visa, as long as the first applicant (the AEWV holder) is earning above the median wage of $27.76 an hour.

Though the government is calling this a clarification, it is, in reality, a backtrack on what was made quite explicit in the May 7th announcement – that, from December this year, only partners of those on the Green List, or being paid 200% above the median wage were eligible for a work visa. 

Now that they have seen the potentially disastrous consequences of this original plan, they have drafted a completely new policy. It’s a big sigh of relief for those wishing to find work and move their partners and families to New Zealand, and something that should have been the case from the beginning.  

Read more about the government’s immigration reset here, or about the Green List visa criteria here.

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