Time to ask for a pay rise…

If you want to be granted a Skilled Migrant Category Residence visa in 2018 you should check your eligibility against the new Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment SMC criteria.

Last week, the MBIE updated the SMC visa and changed the remuneration (payment) threshold that will meet the eligible criteria for migrants.

The remuneration (payment) threshold for work visas has also been increased. Visas that people currently hold will not be affected and changes to the income thresholds will not affect the duration or conditions of visas that have already been granted.

Any new application made on or after 15 January will be assessed against the new threshold.

This may mean the conditions and/or the duration of a new visa could be different.

For example, a chef paid $20 an hour would currently be considered mid-skilled, as the occupation is ANZSCO level 2 and the pay is above the existing threshold of $19.97.

However, if he applied for another visa after 15 January he would be considered low skilled, unless his pay increased to above the new threshold of $20.65.

Description of changes – Remuneration thresholds for the Skilled Migrant Category

The Skilled Migrant Category instructions have been amended to adjust the remuneration thresholds in line with the New Zealand median income (the data came out in September, so the Ministry has adjusted the levels based on this).

The threshold for ‘skilled employment’  for residence is now for employment earning $24.29 per hour (or the equivalent annual salary) for ANZSCO 1-3 occupations and $36.44 for ANZSCO 4-5 occupations (or occupations not included in ANZSCO).  See the full list of ANZSCO occupations here.

To qualify for bonus points, as an employee you must earn $48.58 per hour.


Remuneration thresholds for Essential Skills instructions

WK3.5 Acceptable employment applicants

WK3.5 has been amended to adjust the remuneration thresholds in line with the New Zealand median income. The following thresholds will now apply for employment to be considered lower, mid, or higher-skilled.


  • Less than $20.65 per hour, for any ANZSCO level occupation, or
  • Less than $36.44 per hour, for ANZSCO 4-5 occupations.


  • Between $20.65 and $36.43 per hour (inclusive), for ANZSCO 1-3 occupations.


  • $36.44 or higher, for any ANZSCO level occupation.

A clarification has been made that each hour of work must be paid at or above the remuneration threshold to be assessed within a particular skill-band.

You can visit the MBIE website to find out more, or contact us if you are concerned about your visa application.