Work Visa NZ Changes 2019-2021

In Dec 2018 INZ introduced the Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List. This list can be used to demonstrate there are no suitably qualified New Zealand citizens or residence class visa holders to undertake work in the occupations specified on the list. Applicants must meet the qualification and/or work experience requirements of the list. Good News for the construction industry and for those of you looking for visas !

Immigration have also started a process  to  change their policy on various work visas including Essential Skills and Work to Residence visas.

What is changing – INZ notice:

We will:

  • develop a new employer-led visa application process
  • introduce a new temporary work visa that replaces 6 existing work visas
  • be using the level of pay to categorise a job in place of the existing skill bands — existing skill bands rely on a combination of level of pay and categorising the job under the ANZSCO
  • strengthen the labour market test for low-paid jobs with open access for high-paid jobs in rural regions and lists in cities
  • introduce sector agreements to facilitate access to migrants for targeted sectors
  • reinstate the right for low-paid workers to bring their families to New Zealand on visitor visas.

The new process will be designed over the next 18 months, so there is a lot of detail that is not yet available. This includes information about fees, processing times and evidence that employers and migrants will have to provide in support of their applications.

The first set of changes will happen on 7 October 2019 and will only affect Talent Accredited Employers.

  1. Changes to employer processes and visas

    Over the next 18 months, we will be bringing in changes that affect some employers and the migrant workers they employ. These include:

    • introducing a new employer-led visa application process that will involve 3 stages — the employer check, the job check and the worker check
    • a new temporary work visa that replaces 6 temporary work visas
    • classifying jobs as low- or high-paid based on whether they are paid above or below the median New Zealand wage, instead of using a combination of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) classification and pay to determine skill bands
    • strengthening the labour market test for low-paid jobs and open access for high-paid jobs in rural regions and lists in cities
    • introducing sector agreements for a range of industries that regularly employ migrant workers, and
    • reinstating the ability for lower-paid workers to bring their families to New Zealand.
    • Some visas and employer schemes will be replaced

      From 2021, a new temporary work visa will replace 6 existing visas:

      • Essential Skills Work Visa
      • Essential Skills Work Visa — approved in principle
      • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa
      • Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa
      • Silver Fern Job Search Visa, and
      • Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa.

      At the same time 2 employer schemes will be removed:

      • approval in principle (AIP) before an employer hires workers on an Essential Skills Work Visa
      • accreditation as a Talent Accredited Employer.

15 Comments to “Work Visa NZ Changes 2019-2021”

  1. How can I apply?

    1. Hi, that depends on your circumstances, please email me with some basic details at

  2. Hello, I am a phlebotomist in Hong Kong, so I see it I shouldn’t apply working primit this year?

    1. Hi Miki, You can still apply but the employer will need to evidence that they have advertised and been unable to find suitable New Zealand workers to do the role.

  3. welder

    1. Hi welder is on Canterbury shortage list.

  4. Hi Jenny,
    I work as a contract administrator (511111) in Wellington. I applied as a walk-in since the position was not advertised but i came to know about the vacancy through word of mouth. I got the job and i meet all criteria for Permanant Residency under SMC. I have already been with the organisation for 10 months now. Will i be able to apply for residency because the position was not advertised? Does my occupation fall in the Essential Skills Demand List for which advertising isnt necessary? Please advise
    Many Thanks

    1. Hi Anna, provided your employment is consistent with the conditions on your current visa the fact it was not advertised should not be a problem. It is not on any of the skill shortage list. If you would like a full assessment please email me for a quote. Fees for an assessment would be deducted from any future fee for assisting with a visa application. Regards Jenny

  5. Hi please send me your email address. Im currently on an employer assisted visa


  6. Hi there
    Can a Florist apply for an essential work visa

    Thanks for your kind attention

    1. Hi Simon yes sure it’s a skilled role.

  7. Hi, Is telecommunication technical in ESID 2019 list?

    1. Hi Rodger – Telecommunications Technician is yes, but you have to meet the requirements of that list. Which includes NZQF level 4 qualification or above which includes the credit & knowledge required of one of the strands of the NZ certificate in telecommunications level 4. If you dont have this qualification and / or would like more assistance please email me at you might still qualify.
      Regards Jenny

  8. hi
    I am a welder. would like to discuss in detail. for future residency visa

    1. Hi I have emailed you.

Leave a Reply to Jenny Bielby Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *