Final decisions on the proposals related to the Employer-Assisted Temporary Work visa system have now been made, with the Minister of Immigration recently announcing the changes. The proposals include changing to an employer-led process, reforming temporary work visa settings so that they were more responsive to regional conditions and negotiating Sector Agreements.
The immigration policy changes will introduce a pre-assessment for employers, improve access to immigration for regions with low unemployment and put in place sector agreements. It will be a significant change to the current immigration settings, although the Government says the new system would prioritise New Zealand workers while ensuring temporary foreign workers would be recruited to fill genuine regional and sector shortages.
These changes are part of the Government’s wider programme of workforce improvements, including the changes to vocational education and upcoming welfare reforms, which have a goal to create better connections between the immigration, education and welfare systems.
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 Restaurant Association welcomes the opportunity to work with officials on the detail of how the new processes can be implemented and we will be actively advocating for our members as the detail of the changes are finalised.
We are preparing further information and guidance for members, and will provide professional development updates in the future to ensure members are well informed and ready when the changes come into force.
Full details of the changes, including timeframes, can be found here: www.immigration.govt.nz/work-visa-changes. More information on the Association’s position on the changes, and a copy of our submission can be found here.
The key changes include:
- Replacing six current employer-assisted temporary work visa categories with one new visa called the Temporary Work Visa
- Introducing a new employer-led visa application proves that will involve three stages: the employer check; the job check; and the worker check
- Linking visa conditions directly to pay by replacing existing skill bands with a simple remuneration threshold aligned to the median wage
- For higher-paid jobs, replacing the current set of skills shortage lists with lists for cities and open access for regions
- Strengthening the labour market test for lower-paid jobs and removing it altogether for highly-paid jobs in rural regions
- Increasing the remuneration threshold for the Work to Residence – Talent (Accredited Employer) visa category, as a transitional measure until this visa is closed
- Reinstating the ability for lower-paid workers to bring their families to New Zealand
- Introducing sector agreements to support facilitated access to foreign workers in exchange for progress towards longer-term labour market improvements that place more New Zealanders into jobs in the sector and reduce the sector’s reliance on temporary foreign workers.
Members can also get more information from the policy factsheets:
- Changes to employer-assisted temporary work visas — overview PDF 2MB
- Changes to employer-assisted temporary work visas — what does this mean for employers? PDF 7MB
- Changes to employer-assisted temporary work visas — what does this mean for foreign workers? PDF 1MB
- Changes to employer-assisted temporary work visas — sector agreements PDF 807KB