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Association’s advocacy gets results! Government announces extension to essential skills visas

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Today the Government have acknowledged the labour pressures that we have been highlighting in our advocacy and have announced changes, including an extension to the length of essential skills visas.

Our Reset campaign is a 2 month collective action to draw attention to our current staffing crisis. We have been advocating to push pause on current policy, get alongside the Government to reset the conversation. As a result the Government have acknowledged they are listing to business concerns, with these changes making it easier for our industry’s operators to continue employing their current migrant workers.

The changes announced include:

  • From 19 July, the maximum duration of Essential Skills visas for jobs paid below the median wage ($27.00), will increase from 12 months to 24 months.
  • The application process for Essential Skills visas will also be simplified for migrant workers remaining in their current roles:
    • Employers won’t be required to complete a labour market test where a worker is applying for a visa renewal for a role they are already holding.
    • These applicants also won’t need to provide medical and police certificates to Immigration New Zealand if that information has been supplied previously.
    • Note, a labour market test will still be required where employers are filling a job vacancy.
  • In addition, the new Accredited Employer Work Visa, which was due to come into effect on 1 November, will be delayed until the middle of next year.

This is welcome news for our hospitality sector. After our months of advocacy, and recent collective action on this issue, today’s decision will provide relief to many hospitality operators, who have battled 18 months of uncertainty.

We’re pleased the Government has listened to our concerns and acknowledged the pressures felt by businesses across the country, while COVID border restrictions remain in place.

We have said from the outset, modernising the training and employment pathways within our sector is critically overdue. The extension will give many of our businesses some breathing space, while we build our future workforce.

We look forward to meeting with Ministers in the coming weeks to further discussions about the future of hospitality in Aotearoa.

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