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NZ reopens to Pacific

Pacific Islands Forum countries will now be able to apply for New Zealand visas from May 16.

All work visa categories will be open for applications, including the Accredited Employer Work Visa which will open from July 4.

New Zealand has noted a shortage of skilled workers.

From July 31, all student and visitor visa categories will reopen. The maritime border will also reopen on 31 July.

New Zealand Immigration Department announced changes to their immigration policies to streamline the visa application process.

In a statement, the Immigration Department said entry to New Zealand from the Pacific is a government priority.

The statement said the government has also announced changes designed to make it easier to attract and hire high-skilled migrants, while supporting some sectors to continue their shift away from relying on lower-skilled migrant workers.

An Air New Zealand jet taking off. Picture: Twitter

“This Immigration Rebalance plan seeks to lift working conditions for everyone, improve career pathways for New Zealanders and encourage businesses to focus on increasing productivity and resilience as part of our plans for economic recovery from COVID-19,” said the statement.

Work to Residence visa holders who were onshore on May 9 and whose visas are expiring on or before December 31 have had their visa extended by six months and two-year open work visas have been granted to essential skills, post-study work and partner of a New Zealander work visa holders who were also onshore on May 9, and whose visas are expiring on or before December 31.

View of Auckland from Mount Eden. Picture: Twitter

The changes include:

From July 4

The Accredited Employer Work Visa will include a median wage threshold.

A green list will make it easier for employers to hire and attract migrants for high-skilled, hard-to-fill positions.

New sector agreements to provide for short-term or ongoing need to access lower-paid migrants.

Hiring migrants on the Accredited Employer Work Visa.

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From September 2022

Streamlined pathways to residence for migrants in green list occupations or paid twice the median wage.

From December 2022

Most partners of temporary migrant workers will need to qualify for an Accredited Employer Work Visa in their own right, instead of automatically getting an open work visa.

Other changes

Changes to post-study work rights and cost-of-living requirements for future students.

During 2023 a new requirement will come into effect requiring employers to be accredited to employ any migrant.

Students able to travel to New Zealand from July.

Visitor visa applications open to Pacific Islands Forum countries.

Visa extensions issued May 2022.

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