New Zealand updates

New Zealand updates for Essential Skills Visas and ease in the renewal process

The Government of New Zealand has announced some positive updates about Essential Skills work visas. It is for onshore migrants and employers and commenced from July 19, 2021. To deal with the skill shortages these temporary measures are introduced. This is to deal with the concerns of employers about labour shortage. 

Duration of Essential Skills Work Visas in New Zealand

The Government has extended the maximum duration from 12 to 24 months. This maximum duration is for the job paid below the maiden wage, which is ($27/hour). While duration for maiden wage or above jobs is the same which is upto three years. The government wants ease for businesses and employers to deal with the current migrant workers. 

Process for Work visa renewals 

A lighter application process

New applications for renewal will be dealt under new COVID measures. There is no need for an employment agreement for new Essential Skills Visa applications. Even no need of medical and police certificates if already presented in previous visa applications. 

Requirements for employer 

The requirements for the renewal applications will be waived off. This decision will be for the employers who want to continue with the same migrant worker. Although a labour market test will be intact for new applications, vacant roles and change in region. 


Labour market test requirement is waived off for those if they have commenced employment application is made on: 

  • Any type of work visa. 
  • A student visa with unlimited work conditions.
  • A critical Purpose visitor visa.

Process for Transitional application

A paper based form will be used for applications from July 19, 2021 to August 18, 2021. However applications will be online from August 30, 2021. Although not confirmed , these changes are expected to remain intact until mid-2022. 

Essential Skills Work Visas, New Zealand updates.

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