New Zealand is a popular destination for migrants seeking better work opportunities, higher wages, and a better quality of life. However, with the increase in the number of migrants in the country, there have also been concerns about the treatment of their partners who accompany them to New Zealand.
To address these concerns, the New Zealand government has recently announced changes to the eligibility and processes for partners of migrant workers. These changes aim to strengthen protections and improve processes for partners who come to New Zealand with their migrant spouses.
One of the major changes announced by the government is the expansion of access to the Victims of Family Violence work visa. This visa will now be available to people who are on partner-based visas that are linked to temporary migrants.
This change means that eligible applicants will be granted a six-month open work visa independently, without being dependent on their partnership. This change will come into effect from 28 February 2023.
The government has also announced changes to partner work visas that will come into effect from 31 May 2023. These changes are part of the wider immigration Rebalance, which aims to support a higher-productivity, higher-wage economy.
Under the new changes, most partners of temporary migrant workers who hold an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) and Essential Skills Work Visa (ESWV) will have visa conditions that state they must work for an Accredited Employer in any role and be paid at least median wage (or the applicable threshold if the role is covered by a sector agreement).
However, AEWV holders who are earning twice the median wage or in a Green List role will still be able to sponsor their partners for open work rights. Partners who do not wish to work can apply to come to New Zealand on Visitor Visas.
The changes announced by the government aim to provide better protection and support for partners of migrant workers in New Zealand. The expansion of access to the Victims of Family Violence work visa means that victims of family violence can apply for independent work visas, regardless of their partnership status.
The changes to partner work visas aim to ensure that partners of temporary migrant workers are paid fairly and are not exploited in the workplace. The new visa conditions will require most partners to work for an Accredited Employer in any role and be paid at least median wage.
Overall, these changes are a positive step towards strengthening protections and improving processes for partners of migrant workers in New Zealand. By providing better support and protections, New Zealand can continue to attract and retain highly skilled migrant workers and their families.