Increased Remuneration Thresholds for NZ Skilled Migrant and Essential Skills Visas

Increased Remuneration Thresholds for NZ Skilled Migrant and Essential Skills Visas
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has announced increased wages or salary thresholds for Skilled Migrant Resident Visas and Essential Skills Work Visas, to be effective from February 24, 2020.
INZ updates the pay rate or remuneration thresholds for these work visa categories once a year.
Note that this change in income thresholds does not impact the conditions of visas already approved by the INZ.
When do the new rates become effective? The announcement has already been made regarding the new pay standards for these visa categories, but the actual date for these to become effective is February 24, 2020.

What are the new hourly rates for Skilled Migrant Resident Visa?

Beginning February 24, 2020, the following rates will apply for a Skilled Migrant Resident Visa for you to earn points towards this visa:

Skilled employment in ANZSCO skill level 1-3 occupation

For ANZSCO skill level 1-3, the Skilled Migrant Resident Visa threshold is going to be NZ$ 53,040 per year, based on the rate of NZ$ 25.50 per hour (a 2% increase from last year) – this number stays at NZ$ 52,000 per year for the period between November 26, 2018 and February 23, 2020.

Skilled employment in ANZSCO skill level 4-5 occupation

For ANZSCO skill level 4-5, the Skilled Migrant Resident Visa threshold is going to be NZ$ 79,560 per year (NZ$ 38.25 or more per hour) – this number stays at NZ$ 78,000 per year for the period between November 26, 2018 and February 23, 2020.
Note that INZ treats some ANZSCO occupations at skill levels 4 and 5 as exceptions. From February 24, 2020 the new threshold for skilled employment for these occupations will be NZ$ 25.50 per hour (NZ$ 53,040 per year) or above.

Wage rate to gain bonus points in Skilled Migrant Resident Visa application

The new pay rate to get bonus points in Skilled Migrant Visa Category is going to be NZ$ 106,080 per year, which translates to an hourly pay rate of NZ$ 51.00 or more – this number stays at NZ$ 104,000 per year or NZ$ 50.00 per hour for the period between November 26, 2018 and February 23, 2020.

What happens if you already have an invitation from INZ to apply for Skilled Migrant Resident Visa?

INZ will use the remuneration threshold rates in force based on the date they selected your EOI (Expression of Interest).
For instance, if INZ selected your EOI prior to February 24, 2020 but you were invited to make the visa application after that date, your application will be accessed based on the old thresholds, even if you were invited after the new limits become effective.

What are the new hourly rates for Essential Skills Work Visa?

Beginning February 24, 2020, the following rates will apply for an Essential Skills Work Visa for you to qualify for this visa:

Mid-skilled employment in ANZSCO skill level 1-3 occupation

For ANZSCO skill level 1-3, the Essential Skills Work Visa threshold is going to be NZ$ 45,094 per year, based on the rate of NZ$ 21.68 per hour – this number stays at NZ$ 44,200 per year or NZ$ 21.25 per hour for the period between November 26, 2018 and February 23, 2020.

Higher-skilled employment in ANZSCO skill level 4-5 occupation

For ANZSCO skill level 4-5, the Essential Skills Work Visa threshold is going to be NZ$ 79,560 per year, based on the rate of NZ$ 38.25 per hour – this number stays at NZ$ 78,000 per year or NZ$ 37.50 per hour for the period between November 26, 2018 and February 23, 2020.

Lower-skilled employment in ANZSCO skill level 1-3 occupation

For ANZSCO skill level 1-3, the Essential Skills Work Visa threshold is going to be NZ$ 45,074 per year, based on the rate of NZ$ 21.67 per hour – this number stays at NZ$ 44,179 per year or NZ$ 21.24 per hour for the period between November 26, 2018 and February 23, 2020.

Lower-skilled employment in ANZSCO skill level 4-5 occupation

For ANZSCO skill level 4-5, the Essential Skills Work Visa threshold is going to be NZ$ 79.539 per year, based on the rate of NZ$ 38.24 per hour – this number stays at NZ$ 77,979 per year or NZ$ 37.49 per hour for the period between November 26, 2018 and February 23, 2020.
Note that some ANZSCO occupations in the 4-5 skill level are treated as exceptions, and INZ may consider them mid-skilled. Beginning February 24, 2020, the remuneration threshold for mid-skilled jobs will be NZ$ 53,040 or NZ$ 25.50 per hour.

What remuneration threshold applies based on your Essential Skills Work Visa application date?

If INZ receives your Essential Skills Work Visa application prior to February 24, 2020, they will use the old remuneration thresholds to assess your work visa application – applications received on or after February 24, 2020 will be processed based on the new pay rate limits.
What happens if your employment agreement was made prior to February 24, 2020? Note that INZ will use the new remuneration thresholds if your application is received after February 23, 2020 irrespective of when the employment contract was made.

How does the increase in remuneration thresholds impact visa renewals?

The visa duration and condition of your extended visa could now be different than the original work visa. For instance, a chef who made NZ$ 21.50 per hour would be considered to be in a mid-skilled job before February 24, 2020, since the occupation falls in ANZSCO level 2 and the wage is above the current threshold of NZ$ 21.25 per hour. However, if the visa renewal is filed after February 24, 2020, the job would fall under the low-skilled category, unless their salary was increased to meet the new threshold of NZ$ 21.68.
Professional Visa Solutions is tracking the news closely and is ready to help you with your Essential Skills Work Visa and Skilled Migrant Resident Visa in the light of the new remuneration thresholds.
You may also want to follow the news regarding how the newly released ANZSCO version 1.3 affects New Zealand visa applicants. Book a 100% free consultation and let our Auckland based immigration experts help you navigate your work visa process with ease.