New Median Wage to Apply From February 2023

The new median wage increase will be implemented in February 2023, bringing a much-needed boost to workers' paychecks. Stay informed and make sure you're getting paid what you deserve.

All wage thresholds connected to the median wage will be regularly reviewed and updated. This includes Accredited Employer Visas (AEWV), occupations included in sector agreements, and residence visa categories.

To be eligible for the AEWV, migrants must satisfy the applicable wage threshold when they apply. If a job check is approved and then the wage threshold rises before their visa application, applicants may need to meet this new higher level of income than what was initially accepted in the pay range review.

As an example, let's say that a job check is granted to an employer on November 1st 2022 based on the median wage of $27.76 at the time.

  • If the migrant worker they offer employment to applies for an Accredited Employer work visa before 27 February 2023, the worker must be paid at least the median of $27.76. This is because $27.76 will be the median wage in the immigration system at time of application.
  • If the migrant worker they offer employment to applies for an Accredited Employer work visa on or after 27 February 2023, the worker must be paid at least the new median of $29.66.

To better reflect the current economic landscape, residence visa categories and pathways based on median wages will now be updated. This affects many well-known paths such as Green List, Highly Paid pathways, Skilled Migrant Category and Parent Category.

Until now, the wage thresholds were adjusted on a fluctuating timetable. However, beginning in 2023 there will be an established procedure for setting thresholds annually: every February immigration instructions are updated with median wages based off of Stats NZ's June rate from the previous year. This consistent solution helps to ensure that employers and employees alike can plan ahead.

With ample warning, people can remain informed of the upcoming alterations. Furthermore, the median wage calculator will be revised well before its implementation to ensure that everyone is able to adapt accordingly.

Tourism and hospitality median wage exception

A temporary exception, that recognises the extreme impact of Covid-19 on tourism and hospitality sectors, has been granted to many employment roles with a lowered wage threshold of $25 an hour until April 2023 under the AEWV.

The Government is steadfast in its commitment to the industry and has chosen to transition away from the exemption of median wage thresholds gradually, taking place over two stages.

  • In April 2023 the median wage exception will increase from $25 to $28.18, or 95% of the new median wage.
  • In April 2024 the exception will end, and these roles will be required to be paid 100% of the median wage.

Our opinion

The assurance of a regular review process for all wage thresholds connected with the median wage helps to better reflect the current economic landscape. This provides employers and employees alike ample warning on upcoming amendments, allowing them time to adapt accordingly.

Although there is a temporary exception in place for tourism and hospitality roles, this will end in April 2024 when these roles must be paid at least 100% of the median wage. This requirement should allow those working in these sectors to get fair wages that accurately reflect their hard work and dedication.

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