Immigration authorities in New Zealand have implemented changes under the ‘Kiwi First’ campaign. These changes will amend the Essential Skills work visa programme. 

The following changes are scheduled to occur:

1) Introducing a remuneration band to align with salary thresholds: 

  • Applicants earning less than NZ$41,538 per year will be considered lower skilled 
  • Applicants who earn between NZ$41,538 and NZ$73,299 per year will be considered to be mid-skilled (as long as they are in an occupation that is classified as ANZSCO Level 1-3).
  • Applicants earning more than NZ$73,299 per year will be considered higher skilled

2) Lower skilled visa holders will only be allowed to remain in New Zealand for a maximum of 3 years before they have to spend 12 months outside of the country. After this, the individual can apply again for another lower skilled position under the Essential Skills visa.

3) Lower skilled visa holders will be prohibited from bringing their family members as dependants. However, family members can apply for short stay visitor visas.