The Government of New Zealand has announced changes to the Partner of a Worker Work Visa. These changes are aimed at rebalancing the immigration system and creating a more productive, higher-wage economy.
Effective from 31 May 2023 People who successfully apply for a Partner of a Worker Work Visa may have new conditions that mean:
This applies to most partners of workers who hold either an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) or an Essential Skills Work Visa (ESWV).
Partners who wish to apply for this visa do not need to have a job offer, and employers do not need to complete a Job Check. Once granted, partners can change employers without applying for a Variation of Conditions. There is no minimum number of hours that partners need to work.
People who are currently employed will need to ensure their employment satisfies the conditions of their new visa when any new visa takes effect. It is also necessary for people who are not employed to ensure that any future job offer satisfies these conditions.
Any subsequent changes to the employer’s accreditation, the median wage, and Sector Agreements will not impact the visa holder if they remain in the same employment. From 31 May, individuals will be able to check if an employer is accredited on the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) website.
The changes do not affect current work visa conditions or the status of those who apply before 31 May 2023. There are no changes to visa conditions for partners of New Zealanders, or partners of those holding other work visas, such as a Post Study Work Visa.
However, some partners of AEWV or ESWV holders will continue to be eligible to work in any occupation for any employer in New Zealand, with no median wage threshold. This includes partners of migrants who are paid at least twice the median wage, or migrants who work in a role on the Green List. Partners who did not meet these criteria when they received their visa but have since met them through a pay increase or their role being added to the Green List may also apply. Evidence of eligibility will be required as part of the Partner of a Worker Work Visa application or through a Variation of Conditions request.
AEWV and ESWV holders who cannot support a partner work visa
However, AEWV holders who are covered by a Sector Agreement and paid below the median wage are not eligible to support a partner work visa. ESWV holders paid below the median wage or lower-skilled (if the visa application was made before 27 July 2020) are also not eligible to support a partner.
If these AEWV and ESWV holders receive a pay rise that brings their salary up to at least the median wage, they may be able to support their partner for a work visa. However, they do not need to apply for a new work visa to support a partner unless they want their eligibility for a longer work visa to be assessed based on their new salary. This is because partners generally receive a visa for the same period as their supporting partner’s work visa.
Partners of temporary workers can explore other visas to determine if they are eligible to apply in their own right. Those who choose not to work can apply for a Visitor Visa.
Source: INZ website