By 27 February 2023, the median wage, currently NZD $27.76 an hour, will increase to NZD $29.66. This affects the pay requirements for an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) and other visas.
All wage thresholds indexed to the median wage will also be updated. This includes the Accredited Employer Visa (AEWV), occupations covered by sector agreements, and residence visa categories.
For the AEWV, migrants must meet the wage threshold in force at the time they apply for their visa. This means that if the wage threshold increases between the job check being approved and the migrant applying for the visa, the migrant may need to meet a higher wage threshold than was approved in the job check pay range.
For example, an employer is granted a job check on 1 November 2022 based on the current median wage of $27.76.
Residence visa categories and pathways with median wage-related criteria will also be updated. This includes the Green List and Highly Paid pathways, the Skilled Migrant Category and the Parent Category.
Previously, wage thresholds were updated regularly, but not always at the same time each year. Starting this year, there will be a standard process where the median wage is adopted in immigration instructions in February. This will be based on the June rate published by Stats NZ the previous year.
With ample lead time, individuals can be ready and informed when the changes occur. The median wage calculator will also be updated.
Tourism and hospitality median wage exception
Many tourism and hospitality roles have also been provided an exemption to the median wage threshold under the AEWV, with a lower wage threshold of $25 an hour until April 2023.
This is a temporary exception that recognises these sectors have been hit hard by Covid-19.
The Government is continuing to support the industry and has decided to transition away from the exemption to the median wage threshold in two stages.