From 4 July, New Zealand’s borders will reopen to all workers with some new changes directly affecting employers in the health and disability sector:
Changes are designed to make it easier to attract and hire high-skilled migrants in the health and disability sector whilst supporting the care workforce sector to shift away from relying on lower-paid migrant workers.
- The Accredited Employer Work Visa will include a median wage threshold.
- A Green List will make it easier for employers to hire and attract migrants for high-skilled, hard-to-fill positions.
- Sector agreements allow for short-term or ongoing need to hire lower-paid migrants.
The health and disability sector, like others, can continue recruiting migrants with open work rights, such as working holiday makers and students – these changes only apply to workers on employer-assisted work visas.
From 4 July 2022, The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) will be the main temporary work visa pathway, and replaces the Essential Skills Visa and several other visas Immigration New Zealand have recently retired. Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV)
Employers need to be AEWV accredited
In order to hire a migrant worker on the new Accredited Employer Work Visa, employers need to apply for AEWV accreditation. Applications open on 23 May 2022 on Immigration NZ’s Accredited Employer Work Visa page.
The median wage threshold
From July 4, there will be a median wage threshold of $27.76 per hour or above, for the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV), unless an occupation is exempted by a sector agreement. (e.g. the one in place for the care workforce)
The Green List makes it easier for employers to hire migrants in specific occupations. Any occupation on the Green List will still need to meet the median wage threshold, and are limited to migrants 55 years or younger.
Health practitioner occupations included on the Green List:
Fast-tracked residence pathway
More information on Green List occupations (Immigration website)
Sector agreements allow employers of certain occupations in the care workforce to be exempt from the median wage requirement in exchange for ongoing training and improvements to reduce the reliance on migrant workers.
Stakeholder engagement in May and June 2022
The Ministry of Health and Immigration New Zealand will be conducting engagement with selected stakeholders in the care workforce during May and June 2022 to introduce the concept and content of the care workforce sector agreement.
While the care workforce sector agreement is being finalised, a lower wage threshold of $25.39 will be put in place from 4 July onwards for hiring migrant workers into care worker roles. This is aligned with the pay level for carer workers qualified at Level 3, or with 8 plus years’ experience in the current pay equity arrangement.
Roles covered by the care workforce sector agreement
More information about the wider changes coming into effect from the Immigration Rebalance, including how students are affected, key dates, and downloadable factsheets, are available on the Immigration New Zealand website.