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Changes to essential skills work visas

A few weeks ago, when the Minister of Immigration was discussing some proposed changes that included a move away from the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), he was quoted as saying: “If you value your migrant workers, show us the money”. Well, he clearly meant what he said. What he missed though is that a simplification of the process will lead to processing headaches at Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) stage and also a higher level of fraud/gaming associated with an apparent simplified number-crunching exercise.

While there are a few positive takeaways for a move away from, what can be, quite complex and difficult ANZSCO assessments to assess skill level for a work visa under the Essential Skills policy, the new policy is also not that straight forward once you peel away the outer layers.


Remuneration – Median Wage Determination

Under the current policy, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) follows a combined approach in using ANZSCO and the remuneration level of an employment position  to determine whether or not the position is “lower-skilled”, “mid-skilled” or “high-skilled”. That determination then sets what policy parameters apply under the Essential Skills policy to that particular visa request and determines, amongst other things, the duration of the visa granted.


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