In Business

Fast track entry to NZ for Skilled Workers

March, 2022

By: Lukas Souza

A limited window for employers is about to open. This will help your business secure “skilled workers” from overseas without having to pass the labour market test (prove no kiwis available to fill the job). Employers often say one of their biggest headaches is the requirement to advertise job vacancies knowing full well the skills their business needs are not locally available.

This opportunity opens on 13 March and runs until July 2022. You will be able to secure “skilled workers” from overseas without advertising or proving there are no kiwis available or that your business is accredited.

A “skilled worker” means:

  • A job paying 1.5 times the median wage (i.e., $84,240 a year OR $40.50 an hour) and
  • The job is for longer than 6 months and at least 30 hours a week; and
  • The migrant worker can prove they have experience/qualifications to do the job.

People you recruit as “skilled workers” will be allowed to bring family with them. This will be a key consideration to anyone recruited from offshore after seeing how many families were kept apart when our border closed in 2020.

Employer accreditation applications open in May and become mandatory in July 2022. Getting ahead of all this paperwork and delay will add real value to your business if you are looking now to recruit skills from offshore.

Timeline of when and who will be able to enter NZ:

From 14 March 2022

  • Skilled Workers.
  • Working Holiday Visas (WHV). WHVs applications open gradually to a limited number of countries. We anticipate the UK, USA, and Canada will be among the first. Great talent pool if you are looking for enthusiastic 18 to 30-year-olds looking to work while on holiday.

From 12 April 2022

  • People onshore holding a valid Work or Student visa can now leave and return provided the visa remains valid on arrival back into NZ.
  • Up to 5,000 international students can start applying for border exemptions. Those studying at degree level or higher will normally get work rights.
  • Expansion of the worker criteria for border exceptions.

From July 2022

  • Australian citizens, Australian residents and any other citizens travelling to NZ direct from Australia.
  • Visitors from visa waiver countries.
  • People onshore holding a valid Visitor visa can now leave and return provided the visa remains valid on arrival back into NZ.
  • Applications for the new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) are open. Once a AEWV is issued the holder can enter NZ.

From October 2022

  • Applications for all visas reopen.
  • All or most border restrictions lifted.

For Immigration related questions, contact the EMA helpline to be connected with the team at Malcolm Pacific Immigration.


Lukas Sousa
Head of Employer Relationships
Malcolm Pacific Immigration

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