The Government has released the changes to Immigration Instructions that will come into effect on 28 August 2017 as a result of the announcement made by the Minister of Immigration in April and the ensuing consultation process.
It’s all about ANZSCO
I have previously written about ANZSCO – the database that Immigration New Zealand uses to determine whether or not an occupation is skilled employment. ANZSCO is central to these changes and will become particularly important in determining whether or not an applicant can successfully claim for skilled employment experience when they are filing an Expression of Interest (EOI) for Residency as a Skilled Migrant.
Low, Mid and High Skilled Employment
Each application will be determined to be low, mid or high-skilled depending on the hourly rate of pay and the skill level as determined by ANZSCO. The following graphic illustrates these occupational bands:
An hourly rate of pay of $35.24 or more which equates to an annual salary of $73,299.20 or more based on a 40-hour week. Anyone earning at or above this threshold will be regarded as being in high-skilled employment regardless of the ANZSCO skill level for their occupation.
- People on high skilled visas will be able to pass on partner work visa rights and domestic student visa rights to their partners and children.
- People earning over $46.98 per hour ($97,718.40p.a. on a 40-hour week basis) will also be entitled to an additional 20 bonus points when filing their EOI.
An hourly rate of pay of between $19.97 and $35.24 per hour which equates to an annual salary of between $41,537.60 and $73,299.20 provided that their occupation is classed as ANZSCO Skill Level 1, 2 or 3.
- People on mid skilled visas will be able to pass on partner work visa rights and domestic student visa rights to their partners and children.
- People on mid skilled visas who earn more than $23.49 per hour ($48,859.20p.a. on a 40-hour week basis) will be able to claim points for skilled employment in their Skilled Migrant EOI.
- People who earn between $19.97 and $23.49 per hour will not be able to claim points for skilled employment and will therefore not be able to file an EOI as a Skilled Migrant.
An hourly rate of pay of up to $19.97 per hour regardless of the ANZSCO Skill Level for their occupation.
- People on low skilled visas will not be able to pass on partner work visa rights and domestic student visa rights to their partners and children.
- Low skilled visas will be issued for a maximum of 1 year and, the applicant will be able to apply for a renewal twice (up to a 3-year maximum). After that the stand-down period applies and the applicant must be outside New Zealand for at least 12 months before they can reapply for another low-skilled Essential Skills Work Visa.
- People on low skilled visas cannot file a Skilled Migrant EOI as they will not meet the minimum remueration threshold of $23.49.
The changes provide ongoing rights of partners and children in New Zealand under some circumstances.
If you currently hold an Essential Skills work visa or a post-study work visa you will continue to be able to pass on partner work rights to your partner and domestic student right to your dependent children while you continue to hold that visa.
If you then subsequently apply for a low-skilled Essential Skills work visa and your partner held a Partnership Based work visa as your partner as at 28 August 2017 then he or she will continue to be entitled to a partnership based work visa until you are required to leave New Zealand under the stand-down period.
Likewise, if your children hold a Student Visa as a dependent child of an Essential Skills work visa or Post-Study work visa holder as at 28 August 2017 then they will continue to be entitled to a Student Visa until you are required to leave New Zealand under the stand-down period.
What is critical is that the partner holds a Partnership Based visa or the child holds a student Visa as at 28 August 2017. If not, their work and student entitlements will only last as long as the Essential Skills or Post Study work visa you currently hold.
Substantial changes have been made to the Skilled Migrant residence category.
The following changes have been made to the Skilled Migrant Points:
- 30 points for ages 20 – 39 (was 30 points for ages 20 – 29)
- Skilled employment in NZ > 1 year 60 points – REMOVED
- Bonus Points for employment in an area of future growth 10 points – REMOVED
- Skilled employment with remuneration of at least $46.98 per hour – 20 points
- Skilled work experience
- 2 years 10 points (was 10)
- 4 years 20 points (was 15)
- 6 years 30 points (was 20)
- 8 years 40 points (was 25)
- 10 years 50 points (was 30)
- Skilled work experience in NZ
- 1 year 10 points (was 5)
- 2 years 10 points REMOVED
- 3 years or more 15 points REMOVED
- Bonus points for work experience in an area of future growth – REMOVED
- Level 3 if included in the list of qualifications exempt from assessment – 40 points
- Level 9 or 10 postgraduate qualification (Master or PhD) 70 points
- Qualifications in an area of future growth OR an area of absolute skills shortage – REMOVED
- Partner’s Qualifications
- Recognised level 4 – 6 qualification – REMOVED
- Recognised qualification at level 7 or 8 (Bachelor or postgraduate diploma) 10 points (was 20)
- Recognised qualification at level 9 or above (Masters or PhD) 20 points
Overall these changes offer more points for higher level qualifications and greater experience, together with an additional 10 points for applicants between 30 and 39. This reflects the Government’s focus in attracting people with higher level qualifications and work experience.
The new instructions feature ANZSCO much more prominently – specifically in the areas of skilled employment and work experience.
Skilled Employment must be a substantial match to the relevant ANZSCO Occupation. That means that the job description must align with the tasks for that occupation unit group as described in ANZSCO. To quote: “To be considered a substantial match to an occupation, the tasks that are relevant to the applicant’s employment role must comprise most of that role.”
ANZSCO is now introduced to test whether or not work experience qualifies for points claimed. The work undertaken must substantially match the ANZSCO description for that occupation and Immigration New Zealand may request evidence of tasks associated with that past experience. Applicants must have also been suitably qualified for those positions for which work experience points are being claimed, either by having a relevant academic qualification or sufficient work experience to meet the ANZSCO requirements prior to the years being claimed for.
This change will require applicants to produce much more evidence about past employment. A good relationship with past employers will become essential for a successful Skilled Migrant residency application that relies on work experience points.
Election Year Warning!
New Zealand has an election in one month’s time. At the moment political polling has the governing National Party in a close race with Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First.
On Friday I attended an immigration conference at which most of the political parties attended a panel discussion. Unfortunately, New Zealand First who have been campaigning on a major reduction in immigration did not front.
However, Labour and the Greens did. They both made it clear that they would repeal the income based tests for Essential Skills visa, especially they low-skilled visa which they see as socially repressive.
So if we do have a change of Government on September 23rd, it is a fair bet that these changes will be revisited and the income bands removed. However I would not expect them to alter the tighter terms for claiming work experience as a Skilled Migrants there appears to be cross-party support for a tightening in the criteria for residency.
Four weeks is a long time in politics – so I’m not going to pick the election one way or the other at the moment. That’s crystal ball gazing, not immigration advice!