Remuneration threshold changes – an update for employers

With February fast approaching, it is important for employers to pay regard to Immigration New Zealand’s upcoming remuneration changes. As of the 24 February 2020, wage and salary thresholds are increasing for those wishing to obtain either a Skilled Migrant resident visa or an Essential Skills work visa.

This change comes as a result of Immigration New Zealand’s annual review of remuneration thresholds, and reflects their finding that the median New Zealand wage and salaries have increased by two percent in the last year.

With such changes, employers with employees on current visas have no need to worry. The forthcoming changes will not impact visas which have been approved and there is a lenient transition period. For instance, persons applying under the Skilled Migrant Residence Visa category are able to do so under the old threshold as long as their expression of interest (EOI) is selected before the 24 February 2020. Likewise, a transition period applies to the Essential Skills Work Visa; as long as an application is received by Immigration New Zealand before the 24 February 2020, the old threshold applies. However, it must be noted that applications for a further visa may result in different visa conditions if an applicant’s remuneration no longer falls within its original category. As such, employers may wish to review remuneration rates if an employee is applying for a further visa.

Overall, the new threshold date is around the corner and therefore due consideration must be given to the upcoming changes. The changes can best be summarised under the following categories:

  1. Changes to Skilled Migrant Residence Visa applications

ANZSCO level one to three occupations:

  • As of the 24 February 2020, applicants for ANZSCO level one to three occupations must be remunerated at least $25.50 per hour in order to receive points for skilled employment.
  • Based on a 40 hour work week, this amounts to $53,040 per year.
  • This is an increase of 50 cents per hour, up from the previous $25 per hour threshold.

ANZSCO level four and five occupations:

  • Applicants for ANZSCO level four and five occupations must be remunerated at least $38.25 per hour in order to receive points for skilled employment.
  • Based on a 40 hour work week, this amounts to $78,000 per year.
  • This is an increase of 75 cents per hour, up from the previous $37.50 per hour threshold.
  • It must be noted that there are some occupations which are exempt from this remuneration rate. Exempt occupations are able to receive skilled points for employment if they earn at least $25.50 per hour. Such occupations include but are not limited to a: child care worker, tour guide and logging plant operator. A comprehensive list of exempt occupations can be found online at Immigration New Zealand’s website.

Pay rate to claim bonus points:

  • Applicants must be remunerated at least $51 per hour in order to claim bonus points in an application.
  • Based on a 40 hour work week, this amounts to $106,080 per year.
  • This is an increase of $1 per hour, up from the previous $50 per hour threshold.
  1. Changes to Essential Skills Work Visa applications

Mid-skilled employment in an ANZSCO level one to three occupation:

  • Applicants must be remunerated at least $21.68 per hour.
  • Prior to this remuneration was required to be $21.25 or more per hour.

High-skilled employment, including ANZSCO levels four and five occupations:

  • Applicants must be remunerated at least $38.25 per hour.
  • Prior to this remuneration was required to be $37.50 or more per hour.

Lower-skilled employment, at any ANZSCO level:

  • Applicants remunerated $21.67 or less per hour are considered lower-skilled.
  • Prior to this, lower-skilled was considered to be remuneration of $21.24 or less per hour.

Lower-skilled employment in an ANZSCO level four or five occupation:

  • Applicants remunerated $38.24 or less per hour are considered lower-skilled.
  • Prior to this, lower-skilled was considered to be remuneration of $37.49 or less per hour.

It must be noted that some ANZSCO level four and five occupations are exempt from this threshold and may be considered mid-skilled if they are remunerated $25.50 per hour. Such occupations include but are not limited to a: travel consultant, civil celebrant and a train driver. A comprehensive list of exempt occupations can be found online at Immigration New Zealand’s website.

Workplace Law Team

If you have any queries in respect of the above, or any other workplace law issues, please contact a member of Lane Neave’s Workplace Law Team:

Employment: Andrew Shaw, Fiona McMillan, Gwen DrewittMaria Green,  Hannah Martin, Holly StruckmanAlex Beal, Giuliana Petronelli, Ana Fruean, Elise Wilson, Abby Shieh
Immigration: Mark Williams, Rachael Mason, Daniel Kruger, Nicky Robertson, Hetish Lochan, Julia Strickett, Rita Worner, Lavinia ShanksKen Huang, Sally Stone,  Shi Sheng Cai (Shoosh), Josh TempletonMary Zhou, Sarah Kirkwood, Janeske Schutte, Sati RavichandirenLingbo Yu, Mengying Wang
ACC: Andrew Shaw
Health and Safety: Andrew ShawFiona McMillan

Contacts

Mark Williams
Partner, Lane Neave

t +64 3 353 1063
m +64 21 222 2363
e mark.williams@laneneave.co.nz

Rachael MasonRachael Mason
Partner, Lane Neave

t +64 3 372 6323
m +64 21 1306 540
e rachael.mason@laneneave.co.nz

Daniel Kruger
Partner, Lane Neave

t +64 9 300 6262
m +64 27 517 4828
e daniel.kruger@laneneave.co.nz

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