New Zealand Tightens Visa Regulations, Shortens Work Permits And Language Proficiency For International Workers

New Zealand Tightens Visa Regulations, Shortens Work Permits And Language Proficiency For International Workers

The new rules focus on skills and language proficiency, and they also shorten the duration of work permits for international citizens.

Siksha MUpdated: Wednesday, April 10, 2024, 06:59 PM IST
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New Zealand has introduced stricter visa regulations to address concerns about high levels of migration. The new rules focus on skills and language proficiency, and they also shorten the duration of work permits for international citizens.

Key Changes in Visa Regulations

According to Immigration Minister Erica Stanford, the government is concentrating on attracting and retaining highly skilled migrants, such as secondary teachers, to address skill shortages.

English language proficiency will be mandatory for low-skill jobs.

Most work visas will require a minimum level of skills, such as work experience or suitable qualifications.

The maximum continuous stay permitted on work permits will be shortened to three years from five.

Employers are encouraged to hire immigrants only after ensuring there are no suitable and available New Zealander candidates for the job.

Employers seeking to fill level 4 and 5 positions must engage with Work and Income before migrant approvals.

The government will issue a new Accredited Employer Worker Visa (AEWV) for employers, requiring migrants to be employed for at least 30 hours per week.

However, these changes will not affect those on a pathway to residence. From April 7, 2024, applicants for a further AEWV must meet updated criteria, which could impact their ability to work in New Zealand for up to five years, according to media reports.

Why is New Zealand tightening the visa regulations?

The tightening of visa regulations is in response to a surge in migration, with 173,000 non-New Zealanders relocating to the country in 2023, according to BBC reports. With a population of 5.3 million, New Zealand aims to prioritise job opportunities for its citizens. The government seeks to create a 'smarter immigration system' to effectively manage net migration while ensuring locals have access to job opportunities.

The government's objective is to develop a more efficient immigration process that responds to changing economic conditions, attracts top talent, revitalises international education, is self-funding and sustainable, and better manages risk. The new regulations aim to balance migration while safeguarding local job opportunities.

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