Employer-assisted work visa holders (and their partners and dependent children) who have a job and whose visas are expiring from January to July 2021 will have their visas automatically extended by another six months.
The stand-down period, during which low-paid Essential Skills visa holders have to leave New Zealand, will be postponed until January 2022. The stand-down period means that Essential Skills visa holders earning less than the median wage (currently $25.50) must leave New Zealand for 12 months after having worked here for three years before they can return.
Immigration New Zealand will continue to use the 2019 median wage of $25.50 per hour for immigration settings until at least July 2021 at which point the median wage will rise to $27 per hour.
Working Holiday visas will be extended for six months, and restrictions will be relaxed on the maximum duration of work permitted, allowing Working Holiday visa holders to continue working in any industry they choose (including horticulture and wine sector roles).
Working Holiday makers will no longer be transferred onto a Supplementary Seasonal Employer work visa when their working holiday visa expires. Migrants already on an SSE visa will be able to continue working for the horticulture and wine sectors, or apply for an Essential Skills visa if they find alternative qualifying work.