You are currently viewing Latest Announcements on Temporary Work Visa Renewal

Latest Announcements on Temporary Work Visa Renewal

The Australian government announced some changes to the temporary work visa settings in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As per the announcement, all the existing employer-assisted temporary work visas for people in New Zealand and visas to expire from 10 July to 31 December 2020 will be extended by six months.

The introduction of the one-year stand period for workers holding down low-skilled work visas for three years was also delayed by six months.

Before you opt for Temporary work visa renewals, read the guide below to learn more about the Benefits of a Temporary Work Visa and announcements from the Australian government.

Australian Government Announcements

The visa announcements result from the government powers that are provided by the Immigration (COVID-19 Response) Amendment Act 2020. The changes to the visa are usually made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on New Zealand. The great effect of the Coronavirus pandemic has been felt by people in New Zealand.

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These changes usually acknowledge that temporary visa holders and local businesses are under great pressure and also face a great amount of uncertainty. The Australian government also stated that these types of measures can allow employers to maintain their current workforce for a greater period and also ensure people in New Zealand are not negatively impacted during this time.

Extension to the Existing Employer-Assisted Temporary Work Visas

The Australian work visa extension applies to onshore employer-assisted work visas that are looking to expire between 10 July and 31 December 2020. It is also automatic for most visa holders and can help extend the original visa expiry by six months. All the other visa conditions will stay the same and that includes the employer, occupation and location.

This extension is also likely to apply to work visa holders that have already been extended to 25 September 2020 under the Epidemic Management Notice. Employers who want to employ a migrant, either for the first time or in a new role will still need to apply for a new visa. They must also complete the needed job advertising and labour market test. Employer consultation with the Ministry for Social Development will still be needed for the lower-skilled roles.

Before you look to apply for or renew your work visa, you must aware of the differences between a temporary and permanent work visa and must know that more than 16,000 Essential Skills and Work to Residence and Sec 61 work visa holders in New Zealand will receive this visa extension and will also be directly advertised for this extension. Though it seems that the holders of specific-purpose work visas are not included in this list.

12-Month Stand Down Period for the Low-Skilled Work Visa Holders Delayed

‘Stand down is the requirement that workers possessing low-skilled essential skills work visas for three years must leave New Zealand for a year before being eligible to be granted a new low-skilled work visa. This requirement which was supposed to begin in August was delayed.

Such work visa holders who are subjected to the standdown between August 2020 and the end of December 2020 had to stay there and work for the same employer under the same occupation for another six months. This usually aligns with the visa extension that is explained above.

If the work visa holder who is subjected to the stand down opts to change to a new lower-paid Essential Skills work visa, the stand down period will still apply. Though the change was time-limited, from February 2021, visa holders to whom a stand-down period applies had to leave New Zealand for a year before they were able to apply again for another lower-paid work visa. Around 600 workers were said to be affected due to this change.

The Duration of All the Latest Low-Skilled Essential Skills Work Visas Reduced

All these new low-skilled essential skills work visas now have a duration of six months which was reduced from a year. The same also applied to applications that were made after 10 July and were said to be in place for the next 18 months. The visa applications that were received after 10 July were granted a 12 months visa upon approval.

What Were the Other Announcements?

The Australian government also announced that the rollout of their reforms to the employer-assisted temporary work visa system also went as planned. All these changes that were announced earlier also involved a ‘gateway’ system, enhanced labour market testing and gave more importance to higher-paid roles. This is especially for employers who are employing work visa holders and must be licensed with Immigration New Zealand.

When Was the First Part of the Reform Process Introduced?

The initial part of the reform process was introduced on 27 July 2020 and saw the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) no longer being used to decide if a job is skilled enough. But, instead, whether a job is considered ‘skilled’ or not depends on the pay rate.

If the pay rate is less than the NZ medium pay rate of $25.50 every hour, the role will be seen as ‘low-skilled’ and any work approved will only be for a six-month term. But, if the pay rate is more than $25.50/hour, the role will be evaluated as ‘skilled’ and the Australian work visa will be issued for three years.

Any role, unless they are on the skills shortage lists, will need the employers to provide evidence that they have made proper efforts to recruit or train a New Zealand citizen or resident for the role. Work visas for low-skilled roles will also need the support of MSD with the help of a favourable skills match report.

What Happened After That?

The workers who are paid between $21.68 to $25.50 every hour and who are in the ANZSCO Skill Level 1,2 or 3 roles started applying for a new ‘mid-skilled work visa before 27 July to acquire a three-year visa. This was because, after 27 July, their pay rate might only qualify them for a ‘low-skilled visa’ that would only be a six-month visa.

What Are Some Important Requirements for Australian Temporary Work Visas?

Some of the important requirements for Australian temporary work visas are as follows:

  • You must get the IELTS Certification with a proper score.
  • You must get your credential evaluated by a specific assessing authority
  • You must submit your medical and health certification when needed.

What is the Process to Apply for a Work Visa?

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To apply for an Australian work visa, you have to be nominated for a skilled position but any approved employer/sponsor. You must fulfil the following criteria to apply for this visa:

  • You must be nominated to work in any permitted occupation on the SOL (Skilled Occupation Lists)
  • You need to fulfil the needs of the nominated occupation
  • You must fulfil the licensing and registration formalities
  • You must be proficient in the English language
  • You must be nominated by a famous Australian employer or business.

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