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Longer work Visa’s and new maximum continuous stay

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Longer work Visa’s and new maximum continuous stay

Written by Vanessa Godbaz, our own Principal Licensed Immigration Adviser


More positive changes.

The changes announced by the government in June are now in place as of 27 November. Namely

  • A 'maximum continuous stay' of five years for most AEWV holders, with shorter periods for workers in specific sectors. 

  • An increase in the maximum length of an AEWV to five years for people earning at least the median wage.  

  • An increase in the maximum length of an AEWV to three years for people in the care workforce sector paid the level three and four pay rates. 

  • An option for current AEWV holders to apply for the balance of the longer five-year or three-year visa if they are eligible. Their current visa will not extend automatically to the longer length.  

To apply for the balance of the longer visa, AEWV holders will need to meet criteria. Employers of current AEWV holders may be able to reuse existing job tokens, without completing a Job Check, to support their worker to apply for the balance of the longer AEWV. There is criteria employers need to meet, including holding valid accreditation. 

Processing order for AEWV balance applications 

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) expects a significant number of people to be eligible for AEWV renewals for the balance of five years.

They will generally only start processing balance applications when their current AEWV expiry date is within the next nine months. The applications for associated partners and dependents will also be queued until the AEWV application is decided. 

If an applicant’s current AEWV expires before INZ completes their balance application, the holder will be eligible for an interim visa to let them stay and continue their job for up to six months.

Should I apply if I currently hold a work visa?

As in most things the answer will be different depending on your individual circumstances.

If you are in a role where you currently do not qualify for residency, the extra 2 years may give you a chance to do so, such as

·         Gaining experience to be promoted to earn a higher wage to meet the high income pathway

·         Gaining occupational registration

·         Attaining a qualification

·         Allowing time for possible changes to be made to the current system which would then make you eligible

For those here now with a residency pathway there isn’t a necessity to do so, particularly given that you must pay full cost of the visa for the extension. This also means full cost to extend family’s visas. You also need to remain with your current employer on your current job token, or you will need a new job check completed by a new employer.

What if I do not yet have a work visa?

You will automatically receive a 5 year work visa, as will family members.

Why is there a maximum continuous stay?

The outgoing government is of the opinion that it isn’t beneficial to the country or to migrants to continue allowing roll over of temporary visas to workers who do not have a residency pathway. They believe that employers have enough time within 5 years for temporary workers to ‘fill the gap’ while they upskill their New Zealand workforce or introduce new technology. They do not believe it is beneficial to migrant workers without a pathway to settle their families into NZ life, in the knowledge they could not gain residency.

For the full information from the Immigration New Zealand website click here

Maximum continuous stay and longer visa length for the AEWV | Immigration New Zealand

For advice on your personal situation please contact our Principal Licensed Immigration Adviser Vanessa Godbaz