Immigration Minister Reviewing Accredited Employer Work Visa Requirements

Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer
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Immigration Minister Erica Stanford reviews Accredited Employer Work Visa, addressing concerns and potentially removing median wage requirement. Queenstown employers worry about visa changes affecting staffing, coordination with Work and Income NZ, and long processing times. Adjustments aim to tackle migrant exploitation and restore workforce balance, enhancing skilled worker entry. Contact Immigration Lawyer NZ for any questions.

G'day team, according to NZ immigration news last month, Immigration Minister Erica Stanford has kicked off a review of the accredited employer work visa, and it's turning heads, particularly in our tourism and hospitality sectors in Queenstown.

Now, Stanford's review isn't just another tick-box exercise. She's zeroed in on the median wage requirement, something that has been a pain in the backside for many employers. Remember, this requirement was bolted onto the visa process by the previous government, supposedly as a quick fix to ensure only skilled workers were heading our way. But, as it turns out, this 'quick fix' might have been more of a quick flop, with Stanford criticising the previous government for what she calls a series of "irresponsible" decisions. That's government-speak for "they messed up big time."

And mess up, they did. Queenstown, is on the brink. It's facing a potential staffing crisis that could see hotels limit occupancy and restaurants close doors — not for lack of visitors, but for lack of hands to serve them. The new visa changes introduced on April 7th have added more hoops to jump through, such as mandatory checks with Work and Income, not to mention a processing time that could stretch to five long months.

Now, imagine this scenario: a hotel in Queenstown, gearing up for the busiest winter it's ever had, only to find out it can't get enough staff. We're looking at a severe bottleneck, folks, that could choke the very life out of our peak tourist season.

But Stanford isn't just stirring the pot without offering a spoon. She's put forward a pragmatic approach, suggesting that checks with Work and Income could be waived if suitable local candidates aren't available. Plus, for those needing to bring in workers from overseas, there's a
glimmer of hope with the promise of more seasonal-specific visas.

Yet, while promises of listening and tweaks to policy are on the table, Queenstown waits, its breath bated as the busy winter season approaches. It's a delicate dance, between managing immigration and keeping our local industries thriving.

For those directly affected, it's more than just policy — it's about their livelihoods, their ability to serve and showcase New Zealand to the world.

As this debate unfolds, it will be a test of balance and foresight for our government. Can they steer the ship without throwing anyone
overboard? Let's watch this space.

That's it for now, Ka Kite Ano.

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author headshot Michael Yoon
Last modified on 18 May 2024 by
Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer
Michael has been working as a lawyer in New Zealand since 2006. Over the years, he has successfully helped thousands of clients to get their desired outcome. Clients find Michael knowledgeable, approachable and professional — a trusted expert.
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