Immigration NZ Changes AEWV Visa Rules Again

Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer

New rules in NZ's AEWV scheme limit family visas for lower-tier job holders, impacting residency pathways and family unification. Contact Immigration Lawyer NZ for any questions.

So, in this Immigration NZ news announced today, the government has pulled another one out of its hat, changing the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) scheme yet again. This time, it’s a real kick in the teeth for those holding visas for roles at the lower end of the job spectrum, classified as ANZSCO levels 4 and 5. As of today, if you’re in one of those roles without a pathway to residency, forget about getting your partner or kids to join you in New Zealand on a work, visitor, or student visa.

Now, they can still come, but they’ll need to qualify on their own merits, which might be a stretch for many. This isn’t just about the immediate family impact; it's a broader message about the government’s stance on immigration and job classification. They’re essentially saying, if your job doesn’t pave the way to residency, don’t expect any favours.

Of course, there are exceptions. If you’re already holding a visa as a partner or dependent child, you’re safe. AEWV holders working in roles that do lead to residency, like those on the Green List or under sector agreements, or if you’re earning at least 1.5 times the median wage for the Skilled Migrant Category, you’re also in the clear. And if you’ve already got an application in progress, you won’t be affected by this latest tweak.

This change is apparently in line with adjustments made to the AEWV scheme earlier in the year, harking back to the old Essential Skills Work Visa days. It’s all very neat and tidy for the government, but for the affected visa holders, it’s another example of shifting goalposts that leave them scrambling. This isn’t just about visas; it’s about the lives and futures of families who have made New Zealand their home, only to find the welcome mat pulled out from under them.

What this really highlights is the precarious nature of immigration policy under this government. One minute you’re welcome, the next, you’re not. It’s unsettling, it’s disruptive, and frankly, it’s pretty gutting for those affected.

But then again, this is how this government operates – lots of talk about being progressive and inclusive, but when the rubber hits the road, it’s a different story. This change isn’t about aligning policies or fine-tuning immigration settings; it’s about sending a message. And that message is clear: if you’re not on a pathway to residency, you’re not a priority.

So, as we navigate these choppy immigration waters, one thing remains certain – for many, the dream of a stable, secure life in New Zealand just got a lot more complicated. And for those caught in the crossfire, it’s another bitter pill to swallow.

And that's the immigration news for Aotearoa today. Do subscribe and follow for more immigration content. Ka Kite Ano.

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Last modified on 26 June 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.

Remember, New Zealand immigration laws and policies change constantly, without warning.

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