Update to the Essential Skills Work Visa Category

Are you a work visa holder who intends to apply for residency? If you are, the recent law changes will take some of the pressure off, and may affect your case. In this weeks blog Rita Worner discusses a recent change to immigration instructions that will have many immigrants and their employers rejoicing.

To download the PDF version of this blog click here

The Essential Skills visa is the most common type of work visa that is based on employment. It often causes a lot of difficulty, qcl fullemployers are required to prove that they have advertised the position locally and have been unable to find a suitable New Zealand candidate (known as “the labour market test”). This must be proven for each and every work visa application, regardless of when the employer last advertised and how many candidates applied for the role. However, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) have updated the policy with a small but significant change.

From 1 February 2015 onwards, applicants under the Essential Skills category who have a pending residence application under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) are no longer required to submit proof of advertising.

The following conditions apply:

(1) The applicant must currently hold a Work Visa;
(2) The applicant must be applying under the Essential Skills category to continue working in the role they currently hold;
(3) The position/role must be the same in both the Work Visa application and the SMC application;
(4) The applicant must have either already submitted their SMC application, or have been Invited to Apply and retain the ability to apply;
(5) The applicant must meet all other criteria under the Essential Skills category.
qcl work visaIf you meet the above requirements, you may be granted a work visa valid for 12 months. In exceptional circumstances, you can also be granted a further work visa for an additional 6 months if you continue to meet the requirements and your SMC application has not been completed.

This change will take some of the pressure off work visa holders who intend to apply for residency.

If you require any assistance with your work visa or residence applications, talk to the team at Queen City Law. We can assess whether your employer will need to advertise, and help you ensure you meet all the criteria and have sufficient documentation.

For more information on Immigration Law you can see our Immigration Law Library here. To read more about the recent law changes click here. For more about QCL immigration services click here.

Rita is an experienced immigration lawyer who is primarily involved in immigration and employment law at Queen City Law. She has previously worked for the NZ Government established Immigration Adviser’s Authority. Rita speaks fluent Spanish. To read more about Rita Worner click here