On 24 February 2020 the wage or salary thresholds for Skilled Migrant Resident Visas and Essential Skills Work Visas will increase.

Once a year Immigration New Zealand updates the remuneration or pay rate thresholds for the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) Resident Visa and the Essential Skills Work Visa.

The new thresholds are based on the New Zealand median salary and wage rate of NZD $25.50 per hour (up 2% from last year) which is equivalent to NZD $53,040 per year for a 40-hour per week job.

New hourly rates for SMC Resident Visa applicants

SMC applicants must be paid NZD $25.50 or more per hour (NZD $53,040 per year) to be awarded points for skilled employment in an occupation at ANZSCO skill level 1 to 3.

SMC applicants must be paid NZD $38.25 or more per hour (NZD $79,560 per year), to be awarded points for skilled employment in an occupation at ANZSCO skill level 4 and 5.

Your application will be assessed against the thresholds in place on the date your expression of interest (EOI) was selected.

For example, if your EOI was selected before 24 February 2020 and you were invited to apply after 24 February 2020, the old remuneration thresholds will apply, even though you were not invited to apply until after the new thresholds were introduced.

New hourly rates for Essential Skills Work Visa applicants

From 24 February 2020, Essential Skills applicants must be paid NZD $21.68 or more per hour (NZD $45,094 per year) for mid-skilled employment in an occupation at ANZSCO skill level 1 to 3.

From 24 February 2020, Essential Skills applicants must be paid NZD $38.25 or more per hour (NZD $79,560 per year) for higher-skilled employment, including occupations at ANZSCO skill levels 4 and 5

Only new applications received on or after 24 February 2020 will be assessed against the new threshold. The new thresholds will apply, even if the employment agreement was signed before 24 February 2020.

If you are applying for a further visa, this may mean the conditions or visa duration of the next visa could be different. For example, a chef paid NZD $21.50 an hour would currently be considered mid-skilled, as the occupation is ANZSCO level 2 and the pay is above the existing threshold of $21.25. If they applied for a further visa after 24 February 2020 they would be considered low skilled, unless their pay increased to above the new threshold of NZD $21.68.

News source: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/media-centre/news-notifications/skilled-migrant-and-essential-skills-2014-remuneration-threshold-changes