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NZ tightens access to skilled work visas Today's News

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New Zealand is making it harder to get a skilled work visa. Immigration Minister, Michael Woodhouse, announced on Wednesday that changes to the country’s classification of a ‘skilled worker’ were set to be implemented. These changes aim to encourage employers in New Zealand to “take on more Kiwis”, according to Michael. 

The biggest change is that employers would need to provide a minimum income of NZ$49 000 (R457 800) for a migrant worker to be classified as ‘skilled’. Migrant workers earning more than NZ$73 000 (R682 040) would be classified as ‘highly skilled’. Anything less and the worker would not be able to get access to a skilled work visa.

On top of this, there would be a new three-year limit for workers on temporary visas. Once the temporary visa has expired, the migrant worker would then be subject to a “minimum stand-down period” before they can apply for a new visa. 

Speaking at a conference in Queenstown, Michael said the change in policy would improve the quality of migrants coming to New Zealand.

This comes a day after Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, announced that the country would scrap the popular 457 visa. The visa, which ran for up to four years, attracted skilled temporary foreign workers and allowed them to bring family members along on a secondary 457 visa. 

Taking to Facebook, the Prime Minister said: “… Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs… the 457 visa will be replaced by a new temporary visa.”

The new temporary visa will have additional requirements, including previous work experience and good English language proficiency.

The new changes will make it harder for migrant workers to find work in both New Zealand and Australia.

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