On 7 October 2019, the Government announced changes to the Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visas (“Talent Work Visa”). These have raised questions about how this will impact applicants’ eligibility under the Residence from Work Category:
- The annual salary has increased from NZ$55,000 to $79,560. The new salary applies to all Talent Work Visa applications we receive from 7 October, regardless of when the employer became accredited;
- Removing the option to get a Permanent Resident Visa if you apply for a Talent (Accredited Employer) Resident Visa; and
- Limiting the amount of time employers can be accredited to 24 months.
Already hold a Talent Work Visa?
If you already have a Talent Work Visa or you applied before 7 October 2019, you are not affected by these changes and the conditions and length of your visa will not change.
If you later apply for a Talent (Accredited Employer) Resident Visa you will only need a salary of $55,000 or more.
If your salary is $90,000 or more when you apply for Residence under Talent policy, you may be eligible for a Permanent Resident Visa. While a normal Resident Visa has travel conditions which can limit your ability to be out of NZ for the first few years, the PRV has no such conditions and may be of significant benefit to some people, depending on their career or life ambitions.
Eligibility under the Talent (Accredited Employer) Resident Visa
The objective of this part of the Residence from Work Category is to enable the grant of residence class visas to people whose talents are needed by New Zealand employers. To apply for this visa, you must:
- hold a Talent Work Visa and have worked for an accredited employer for a period of at least 24 months; or
- during the currency of that visa, have been employed in New Zealand throughout a period of 24 months:
- by any accredited employer; or
- by an employer who is not an accredited employer, provided that the conditions of your visa were varied to let you work for them, or
- by any accredited employer, whose accreditation is rescinded or not renewed during the currency of that visa, provided the employment continued to meet the following requirements.
- the base salary offered must be no less than the base salary that was required at the time the initial work visa application was made – for example $55,000 per year;
- the offer of employment must be full time and genuine;
- they have employment in New Zealand with a minimum base salary of NZ$55,000 per annum if the associated work to residence visa application (WR1) was made before 7 October 2019; or NZ$79,560 per annum if the associated work to residence visa application (WR1) was made on or after 7 October 2019;
Currency of Talent Work Visas
A Talent Work Visa is issued for 30 months. After being employed with an accredited employer for 24 months, you can apply for a Talent (Accredited Employer) Resident Visa.
If the Resident Visa application is not completed by the time the Work Visa expires, you can get a further Work Visa if you are still being paid the minimum base salary that was in place when you applied for the current visa, and you have an offer of employment for a period of at least another 12 months.
Talent Work Visa – A route to Residence under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC)
Obtaining a Talent Work Visa could also be a stepping stone to applying for Residence under SMC. The advantage of securing a Talent Work Visa rather than a Work Visa under the Essential Skills Category is avoiding the need to meet the labour market test dramas. Because, under the Essential Skills Work Visa Category, employers are required to demonstrate there are no New Zealand citizens or residents that can fill the role. This has proven to be a struggle for many employers.
Also, if you meet the points under SMC, you will not need to wait for two years to apply for Residence, which is normally what you need to do on a Talent Work Visa (see above). You can use the Talent Work Visa as a short-cut to Skilled Migrant Residence.
The requirements are not straight forward. Not sure if you are impacted by these changes or need help with visas under the Talent (Accredited Employer), contact Laurent Law for assistance.