New work visa process to help 30,000 businesses, says Immigration Minister

Changes to temporary work visas are set to come into force to help 30,000 businesses fill skill shortage gaps. 

Building site. (file image) Source:

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway announced a new temporary work visa process from Rotorua, describing it as "more streamlined and less complex, replacing six visa categories with one temporary work visa".

"It ensures there is an employer check, a job check and a worker check.

"The process allows us to ensure foreign workers are only recruited for genuine shortages, helps us reduce exploitation, and creates better connections between immigration, education and welfare systems."

Changes include reinstating the ability for lower-paid workers to bring family to New Zealand, replacing the existing skills bands with a remuneration threshold and replacing the current set of skills shortage lists for cities and open access for regions.

The changes will be implemented between 2020 and 2021. 

"It will make the process of hiring a foreign worker easier and more straightforward," Mr Lees-Galloway said.

"A regional approach to the labour market test will ensure that foreign workers are able to be recruited for genuine skill shortages in regions with lower numbers of New Zealanders available for work, while ensuring that the labour market is tested regularly in areas with higher availability of New Zealanders."