NEW ZEALAND: Recent Immigration Updates

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has recently implemented several changes to immigration rules and procedures. Partners and dependent children can now make their visa applications online; the minimum income threshold has been updated for certain Essential Skills visa holders; and INZ will no longer place physical visa labels in passports.

Online visa applications for dependents

Effective immediately, partners or dependent children will be able to apply online for a visitor, student, work or resident visa based on the immigration status of another family member (supporting person).

The supporting person must be either:

  • a New Zealand citizen; or
  • a New Zealand visa holder (resident, work or student); or
  • a visa applicant.

Applications can now be submitted as a family group together with the principal applicant; applicants can upload documents to a portal instead of sending in original documents, and processing times should be faster.

Minimum income thresholds

Immigration New Zealand adjusts minimum income requirements every year to ensure visa holders have enough income to support themselves and their family while in New Zealand.

On 1 July 2018, the minimum income requirement for Essential Skills and Religious Worker work visa holders whose dependent children are in New Zealand increased to NZD 42,944.20. (Note this threshold is different to the skill-band remuneration rates for Essential Skills work visas.)

No more visa labels

Effective 4 July 2018, physical visa labels will no longer be issued by Immigration New Zealand (INZ), unless specifically requested by an applicant, and after a fee is paid.

eVisas will now be issued and will need to be printed out and carried with the physical passport when travelling internationally. eVisas can be used immediately after issue, and physical passports no longer need to be sent in for label endorsement.

The only exception is for students using Provider Direct. INZ will review the use of labels for Provider Direct over the next year.

Visa holders can authorise other people or organisations, including health care providers and travel agents, to verify their visa details, via the Visa Verification Service. Employers and education providers can verify visa details with VisaView.

Our Advice

Employers intending to sponsor foreign nationals for visas in New Zealand should take note of these changes as they are already in effect. Those with specific questions regarding the changes should reach out to their Newland Chase immigration specialists.

For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to New Zealand, feel free to email us at enquiries@newlandchase.com.