Immigration Services @ McMillan&Co. and key changes for New Zealand Migrants

08th July 2021

The New Zealand immigration landscape is constantly changing, and in today’s world of border restrictions, travel bubbles and vaccine roll outs, it is more important than ever that migrants, their families, and employers seek expert advice before navigating the system.

At McMillan&Co. we offer a range of services tailored to fit your needs and budget, whether you are an individual or business.

For Businesses:

  • Training seminars on your obligations to migrant workers and Immigration New Zealand and practical recommendations to ensure workplace compliance.
  • Monitoring of migrant worker’s visa conditions and visa expiries
  • Regular updates on changes to immigration law and policy relevant to your business, and advice on how to adapt to these changes.
  • Assessment of whether prospective hires are eligible for a visa in New Zealand and the length of time they can work for the company, prior to being offered the role.

For individuals:

  • Assessment of your eligibility for a work, study, family, visitor or humanitarian visa type, and identification of any potential risks or issues with your application.
  • Expert advice on health or character issues, and preparation and submission of waiver application if required.
  • Assistance with responses to Potentially Prejudicial Information requests.
  • End to end service, from the initial consult to the final decision.

Update: Latest Changes for migrants

Median Wage increase, from $25.50 to $27.00 per hour

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) uses the median wage to assess Essential Skills Work Visas (ESWV).

From 19 July 2021, the median wage is set to increase to $27 per hour.

For ESWV holders paid between $25.50 – $26.99 per hour, this change will impact the length of time their visa is granted for.  These individuals are currently eligible to be granted three year work visa. However, from 19 July 2021, their Essential Skills work visas would be granted for a maximum duration of only 12 months.

If you are an employee who will be affected by this change, or if you are an employer with any staff within this category we recommend that you urgently consider a work visa extension prior to the 19 July 2021 deadline.

Introducing the Migrant Exploitation Protection Work Visa (MEPV)

On 1 July 2021, the MEPV was introduced, which forms part of a wider Government initiative to combat all forms of exploitation.

The main objectives of the MEPV are to:

  • Enable holders of an employer supported work visa to leave an exploitive workplace situation quickly; and
  • Increase the incentives on migrants to report exploitation; and
  • Maintain the integrity of the immigration system.

To be eligible for an MEPV visa, the migrant worker needs to have made a report of exploitation to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and MBIE has assessed that it is credible exploitation has occurred.

MBIE has indicated that further policy and legislative change will include the establishment of three new immigration offences targeting non-compliant employer behaviour, disqualify people convicted of migrant exploitation and migrant trafficking from managing or directing a company and ensuring that employers with serious immigration convictions cannot support applications for migrant workers.

If you have any questions, or concerns about immigration compliance within your business, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Refunds for lapsed temporary visa applications

On 7 July 2021, INZ announced that certain temporary visa applications which cannot be approved due to the current border restrictions will be lapsed. Application fees and levies will be refunded to the applicant in situations where INZ is unable to legally grant visas to people outside of New Zealand who are unlikely to meet the INZ entry requirements.

INZ currently has about 50,000 temporary visa applications on hand that will be refunded. These are mainly visitor, student and work visa applications. INZ have advised that the affected visa applicants do not need to do anything. If they are eligible for a refund INZ will email them, or their representative, when their refund is being processed. 


Sarah Caulton, Senior Associate