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NZ Update!! – Sector agreements and care workers’ residence pathway

Sector Agreements coming into force.

In August 2022, the Government announced details of the sector agreements for:

  • the care workforce
  • construction and infrastructure
  • meat processing
  • seafood, including onshore processing and sea-based fishing crew, and
  • seasonal snow and adventure tourism.

These changes will come into effect on 31 October 2022 through the Accredited Employer Work Visa.

The sector agreements were signalled in the Government’s Immigration Rebalance announcement. They will allow limited exceptions to the median wage requirements for hiring migrants on an Accredited Employer Work Visa in specific occupations (and the Fishing Crew Work Visa in the case of fishing crew).

The settings include pay rates, timeframes, stand down periods for some sectors and relevant roles. They were developed in consultation with key sector bodies, unions and government agencies. They have been tailored to the specific workforce needs and conditions.

Each agreement includes expectations for improvement, including the implementation of Workforce Transition Plans and Industry Transformation Plans for sectors that have these. Performance against these will be monitored and feed into reviews and decisions about future access to migrants below the median wage.

The Minister of Immigration will write to sector bodies and unions specifying these expectations. Lower thresholds already in place for a number of care and construction roles will continue until the sector agreements come into force from 31 October 2022.

In February 2023, the median wage will be updated in the immigration system. This will affect the wage thresholds for the construction and infrastructure, meat processing, onshore seafood processing and seasonal snow and adventure tourism sector agreements.

New median wage to apply from February 2023

To use sector agreements, employers just need to follow the normal Accredited Employer Work Visa process. Employers will need to be accredited and have an approved job check at the sector agreement wage threshold. 

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