Changes affecting partners of work visa holders

From December 2022, most partners of Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) holders will no longer be automatically eligible for open work visas.

From December 2022, partners of Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) holders will no longer be automatically eligible for open work visas unless they are employed in a role on the Green List or are paid twice the median wage. Partners will instead be granted visitor visas. Partners will be able to apply for an AEWV in their own right, if an accredited employer has offered them a role, however this will need to go through the process of job checks and labour market checks as per the AEWV instructions. Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has stated that partners will have the ability to work less than 30 hours per week, reflecting that they are not the main earners in the household. However, INZ has not yet released a policy for this. 

It is important that businesses are communicating this to their candidates when recruiting from offshore as this news could significantly impact a family's decision to move to New Zealand. The change has not been welcomed amongst Immigration professionals, however resilience and solution-based thinking are required through these times and we are here to assist our clients and their families to settle into their new lives with ease.

At Trinity, some of our own staff are migrants and have utilised the partner of a worker open work visa, it has been a great category which has allowed partners to work flexible work hours in order to settle the family into their new surroundings. However, due to the open work rights, employers of these individuals have not been known to Immigration New Zealand. 

The logic behind the accreditation system is to limit migrant exploitation and although the change has been difficult for migrants to navigate, the Accredited Employer Work Visa policy has been established to emphasize fair and ethical practices when bringing migrant workers into New Zealand.

If you wish to discuss partnership visas with one of our Licensed Immigration Advisers, get in touch with us for a consultation!

Updated on 5 December 2022: The Minister of Immigration has announced that changes to partner work visas have been deferred to April 2023. More details on the policy settings will be announced soon.