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Median wage changes and impacts

Wage thresholds for the Skilled Migrant Category, the Green List Straight to Residence and Work to Residence visas, and the Parent Category residence class visa will increase in line with the median wage (NZD$31.61 an hour) on 28 February 2024.

The wage threshold for the Transport Sector Work to Residence Visa will also increase in line with the new median wage (excluding bus drivers).

This increase does not apply to the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV), which the Government signalled in December will remain at the current rate of NZD$29.66 an hour.

For consistency the pause also applies to AEWV-linked work visas that are either set at or indexed to the median wage rate from February 2023 (NZD$29.66 an hour) including:

  • the Partner of a Worker Work Visa
  • variation of conditions for AEWVs, legacy Essential Skills work visas, interim visas granted under the Skilled Migrant Category, and Partner of a Worker work visas
  • Subsequent Migrant Exploitation Protection Visas.

This pause allows time for decisions to be taken on alternatives to the median wage threshold to ensure it is attracting the workers New Zealand needs and filling genuine skill shortages.

Migrants who already hold an AEWV which is paid at the paused wage rate (NZD$29.66 an hour) may continue to accrue work experience for Skilled Residence, despite the increase in wage requirements. However, they will need to have a job or job offer that meets the skilled residence pathway rate in line with the median wage at the time that they apply.

Migrants who do not yet hold an AEWV and are looking to apply for one of the Skilled Residence pathways in the future should note that to meet eligibility they will be required to meet the higher threshold (NZD$31.61 an hour) rather than the lower one they need for an AEWV.

We use median wage data published by Stats NZ:

  • NZD$29.66 an hour reflects the June 2022 quarter
  • NZD$31.61 an hour reflects the June 2023 quarter.

Labour market statistics (income): June 2022 quarter — Stats NZ
Labour market statistics (income): June 2023 quarter — Stats NZ

Wage rate requirements for visas

Sector agreement expiry dates:

All sector agreements and exemptions to the median wage will also remain in place with current wage rates until further decisions are taken on the use of the median wage under the AEWV.

The expiry of the tourism and hospitality wage exemption and the transport sector agreement have been delayed.