The Government is making changes to allow some Work to Residence (WTR) visa holders to maintain their pathway to residence.

The purpose of these changes is to maintain the pathway to residence for some work to residence visa holders who may have otherwise lost their pathway.

The changes apply from Monday 28 September 2020 and affect people who hold the following temporary work visas:

  • Talent – Accredited Employers
  • Talent – Arts, Culture and Sport
  • Long Term Skills Shortage List WTR
  • South Island Contribution WTR.

Reasons for the changes

These changes will assist those on a pathway to residence through Work to Residence who are impacted by current residence visa processing timeframes.

There have been significant increases in the volume of resident visa applications INZ has received, resulting in longer processing times for applicants.

We understand that it may be distressing for visa holders to lack certainty about their ability to stay in New Zealand long term.

These changes will give eligible WTR visa holders more time to hold a WTR visa while their residence applications are considered.

Applicants aged over 55

All WTR category visa applicants must be aged 55 or younger. Due to current processing timeframes, some applicants are turning 56 or older before we can decide their residence visa applications.

WTR visa holders who have already submitted a residence application are now eligible for a further WTR visa even if they are older than 55 years.

Talent-Accredited Employer visa holders

The Talent – Accredited Employer category allows applicants who have an offer of employment with an accredited employer to be granted a WTR visa, if the job is paid above the minimum salary threshold. Some employers have not renewed their accreditation.

A subsequent WTR visa may now be granted for an applicant who has a current Residence from Work application in progress for an employer who is no longer accredited, provided they are continuing to work for the same employer and for at least the same minimum base salary level on which their residence application is based. This further WTR visa is only available while the residence application is in progress, for a maximum of 24 months.

South Island Contribution (SIC) visa holders

SIC visa holders need to be employed in the same industry and region that is listed on their visa. However, since COVID-19 has impacted specific industries and regions more than others this may be difficult.

SIC visa holders who have found new employment due to COVID-19 can now apply for a variation of conditions to change either the industry, or the region of their employment to somewhere else in the South Island. They cannot change both.


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