The medium wage rate now determines if an employer assisted work visa is granted for longer than six months; the maximum time the visa holder can remain in New Zealand; and if their partner is able to gain a work visa based on that relationship.
Currently, at $25.50 per hour the medium wage rate is the midpoint of what all New Zealanders earn across all industries as determined by Stats NZ. Simple, yet detached from regional, industry and even the long lingering gender differences, it is not fit for purpose particularly for regional New Zealand, in our view this is simply set too high. While development of the talent pool within New Zealand during this transitional period is proactive, many roles are not attractive or suitable to a number of job seekers.
The dairy industry has a recognized skilled shortage as farmers are unable to recruit sufficient skilled dairy workers. Currently, migrants starting as assistant dairy farm workers earn $50,000 to $60,000, however this rule change will increase that salary range from $65,000 to $70,000. This is an increase of 20% to an industry the country is reliant on for export dollars.
The other industry which springs to mind with a huge migrant workforce, recognized shortage of skilled staff, and providing a critical service are the health care assistants. They commence with an hourly rate in the early twenties and after only 12 years’ experience, or a Level 4 qualification, are then paid the medium wage rate of $25.50. The health dollar will need to stretch as, like that of the dairy farm worker, these folks will need wage increases and that spreads to everyone within their respective industries due to pay disparity. New Zealand is a young country with a small labour force and citizens with expectations, backed by a welfare system.
The wage rate is not the only determiner for a work visa as this stands alongside the employer having to provide evidence of their individual attempts to recruit locally as well as training and developing plans for their workforce. Yet another barrier for New Zealand employers and a blunt tool at that. Never has it been more important to have the services of an experienced professional at hand. Visit us at Heartland Immigration.
Disclaimer: Mary Noonan is Heartland Immigration Ltd Managing Director and her views, expressed in this article, are not intended to replace the professional service provided to individual migrants by a Licensed Immigration Advisers.