The median hourly wage threshold is likely to increase to $27 per hour in November 2020.
The median hourly wage threshold is used by Immigration New Zealand for:
- determining the length of visa obtained by temporary visa holders (either three years or six months);
- whether a job offer is skilled or not for skilled migrant category; and
- whether sponsors meet the minimum income threshold for parent category.
This hourly wage is based on the annual labour market statistics. The wage per hour is generally updated by Immigration New Zealand in November of each year. The current wage threshold per hour is $25.50.
The June 2020 quarter labour market statistics (income) were released on 26 August 2020 (https://www.stats.govt.nz/news/incomes-fall-for-first-time-on-record). While actual incomes fell in this quarter, the median hourly rate increased to $27 per hour. This is a substantial increase (5.8%) especially in comparison to previous increases. These statistics have been heavily influenced by Covid-19. The media release (see above) states that:
- While earnings from wages and salaries appear to have risen, this is mainly because many people from lower-income industries reported no earnings. People who said they did not have any income were not included in the figures for wages and salaries, therefore lifting the median weekly income. However, they were included in the overall income measure.
- More people receiving government transfers will also have brought the overall median down, as the amounts they receive tend to be less than those from other income sources.
Given the anomaly created by the data that these statistics are based on, one would hope that Immigration New Zealand does not adopt this new minimum wage per hour figure for this year. Greenstone has already lobbied with senior Immigration Officers that such a move would be inappropriate, given the pressure on employment.
However, we advise migrants who do not want to be caught out by this potential increase in hourly wage thresholds from $25.50 to $27 to submit their work visas as soon as possible and before November 2020.
If you need assistance with any aspect of your visa please contact us.
Director and Licensed Immigration Adviser.