Silver Fern Work Visa (Jan 2016)

The 2015/2016 Silver Fern Job Search quota opened on 20 November 2015 and is now full. The Silver Fern Job Search category is very popular and places are usually taken on the opening day. The silver Job Search visa category will re-open in November 2016.

Changes to Skills Shortage List Occupations (Jan 2016)

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has completed its annual review of two of the Essential Skills in Demand Lists – the Long Term Skill Shortage List and the Immediate Skill Shortage List.  Changes will be in effect from March or May 2016.

Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL)
The LTSSL identifies occupations that have an absolute (sustained and ongoing) shortage of skilled workers both globally and throughout New Zealand.  The following two occupations are no longer listed on the LTSSL shortage list:

  • Social Worker  
  • Statistician (Fisheries Modeller)

Submissions to add Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic and Motor Mechanic (General) (Automotive Technician) have been declined.

Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL)
The ISSL identifies occupations that have an immediate shortage of skilled workers either throughout New Zealand or in certain regions. Migrants wishing to work in occupations on the ISSL may be granted work visas under Essential Skills instructions if they meet the specified qualifications and/or experience requirements. The following two occupations have been added to the ISSL shortage list:

  • Glazier (only for the Auckland and Canterbury regions.)
  • Sheetmetal Trades Worker 
  • Metal Fabricator  
  • Surveying or Spatial Science Technician (Building Information Modelling Professional)

The following six occupations are no longer listed on the ISSL shortage list:

  • Accountant 
  • Photographer (Medical) 
  • Chemist (including Analytical Chemist) 
  • Rheumatologist 
  • Orthopaedic Surgeon 
  • Science Technician (Flat Weaving Specialist/ Technologist)

Submissions to add Fibrous Plasterer, Panelbeater and Vehicle Painter have been declined.

Skilled Migrant Category, selection points (Jan 2016)

An Expression of Interest (EOI) is required to initiate an application as a skilled migrant, and an applicant must be invited to apply for residency based upon a points score. Points are awarded based primarily on skill level, qualifications, professional experience, age and various bonus points.  The minimum points score to qualify to submit an EOI is only 100 points, however selections by Immigration New Zealand have not come below 135-140 points since early 2012, so it is not advised to submit an EOI unless you can surpass the selection history or have a skilled job offer.

Biometrics  (March 2013)

Immigration New Zealand now has the ability to store photos of all non New Zealanders and to require fingerprints at entry points to the country.  Photographs will now be scanned at the visa application stage and at the border. Where fingerprints are required, an electronic scanner will be used at the New Zealand border. Photos will be securely stored in INZ’s database, and shared in cases where identity fraud has been detected through fingerprint matching. 



Occupational Ceilings (Jan 2016)

The occupation ceiling is a limit on how many people could be invited to apply for a skilled visa from a particular occupation group. Its purpose is to prevent the skilled migration program being dominated by a small number of occupations.When an occupation ceiling has been reached, no further invitations can be issued for these occupation groups until the following year beginning 1st of July.  Due to high demand, the occupations of ICT Business & Systems Analyst, Software & Applications Programmer, and Accountant have consistently been pro-rated each year to ensure invitations are available throughout the full programme year (July-July).  You can find the current quota table at SkillSelect under the Occupation Ceilings tab. Note: State/Territory nominations are not subject to occupational ceiling restrictions.

New Fees & Application Charges (Jan 2016)

The new Visa Pricing Table arrangements was brought about by the Migration Amendment came into effect from 1 July 2013. The changes include, separate fees for dependent family members of the main applicant and charges for each person in an onshore application for a temporary visa if the person currently holds a temporary visa which was granted in Australia. 
Subclass 457 Fee - Significant Increase
Temporary 457 Nomination has increased from $85 to $330;
Visa applicant (offshore) has risen from $455 to $900;
Visa applicant (onshore) is faced with an additional charge of $700 on top of the $900;
Secondary applicants over 18 years of age (ie spouse and children) will be charged a further fee of $900 each and children under 18 $225. Permanent Visa Fees
Main applicant remains the same at $3060, secondary applicants 18 years of age and above will be charged $1530 each and children under 18 years will be charged $765 each.

Changes to Work Visa, Subclass 457 (July 2013)


The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) has increased from $51,400 to $53,900 and market salary rates and the TSMIT do not apply if the annual earnings are greater than a base salary of $250,000.This has increased for all applicants whose nomination is in progress. All previously lodged applications need to be accompanied with new employment contracts reflecting the new changes. The increased salary level needs to continue to meet the market rate salary for this occupation.

Begin work within 90 days

Before 1 July 2013 – There was no explicit requirement for a visa holder to commence work with their sponsor. This made it difficult for the Department to cancel visas when work had never commenced.After 1 July 2013 – It is now a part of condition 8107 that a Subclass 457 visa holder must commence work with their sponsor within 90 days of arriving in Australia.Extend the period in which a visa holder can seek new sponsored employment Before 1 July 2013 – Condition 8107 is a visa condition that requires Subclass 457 visa holders only work for their sponsoring employer, in the occupation or position in relation to which the visa was granted; and if the holder ceases employment — the period during which the holder ceases employment must not exceed 28 consecutive days. This time period is to allow Subclass 457 holders to find a new sponsor or to depart Australia.

Skilled Occupation Lists (July 2013)

Schedule 1 is the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) for independent GSM or relative sponsored skilled visa applications only. Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 form the Consolidated Skilled Occupation List (CSOL). It applies to both State/Territory nominated Points Tested visas, the Direct Entry stream of the Employer Nomination Scheme, the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa, the Occupational Trainee stream of the Training and Research visa and the Occupational Trainee visa.

Occupations moved from SOL (Sch1) to Schedule 2 of the CSOL:
Hospital Pharmacist, Retail Pharmacist, Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Avionics), Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Mechanical) and Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Structures).

Occupation added to SOL (Sch1):
Registered Nurse (Paediatrics) 

Occupations added to Schedule 2 of the CSOL:
Procurement Manager, Nutritionist, Intellectual Property Lawyer, Archaeologist, Hydrographer and Kennel Hand

Occupation removed from Sch 2 of CSOL:
Anatomist or Physiologist

New Minister for Australian Immigration (July 2013)

Australia now has a new Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Mr Tony Burke. Kevin Rudd has found it hard to find suitable people to serve in his Ministry. Former Immigration Minister, Brendan O’Connor spent only 147 days in the Immigration portfolio before recently handing the reigns over to Burke. Prior to that there was Chris Bowen. That’s 3 Immigration Ministers in the last year. Stability in the portfolio would be useful, however with a Federal Election looming, Burke’s role is also likely to be short lived

Australia & New Zealand Immigration

New Zealand

Australia DIBP Immigration Blog