CHANGES TO THE STAND DOWN PERIO ANNOUNCED 21 DECEMBER 2020
The introduction of the stand-down period will be delayed until January 2022. The stand-down period means that Essential Skills visa holders earning less than the median wage must leave New Zealand after three years for one year before they can return.
ABOUT THE STAND-DOWN PERIOD
How long you can spend in New Zealand on an Essential Skills Work Visa depends on your situation.
If you earn at or above the NZ median wage of $25.50 an hour (at present), then you are eligible for 3 year visa (36 months). If you want to stay in New Zealand for longer, you can apply for another Essential Skills Work Visa. If you are paid above the median wage, there is no limit to the number of Essential Skills Work Visas you can apply for or the total time you can spend in New Zealand on Essential Skills Work Visas.
If you are in work that pays below the median wage, or were previously assessed as lower-skilled, you can only get visas to stay in New Zealand for a maximum of 3 years. After 3 years, you will need to either:
- apply for another type of visa, such as an Essential Skills visa for a job that pays above the median wage, or
- leave New Zealand for 12 consecutive months, then apply for another Essential Skills Work Visa for below median wage work.