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Working Holiday Scheme Visas

Published 26 Aug 2022

Just last week the Government has announced a temporary increase to Working Holiday Scheme visas in an attempt to attract more workers to New Zealand over the coming year.
Immigration Minister Michael Wood said these changes will enable an extra 12,000 temporary workers to provide immediate relief to those businesses hardest hit by the global worker shortage.
The new changes include:
  • Extending visas of working holiday makers already here in NZ with visas expiring between 26 August 2022 and 31 May 2023 by an extra 6 months.
  • Providing an additional opportunity for those who previously held a working holiday visa but didn’t travel due to Covid-19 restrictions. New visas will be issued to people from October 2022 allowing them to enter New Zealand by 31 January 2023. This visa will allow them to be in New Zealand for 12 months.
  • Doubling the Working Holiday Scheme caps with a one-off increase to recognise the spots that were unused last year due to border restrictions, starting with the 4 largest capped schemes first; Malaysia, Chile, Argentina & Taiwan, to be completed by this coming September (2022). The remaining countries by Jan 2023.
Temporary work visas like this generally provide a quick fix to the hospitality and tourism industries foremost, if a company is looking to proactively hire on a more permanent basis or specialist skills you should still go through the Accredited Employer Work Visa scheme (AEWV).

There has been some movement on the AEWV scheme also. The Government has introduced new sector agreement settings that provide some limited exemptions to the median wage requirement for hiring migrant worker for certain industries.

Changes being implemented by October 2022 will allow certain roles in certain industries to pay below the median wage requirement as previously stipulated. Affected industries are;
  • the care workforce
  • construction and infrastructure
  • meat processing
  • seafood, and
  • seasonal snow and adventure tourism.
The conditions are varied and extensive in some sectors. For more information on these please see the INZ website here: