New Income Thresholds

In August 2017 both work visa and resident visa requirements saw income thresholds introduced. Immigration New Zealand (INZ) introduced the thresholds for Essential Skills work visa applications and resident visa applications under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC). Immigration New Zealand indexes the income thresholds every year against the New Zealand median income. In most years, it means the income thresholds go up a little bit. The new income thresholds come into effect on Monday 15 January 2018.

The new income thresholds apply to all new Essential Skills Work visa applications submitted, and Expression of Interest selected after 15 January 2018.

Did you submit an Essential Skills work visa application before 15 January 2018? The old income thresholds apply when a Case Officer assesses your application. Even if a Case Officer makes a decision on your application after 15 January. The same applies to resident visa applicants under SMC. Is your Expression of Interest selected before 15 January? Immigration New Zealand assesses your resident visa application under the old thresholds. Even if your Invitation to Apply arrives after 15 January.


Do you currently hold an Essential Skills work visa?

The changes in income thresholds have the severest effect on people who currently hold an Essential Skills work visa with an income that is just above the current mid-skilled income threshold of NZD 19.97 per hour. If these people apply for a new work visa under Essential Skills and their hourly rate has not gone up, their hourly rate might be below the new threshold of NZD 20.65 per hour. This means their job is no longer classified as mid-skilled but as low-skilled. This might affect their ability to get a work visa and the length of the visa. It can also have implications for their family and their ability to obtain further visas.

Income Thresholds Essential Skills work visa

Income threshold from 15 January 2018
Low-skilled (any ANZSCO skill level)
Mid-skilled (ANZSCO skill level 1, 2 and 3≥NZD 20.65 and
High-skilled (any ANZSCO skill level)≥NZD 36.44

Income Thresholds SMC

Income threshold from 15 January 2018
Skilled employment (ANZSCO skill level 1,2, and 3NZD 24.29
Skilled employment -
ANZSCO skill level 4 and 5 or occupation not in ANZSCO
NZD 36.44
High remuneration bonus points thresholdNZD 48.58