Median wage changes and exceptions

The new median wage rate of $31.61 per hour will be adopted into sections of the immigration system on 28 February 2024.  Immigration New Zealand uses the median wage data which is published annually by Statistics New Zealand, and the new median wage of $31.61 reflects the June 2023 quarter of labour market statistics.

The new median wage will apply to wage thresholds for the Skilled Migrant Category, the Parent category and the Green List Straight to Residence and Work to Residence visas.  The wage threshold for the Transport Sector Work to Residence will also increase in line with the new median wage (this excludes bus drivers).

Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) exceptions

This wage increase does not apply to Accredited Employer Work Visas or any linked visas including:

  • Partner of a Worker – Work Visas
  • Variation of Conditions for AEWV’s, legacy Essential Skills work visas, Skilled Migrant Category interim visas and Partner of a Worker work visas
  • Subsequent Migrant Exploitation Protection work visas

The median wage for Accredited Employer Work Visas will remain at the current rate of $29.66 per hour.  This pause is to allow the government to reassess the current Accredited Employer Work Visa settings and to consider any alternatives.  This will help to ensure New Zealand is recruiting the workers we need and filling genuine skill shortages.

All exemptions to the median wage will also remain in place at the current rates until the median wage under Accredited Employer Work Visa framework is decided (this relates to various roles within the Construction and Infrastructure, Meat and Seafood Processing, Seasonal Snow and Adventure Tourism, Tourism and Hospitality and Transport sectors).

For migrants who intend to apply for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category (and who hold a current Accredited Employer Work Visa paid at the current paused rate of $29.66), they may continue to accrue work experience required for the Skilled Migrant Category at the paused rate, despite the increase in the wage threshold.  

However, at the time they apply for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category, they will need to have a job or job offer which meets the median wage in force at the time of application.

Skilled Migrant Category (SMC)

There are three skill categories under SMC (income, qualification and New Zealand registration), and under the Income eligibility criteria for SMC, please see the new hourly rates below based on the new median wage of $31.61:

IncomePrevious hourly rateNew hourly rate
At least 3 x median wage (6 points)$88.98$94.83
At least 2 x median wage (4 points)$59.32$63.22
At least 1.5 x median wage (3 points)$44.49$47.41

Parent Category

Please see the new minimum income thresholds based on the new median wage for New Zealand citizens or residents who wish to support their parents under the Parent Residence Category.

Minimum income thresholds for one sponsor

Effective dateMedian income1 parent2 parents3 parents
28 February 2024 onwards$65,748.80$98,623.20$131,497.60$164,732
Previous thresholds$61,692.80$92,539.20$123,385.60$154,232

Minimum income thresholds for two (joint) sponsors

Effective dateMedian income1 parent2 parents3 parents
28 February 2024 onwards$65,748.80$131,497.60$164,732$197,246.40
Previous thresholds$61,692.80$123,385.60$154,232$185,078.40

Transport Sector

Aside from bus drivers (who must continue to be paid at least $28 per hour), the new median wage of $31.61 applies to roles within the transport sector.  These roles include truck driver, aircraft refueller, furniture removalist, tanker driver, tow truck driver, ships master and deck hand.

If you have any questions, please either email your current New Era adviser or contact us here.

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