Immigration alert: Removing work rights for most partners

7 Dec 22


Currently, most partners of work visa holders can secure open working visas. This is provided the principal applicant has a work visa for more than six months and is paid at least the median wage.


From April 2023 Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will no longer grant open work visas for partners, unless the principal applicant:

  • Meets the Green List requirements; or
  • Earns at least double the median wage. This is currently $55.52 hourly but will increase to $59.32 hourly on 27 February 2023.

Once implemented, partners will need to apply for a visitor visa (which gives no access to publicly funded healthcare) or an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) in their own right.

Partners of New Zealand citizens or residents will not be impacted.

Our thoughts

The government’s update will no doubt make New Zealand a less attractive option for the skilled migrants we desperately need. I suspect the jurisdictions New Zealand actively competes with for these migrants (UK, Australia, Canada) will be the victors of this policy change.

Our advice

There is a very limited window to renew AEWVs and associated dependent visas before this change is implemented in April 2023.


If you have any questions about this article, please contact Tash Rae or a member of our specialist Employment Team.

PDF version: here.

For more information contact:

Tash Rae