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Secondary school teachers move to the Straight to Residence pathway & Enhanced Tools for Immigration Law Enforcement



Secondary school teachers - Straight to Residence pathway


From May 2024, secondary school teachers move to the Straight to Residence pathway!


The Government has announced that secondary school teachers will move to the Straight to Residence pathway, to address the anticipated shortage of secondary school teachers in the short to medium term.


The change enables eligible overseas secondary school teachers to seek residence from outside New Zealand with an offer of employment from an accredited employer, eliminating the prerequisite of working in New Zealand for two years prior.


Secondary teachers applying for a STR Visa will need a job offer that pays at least the new median wage $31.61 per hour.  .  


Other teachers remain on the Work to Residence pathway.


Enhanced Immigration Law Enforcement Tools


Starting April 11, 2024, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will have the authority to issue infringement notices to employers. This measure aims to tackle lower-level immigration non-compliance and discourage exploitation of migrant workers.


Infringement penalties can include:

  • a minimum fine of $1,000,

  • loss of accredited employer or Recognised Seasonal Employer status,

  • and being banned (stood-down) from supporting further visas for migrant workers for a period of time depending on the number of infringement notices the employer receives.


More serious breaches may result in criminal charges.


Being stood-down means employers cannot get their accreditation back or support visa applications during the stand-down period. Stand-down periods include:

  • 6-month stand-down for a single infringement notice, an extra 6-month stand-down for each subsequent infringement notice, and

  • a 12-month maximum stand-down for multiple notices issued at one time.


Employers can hire migrants on open work visas while on the stand-down list. When the stand-down ends the employer must show they have rectified the matter and done what is needed to stop it happening again before they can get accredited again under the AEWV.


Immigration Compliance will be publishing a stand down list on the Immigration website naming those employers who have been penalised and stood down.


Infringements can be issued for:

  • employing people in breach of their visa conditions,

  • employing a person unlawfully in New Zealand, or

  • failing to comply with a 10-day information request.


Non-compliance with these 3 requirements now has immediate consequences. The new tools make it easier to stop employers who have committed immigration offences from accessing migrant workers in the future.

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