Transport sector agreement details confirmed
The Minister of Immigration and Transport has confirmed further details of the transport sector agreement and occupations to be added to the Green List. In December 2022, the Minister of Immigration and Transport announced a transport sector agreement with a 2-year work to residence pathway for truck and bus drivers, and later announced that this would be extended to include critical maritime transport roles. This was intended to support critical national infrastructure such as public transport, waste collection and supply chains.
Median wage exemption for bus drivers
Employers will have a median wage exemption set at $28 an hour when hiring bus drivers for an eligible role on an Accredited Employer Work Visa. To be eligible for the exemption, the role must either:
be for an employer who has signed the All Parties Memorandum of Understanding on Improving Bus Driver Pay and Conditions, or
be as a school bus driver on a Ministry of Education-funded school bus service.
This puts the focus on our most critical public transport needs, while requiring that operators are committed to improving pay and conditions.
Bus drivers hired under the sector agreement will be eligible for Accredited Employer Work Visas (AEWV) for 3 years, despite being paid below the median wage. This will ensure that they have enough time to complete their 2 years of work in New Zealand required to apply for residence.
Transport sector agreement residence applications open later this year
Under the sector agreement the following professions will have a 2-year work to residence pathway:
bus drivers working for an eligible employer in an eligible role (as set out above)
truck drivers primarily driving vehicles that require a class 4 or 5 licence
ship’s masters (skippers) — must hold Skipper Restricted Limits for 500GT endorsement, or higher qualification by the time they apply for residence
deck hands — must hold Qualified Deck Crew or higher qualification by the time they apply for residence
All roles covered by the sector agreement will be able to apply for residence from 29 September 2023 if they have completed the 2 years of work requirement.
Duration of transport sector agreement
The agreement is uncapped and will be reviewed after 12 months. Any changes made to the sector agreement after this review will not affect migrants already on their 2-year work to residence pathway.
Further roles confirmed for Green List
In December 2022, the Minister of Immigration announced several roles across different sectors would be added to the Green List work to residence pathway to help further address labour shortages and provide greater certainty to businesses as they recover from the pandemic.
The profession that will be added to the ‘Straight to Residence’ Green List pathway on 29 May 2023:
External Auditor (221213)
Internal Auditor (221214)
The following roles, as well as the requirements each must meet, will be added to the ‘Work to Residence’ Green List pathway on 29 May 2023:
Civil Construction Supervisors (Building Associate) - Site Superviser, Site Manager, Site Foreman, Build Supervisor, Build Manager, or Civil Project Manager
Skilled crane operators - Crane, Hoist or Lifter Operator
Skilled civil machine operators - Earthmoving Plant Operator (General), Backhoe Operator, Bulldozer Operator, Excavator Operator, Grader Operator, or Loader Operator
Skilled motor mechanics
Skilled telecommunications technicians
With these roles, employers will not be required to show evidence of advertising when they submit a job check, and migrants working in these roles will be eligible to sponsor a partner on an open work visa. Eligible migrant workers will be able to apply for residence from 29 September 2023 if they have worked in a Green List occupation and met the specified requirements of that occupation for 24 months.