Immigration New Zealand releases sleepover hours guidelines
Immigration New Zealand has released a new Visa Pak this month, clarifying its position on sleepover hours in the aged and residential care industry.
In line with the new Visa Pak, case officers will factor sleepover hours into their remuneration calculations when assessing SMC residence and Essential Skills work visa applications. Immigration policy for these applications states that each hour of work must be paid at or above the applicable remuneration threshold. INZ has now clarified through the Visa Pak that hours where the employee is allowed to sleep during a shift are still considered hours of work, and must be paid accordingly despite employees not carrying out their full duties during these hours.
As a result, any sleepover hours paid at a rate less than the current median wage will mean that the remuneration threshold, and therefore the policy requirements, are not met.
The Visa Pak has been released to ensure consistency across work and resident visa applications based on jobs in this industry, and this new guidance therefore affects anyone looking to apply for an Essential Skills work visa or residence, or anyone with a current application pending where their employment is the basis for their application. It will not however impact open work visa holders, or anyone whose visa is not dependent on employment that meets a specified pay threshold.
Should INZ identify an issue with the rate of pay for sleepover hours, they will not automatically move to decline an application. Applicants will be provided with an opportunity to comment, or to provide new documents such as an amended employment agreement, before a decision is made.
For advice on the effect of your sleepover hours clause, and how best to preserve your eligibility for a visa under one of the above categories, please contact us.