No re-opening of the South Island Contribution Category
Since INZ's latest policy release on Friday, we have been contacted by numerous clients thinking that the South Island Contribution Category ("SICC") has reopened and that they can now pursue a pathway to residence through that channel.
That is not the case. The policy release only makes refinements to the existing SICC policy. It does not reopen it.
The current policy allows for those already holding a work to residence ("WTR") visa under the SICC pathway and who have already applied for residence under the SICC instructions, to apply for a second WTR visa, issued with the same conditions, while awaiting the outcome of their residence application.
The policy change simply relaxes that, allowing a WTR visa issued under the SICC pathway to be varied, or a second WTR to be granted, for a different industry, or different region of the South Island, but not both. A flex on the industry or region will only be allowed where the applicant can show that their employment is no longer available for reasons beyond their control.
Other changes to the WTR pathways include:
- Removing the 55 year age cap for those applying for a second WTR visa while awaiting the outcome of a residence application under that pathway
- Allowing those who hold a WTR visa under the Accredited Employer pathway ("Accredited WTR visa"), who have applied for residence from that pathway, to apply for a further Accredited WTR visa even if their employer no longer holds accreditation. Until now, while it was possible to vary a WTR visa to work for a non-Accredited employer in certain circumstances, it was only possible to renew a WTR visa while awaiting the outcome of a residence application if still employed by an accredited employer. The slight trade off is that second work to residence visas will now only be granted for a maximum of 24 months rather than 30 months.
For further guidance on what residence pathways may be available to you, or assistance with renewing or changing your visa, please contact us.