New border exception to support New Zealand Tech Sector

The NZ Government announces new border exceptions for up to 600 tech workers as well as external auditors and primary industry employees

Specialist tech workers wanted

A range of specialist tech workers will be able to request a border exception from early 2022, as part of a Government initiative to support the IT sector, one of the top three export industries in New Zealand, and growing. Eligible occupations include software and application programmers, ICT managers, ICT security specialists, multimedia specialists, cyber security, interactive media, and more.

Specifically, the class exception includes four categories of workers:

  • Software and Application Programmers
  • ICT Managers
  • ICT Security Specialist
  • Multimedia Specialists

Depending on the occupation, applicants will need to meet a certain annual salary threshold, namely at least $120,000 a year for software and application programmers, ICT managers and ICT security specialists, and at least $95,000 a year for multimedia specialists.

The lack of tech skillset in New Zealand has been putting a lot of pressure on New Zealand tech firms and this announcement is seen as a clear acknowledgement of an immediate need for overseas talent. It also bodes well for long term opportunities for prospective migrants who are specialists in this fast-growing industry.

Quota for External Auditors

180 external auditors (and their family) will benefit from a new class exception. Minimum salary thresholds apply for this class too:

  • $70,000 a year for auditors with two to three years’ relevant experience
  • $85,000 a year for auditors with at least four years’ relevant experience

Additional border exceptions for agricultural workers

After a much welcome round of exemptions mid-2021, the Government has approved new border exceptions for up to 200 rural contractors/mobile plant machinery operators, 40 shearers and 50 wool handlers to support autumn harvest requirements. Existing exemptions for dairy managers and assistants have also been merged into 200 dairy farm workers to provide more flexibility for the dairy sector to fill these positions, but the minimum wage requirement has been increased from $27 to $28 per hour.

615 deep-sea fishing crew and 550 cargo crew servicing the Pacific to undertake managed isolation in New Zealand will also benefit from this new exemption.