New Zealand delays new
Accredited Employer
Work Visa

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has confirmed that its delayed new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) process will now be introduced on 4 July 2022. The scheme was initially set to launch on 1 November 2021.

This major shake-up of New Zealand’s immigration rules will see six of the previous work visa categories replaced with a single, streamlined visa process. The reforms are being introduced with the aim of increasing the skill levels of migrants arriving in the country and to lower New Zealand’s economic dependency on lower-paid temporary workers.

The AEWV replaces the following six work visas:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa (remains open until AEWV introduced)
  • Essential Skills Work Visa — approved in principle (remains open until AEWV introduced)
  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa (closed 31 October 2021)
  • Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa (closed 31 October 2021)
  • Silver Fern Job Search Visa (closed 7 October 2019)
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa (closed 31 October 2021).

The application process

The new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) application process will be employer led. Before hiring a migrant on the AEWV, employers will need to:

  • Apply for accreditation under the new system
  • Apply for a job check to make sure the role they want to fill cannot be done by New Zealanders, and
  • Request a migrant worker to apply for a visa.

Employers will be able to apply for accreditation and job check from 9 May 2022, in preparation for the visa’s introduction on 4 July. Employers accredited under the current system will need to apply and meet the policy requirements of the new accreditation system. Employers only need to be accredited when they want to start hiring migrants on AEWVs.

The system will introduce three checks that must be satisfied before an employer can hire a migrant worker: the employer check, the job check and the migrant worker check.

Employer check

To pass the employer check, the employer must have accreditation under the new system. Only accredited employers can hire a migrant worker on the AEWV. This accreditation must be held by the direct employer named on the migrant worker’s employment agreement.

There are two levels of accreditation:

  • Standard accreditation is for employers who want to have up to 5 migrant workers on AEWVs at any one time
  • High volume accreditation is for employers who want to have 6 or more migrant workers on AEWVs at any one time.

The new employer check will replace the following employer schemes which closed to new and renewing applications on 30 June 2021:

  • Approval in principle (AIP) before an employer hires workers on an Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Accreditation as a Talent Accredited Employer
  • Labour Hire employers’ accreditation for essential skills work visas.

Job Check

Employers must pay for a job check to be carried out, and can only hire a migrant worker if this check is passed.

The purpose of the job check is to confirm that the job pays the market rate, that the terms and conditions comply with New Zealand employment laws, and that a labour market test has been performed if necessary. A labour market test shows that the employer has genuinely advertised the role to New Zealanders and that there are no resident workers available to do the job.

The requirements for labour market tests are as follows:

  • For jobs paying below the median wage, the labour market test includes checking with the Ministry of Social Development
  • Jobs paying 200% of the median wage do not need a labour market test
  • Jobs paying at, or above, the median wage in regions also do not need a labour market test
  • In cities, jobs that are on a skills shortage list and pay at, or above, the median wage do not need a labour market test.

Current labour market test requirements continue to apply for essentials skills visa applications.

Sector agreements may be negotiated for some industries which hire large numbers of migrant workers. Agreements could include a workforce plan and conditions on recruiting a temporary migrant worker for specific occupations in the sector.

AEWV migrant worker check

The migrant worker check is the last step in the AEWV process, and this is where the migrant worker applies for a visa. The migrant worker or employer must pay for this check, and in order to pass the worker must show that:

  • They meet INZ’s character, identity and health requirements
  • They meet the skills and experience stipulated as part of the employer’s job check application.

Need more information?

To learn more about the new Accredited Employer Work Visa in New Zealand, please contact a member of the Global Immigration team at Smith Stone Walters – we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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