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Accredited Employer Work Visa - Coming in 8 Months!

17 October 2021

Today, the Government confirmed the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) will be introduced on 4 July 2022. Some may remember that this visa was initially earmarked for 1 November 2021 but was postponed until the systems and processes were ready. However, we did not know exactly when this would start; we were just told mid-2022. Today, we received this date.

We ask you take a moment to stop and appreciate how big a change this is. The entire work visa scheme is being overhauled with these new changes. For the migrants wondering if you will be impacted, even though your 2021 Resident Visa will be submitted by then – the answer is yes, absolutely! 

These changes will impact you for as long as your residence is in progress (which is expected to be around 12-months).

Key Dates for Employers and Migrant Workers:

  • 31 October 2021: Applications close for Talent (Accredited Employer), LTSSL and Silver Fern Practical Experience visa.
  • 09 May 2022: Accredited Employer Check (allowing employers to become accredited in advance) and applications for job check open.
  • 03 July 2022: Applications close under the Essential Skills Work Visa policy.
  • 04 July 2022: Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) policy goes live.

Key Points for Employers and Migrant Workers:

These new changes impact both individual migrant workers, as well as every single employer in New Zealand who relies on migrant workers. With the approach of this new visa, everything we have known and grown used to about the work visa landscape in NZ will change.

The Process:

  • There will be two different levels of accreditation. An employer's level will depend on how many Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) holders they want to employ.
  • A migrant can only apply for the work visa once the accreditation stage is ticked off and the job check stage is approved.
  • Accreditation is initially granted for 12 months. Then, unless the employer is a franchisee or part of a triangular employment agreement, the accreditation can be renewed every two years.  

Employers:

  • The accreditation must be held by the direct employer named on the migrant worker’s employment agreement.
  • The business must be a genuine employer who is compliant with NZ's employment and immigration laws.
  • Businesses would be expected to prioritise the training, upskilling and hiring of NZ workers – only employing migrants where there are genuine skill shortages.
  • Employers are expected to pay all recruitment costs in and outside of NZ. If INZ finds out otherwise, they will cancel the accreditation.
  • INZ may seek specific commitments from businesses to complete during the accreditation period.

Labour Market Test (LMT):

  • The strictness of the labour market test (LMT) depends on the location (region) of the job.
  • It will be stricter for regions with ‘higher-supply’ of New Zealanders – these regions (as well as ‘lower-supply’ regions) will be identified by Immigration New Zealand (INZ).
  • Jobs paid below median wage must pass the full LMT, including advertising and listing the job with Work & Income NZ (WINZ).
  • Showing pay rate and hours of work in job adverts are required.
  • Advertising must show the minimum qualifications, work experience, skills and/or other specific requirements of the job.
  • The WINZ-issued Skill Match Report (SMR) process will be tightened, including how actively an employer engages with WINZ referrals.
  • The LMT will fail if the SMR shows the employer has actively disengaged, despite what the rest of the SMR says.

Migrant Workers:

  • Stand down periods - currently delayed till 1 July 2022 - will be reintroduced.
  • INZ will check to see if migrant worker meets requirements of AEWV, including skills and experience for the job.
  • A new pathway to residence will be introduced for migrants who have held an AEWV for two years and are paid at least 200 percent of the median wage (this value is currently $54/hour or $112,320 pa for a 40 hour week).
  • Character, health and bonafide requirements will remain as they are.

The new system is quite different to the current Essential Skills Work Visa setup, despite the similarities in the advertising process. 
To support employees on Essential Skills, which will be the only application available from 1 November 2021 to 3 July 2022 (another eight months), employers do not need to be accredited. But in a post 4 July 2022 world, a visa cannot be supported (or even renewed) if the employer has not received their accreditation approval from Immigration New Zealand. 


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Essential Skills Work Visa - What Is a "Labour Market Test?" 20 September 2021

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Top Tips - How to Hire Migrants on an Essential Skills Work Visa 20 October 2021

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FAQs - Upcoming Employer Accreditation Changes 11 June 2021

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