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Employer Accreditation and AEWV - Beginning 4 July 2022

05 November 2021

Quite some time has passed since we have been able to share new information with you regarding the Employer Accreditation Scheme. However in late October 2021, the Government finally confirmed that beginning 4 July 2022, an employer must be accredited in order to employ a migrant worker on an employer-supported work visa.

Key Dates for Employers:

  • 09 May 2022: Applications for Accreditation and Job Check open
  • 03 July 2022: Last day for Essential Skills Work Visa
  • 04 July 2022: Employer Accreditation and AEWV are mandatory

How Does Mandatory Employer Accreditation Impact You?

Currently, the only employer-supported work visa available is the Essential Skills Work Visa (ESWV). You do not need to be accredited to support employees on an ESWV.

However, ESVW category closes to new applications on 3rd July 2022.  From 4th July 2022, the only option available to employers is the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV).  In order to support an employee on or after 4 July 2022, you must have received your accreditation from Immigration New Zealand.

Update for Previously and Currently Accredited Employers

Individual Talent (Accredited Employer) work visa holders are now able to move to a previously-accredited employer, so long as the new employer’s accreditation expired after 31 March 2021. 

For example, if your accreditation expired on 1 July 2021, you could leverage your previous accreditation to attract a Talent Visa holder. This migrant worker with a Talent (Accredited Employer) work visa would be able to come work for you, and their pathway to residence would still be intact.

That said, regardless of whether your accreditation has already lapsed or whether you have chosen to retain it, you will need to become accredited under this new accreditation system.

3 Steps to Hiring a Migrant Worker On/After 4 July 2022

In order to hire a migrant worker on the Accredited Employer Work Visa - which will be the only work visa available after 4 July 2022 - you will have to complete these 3 steps in the order specified below:

Step 1. Get accredited

In order to get accredited:

  • There will be two different levels of accreditation. An employer's accreditation level will depend on how many AEWV holders they want to employ.
  • You must be a genuine employer who is compliant with NZ’s employment and immigration laws.
  • You are expected to prioritise the training, upskilling and hiring of NZ workers - only employing migrants where there are genuine skill shortages.
  • You are expected to pay all recruitment costs in and outside of NZ - and your accreditation will be cancelled if INZ finds out otherwise.
  • INZ may seek specific commitments from businesses to complete during the accreditation period.

2. Pass the job check

You will need to apply for a job check for each role you want to hire a migrant worker for. You can only hire a migrant worker on an AEWV for a job if it has passed the job check - which you as the employer will have to pay for.

Among other requirements, you may also need to complete a labour market test (LMT) - essentially prove there are no NZ citizens or residents available for the position. You can learn more about the LMT process here.

3. Migrant worker’s visa (AEWV) application - Migrant check

After the first 2 steps are passed, you can invite the migrant worker to apply for a visa to work in that specific job. Only once the worker’s visa is approved are you able to hire them.

Accreditation Will Be Open Sooner Than You Expect

Although Employer Accreditation, and therefore the Accredited Employer Work Visa, don’t become compulsory until 4 July 2022, you can apply for your accreditation and job check as early as 9 May 2022. 

And while it may seem as though you’ll have plenty of time to put your affairs in order, we must remind you that things move at a lightning speed within the immigration space. We encourage you to prepare for this massive overhaul sooner than later. You can begin your preparations by attending our upcoming webinar (just for employers) on 24 November: Employer Accreditation and Accredited Employer Work Visa Updates. We’ll cover the upcoming employer accreditation in greater detail, and will ensure we have time set aside for specific questions you can send our way.

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