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Essential Skills Work Visa vs Accredited Employer Work Visa

01 June 2022

It’s the last chance to apply for an Essential Skills Work Visa (ESWV) as it’s about to close on 3 July 2022 with the new visa process kicking in on 4 July 2022.

Essential Skills Work Visa is one of the most popular work visa categories in New Zealand with over 30,000 applications submitted every year. But not for long, as it's going to be replaced by a new visa category called Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV).

Both types of visas allow up to a three-year stay in NZ and tie a migrant to an employer. 

The biggest difference between the two categories is that employers must be accredited by INZ before they can hire a migrant on the AEWV.  

The new three-step process will take about two months and the employer will need to invite a migrant to apply for the AEWV once the first two steps get approved by INZ.

When applying for the ESWV the process is a lot simpler and is migrant-led, so migrants don't need to wait for employers to complete their accreditation.

The process

Up to 3 July 2022, the following factors are considered as a part of one Essential Skills application costing $495. 

1. Employer's compliance with the employment and immigration law

2. Advertising of the role (where needed)

3. Salary at market rate

4. Skills and qualifications of the employee

With the new accreditation system that's kicking in from 4 July 2022, these factors are split into three separate gates with their respective costs.

Gate 1 - Employer Accreditation- between $740 and $3870 (depending on the type)

Gate 2 - Job Check- $610

Gate 3 - Accredited Employer Work Visa - $595

When applying for an Accredited Employer Work Visa a thorough Job Check for each role is mandatory, which is the second gate of the process. It includes advertising as well as many other requirements. Advertising will not be needed for high-income earners (200% of the median wage) or migrants working in Green List occupations and will be strengthened for everyone else when applying for the new AEWV. 

Instead of checking the same employer's compliance over and over again each time the employer wants to support a migrant under the new system, once the accreditation is granted it's valid for 12 months.

Median Wage

This is a key point of difference. Migrants don't have to earn a median wage or above to apply for the Essentials Skills visa, however, this would impact the visa conditions.

On the other hand, AEWV requires applicants to earn at or above the median wage, although there are exceptions for some specific roles these are just transitional arrangements. Only certain roles in construction, care workforce, tourism and hospitality are exempt from the median wage threshold but the rest must be paid $27.76 per hour or above. 

By launching Employer Accreditation and the new work visa, Immigration NZ overhauls the work visa landscape by making employers the central focus rather than migrants as it has been historically. 

The window to apply for the Essentials Skills Work Visa closes on July 3. Take advantage of it! 

Is your or your staff's visa expiring soon? Get in touch with our team today by leaving your details in the form below.Register your interest for Essential Skills Work Visa

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