FAQs: Accredited Employer Work Visa10 July 2023
Now that the accreditation model is running in full force and has become the way of the future, here are some FAQs on the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV). AEWV is the last step of a three-gate process.
Only an Accredited Employer can hire migrant workers from 4 July 2022. The first step of this process is Employer Accreditation which is granted by Immigration NZ for 12 months initially and then 24 months for subsequent applications.
Note: In December 2022, the Government announced an automatic extension of employer accreditation by 12 months if the employer’s first accreditation was applied for by 4 July 2023. This means that instead of renewing accreditation after 12 months for the initial first accreditation, employers will effectively receive a 24-month first accreditation.
After the first step, a Job Check must be applied. This is gate two. Only after a Job Check is approved, can a migrant be invited to apply for an ‘AEWV’. Please note that, unlike previously, without being invited and getting a ‘token’, which gets generated upon approval of the Job Check, the migrant cannot apply for their work visa.
To help you understand this new work visa system, here are answers to some key questions shared by INZ. These are the questions that recruiters and HR professionals or migrants are asking them.
Can a recruitment agency advertise a vacancy on behalf of an accredited employer?
What type of verification activities may INZ undertake after an initial accreditation application has been approved?
Most verification activities will be desk-based inspections. However, where necessary, INZ may conduct site visit(s) to the premises of an employer or the AEWV holder(s) place of work.
Is there an age limit on who can apply for the AEWV visa?
No. However, applicants for an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) must ensure they meet all normal requirements including being of good health and character.
How long is the visa duration?
Up to 3 years.
Starting from November 2023, the government plans to roll out a new regulation related to the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV). This change will introduce a maximum continuous stay of 5 years for individuals who are not clearly on a pathway to residence. Those who fail to meet the education, qualification, occupation, or wage thresholds required for skilled residence pathways will be required to depart New Zealand for a period of 12 months before being eligible to apply for another AEWV.
It's important to note that time spent on other temporary visas, such as a Post Study Work Visa or Working Holiday Visa, will not be counted towards the five-year maximum continuous stay for AEWV holders.
To align with this upcoming change, those already on AEWVs will be able to apply for a further visa to get up to five years in total (including time already spent on an AEWV). Further details on this regulation is expected in the coming months.
Can an AEWV be granted to allow the holder to work in multiple locations on multiple assignments?
An AEWV could be granted to allow the holder to work in multiple locations on different assignments if this is clearly set out in the detailed job description and employment agreement that was approved as part of the job check application for that specific role. The conditions of employment offered to the migrant worker must match the job description and employment agreement approved by Immigration New Zealand.
What processes are in place within INZ to ensure that if an employer does inform INZ that an AEWV holder has ceased working for them, the employer’s filled job quota number is updated?
Currently the instructions do not allow for a quota space to free up based on an employer informing INZ that their AEWV holder has ceased employment. Specifically, there are only three instances that would trigger a quota space opening up:
1. The AEWV has expired, or
2. The AEWV has been cancelled, or
3. The AEWV has been varied to allow for the holder to work for a different employer.
Will the employee have to repeat the Employment New Zealand’s e-modules if they renew their work visa or apply for a variation of conditions?
All accredited employers must provide sufficient time during paid work hours for AEWV employees to complete all of Employment New Zealand’s online employee modules within one month of beginning employment.
As long as an accredited employer (existing or new) provides for sufficient time, it is up to the AEWV holder to complete the modules or not. INZ strongly encourages AEWV holders to complete Employment New Zealand’s e-modules to ensure they are aware of their rights and responsibilities whilst working in New Zealand.
Do supervisors/direct managers of AEWV holders need to complete the employer e-modules if they have never been involved in recruiting AEWV holders?
No. Only those who are involved in making recruitment decisions will be required to complete Employment NZ’s e-modules within each accreditation period. This could include hiring managers, human resource managers, sole traders, and partners.
When a migrant applies for an AEWV, must an employer include the mandatory information from the employment agreement in the job description?
No. At the job check stage, an employer must have provided a copy of the detailed job description and the proposed employment agreement for INZ to approve. Once the job check is approved, the employer must supply the migrant with a copy of the job description as part of their offer of employment, for the migrant to supply with their AEWV application.
Which visa conditions will partners and dependents of AEWV holders have?
- From 31 May 2023, most partners of AEWV holders will have conditions placed on their visa when applying for a new partnership-based work visa. Read more here.
- Partners of migrants working in occupations on the Green List or paid twice the median wage will continue to receive automatic open work rights. There are no changes to automatic open work rights for partners of New Zealanders.
- Dependents will be able to apply for visitor or student visas based on their relationship with an AEWV holder. Minimum income thresholds will apply. The threshold is currently NZD 43,322.76 gross per annum.