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​Immigration Accreditation and beyond – What NZ businesses must look out for

27 April 2023

- Written by Arunima Dhingra – Director of Aims Global, Vice Chair of NZAMI and Senior Licensed Immigration Adviser #200900407 

Now that the wheels of Immigration New Zealand’s (INZ) not-so-new Accreditation model are turning well and business seems to be running as usual in the immigration landscape, it is crucial that employers, recruiters and HR professionals stay informed about what lies ahead of the accreditation and job check approvals, their obligations as an accredited employer, and what pitfalls to watch out for.


 1. Post Accreditation – Do you know your obligations?

As an Accredited employer, are you aware of your post-accreditation obligations?

These are placed on you by INZ and need to be completed within 30 days of your Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) holders starting their role. When you submitted your Accreditation application, you made a set of commitments to INZ, via declarations in the application form. Here are things to ensure once the Accredited Employer Work Visa is approved:

Settlement information

The employer is required to provide all AEWV holders ‘settlement support information’ within 30 days of their employment commencing. This is best given to them immediately after their work visa is approved. The information provided must include details covering cost of living in NZ, public transport options, how to obtain an IRD number, health services, relevant community groups, industry hazards, relevant trainings, etc. Failure to complete this on time risks your employer accreditation status.

E-learning modules for employees

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. There are eight e-learning modules offered by Employment New Zealand that help a migrant understand their rights and responsibilities in NZ. Employers are obligated to provide AEWV holders with sufficient time for this, but it is the AEWV holder’s responsibility to complete the modules.

E-learning modules for your staff members

Everyone who makes recruitment decisions within your business (for example, hiring managers and HR managers), must complete Employment New Zealand’s online employer modules once within every accreditation period.

If Employment New Zealand updates or releases new employment modules, INZ encourages employers to provide AEWV holders paid time to complete these updated modules and to complete these themselves.

INZ has confirmed that they will check if an employer has met these requirements via random post accreditation checks and during renewal of accreditation applications.


2. Job checks – A lot more than just advertising and form filling

When it gets to the Job Check stage, which is when an application is submitted to INZ to get the role approved so that you can recruit a migrant, most businesses will focus on what the form requests and meet the advertising requirements (where applicable). But a job check application has a lot more than that.

There are two key areas to look out for in this stage:

‘Future fit’

If you are a business looking to hire for multiple vacancies under one job check, you may have only found one candidate and still be looking for others to fill the remaining vacancies. In such a situation, you could end up identifying candidates who would be perfect for the role with a bit of handholding and may not meet the specific requirements listed in the job check at the time of joining. You may also wish to hire someone based on potential rather than experience. If the job check is not done with 'future fit' candidates in mind, then the candidate you find might not meet the job check requirements, leaving you with two options - 1) do a new job check or 2) find a new candidate. Neither of these options is ideal!

Employment Agreements

The employment agreement (EA) template you submit during the Job Check, is the agreement INZ approves for your business to use for candidates who apply for the work visa. We come across several cases daily where the EA submitted with the job check differs from the one issued to the candidate applying for the AEWV.

The most common discrepancies we come across include:

Reimbursement/bonding has been declared as 'No' in the job check, but it has been applied in the individual EA given to the candidate.

If your EA (submitted during the job check) had no clause on bonding and the job check has been approved with no provision for bonding/clawback of costs, then introducing a reimbursement or clawback provision for any costs you have fronted for a candidate's work visa, relocation, etc. at or after the work visa stage, is not acceptable to INZ.

Different working hours from those declared in the job check.

It can be problematic if the hours stated in the individual EA given to the visa holder differ from the maximum or minimum hours stipulated in the EA submitted with the job check.

In summary, a job check approval forms the mould for a job - one that the work visa holder must fit into and provide qualifications/work experience for.


3. Accredited Employer Work Visa – The final step of the process

You are now an accredited employer, have done the job checks, gone to market, and spent time and resources to find that perfect candidate. Are you going to leave the most important part of the equation – the Accredited Employer Work Visa process – to the candidate to manage? Here is why this is risky:

Do you know if your candidate (and their family member’s) background is ‘immigration friendly’?

Now that you have found the right candidate (via your recruitment team or the hiring manager), do you know if the candidate has the right immigration background to be able to secure a work visa? What if the candidate has a spotless background, but their family member who was planning to travel with them to New Zealand has an issue, such as a child with a medical condition or a partner with a character issue that could potentially affect their visa or, in severe cases, prevent a visa from being granted altogether? In such circumstances, the candidate may decline your offer. If this happens much later in the process, say after the offer has been accepted, the job check has been approved, and the candidate’s work visa process has begun, it can lead to a wastage of several resources and make it unnecessarily challenging with the hiring process having to recommence.

This is why it is crucial that, as a business, you have a seamless way of checking a candidate’s (and their family’s) immigration background before that final offer is made, ensuring that the visa process will deliver a positive outcome.

Because the immigration industry in NZ is regulated, it is important to note that only licensed immigration advisers, lawyers, or exempt individuals who are appropriately qualified and authorised can provide advice and verify if someone's background is suitable for immigration purposes.

Do you know the laws of the country you are recruiting from?

Different countries have different laws; especially when it comes to their workers moving overseas. Having a solid understanding of the laws of the country where you intend to hire from before you start the process is vital. For example, we regularly encounter businesses hiring from the Philippines, but they are unaware of additional requirements the business needs to fulfil before their worker can fly from the Philippines to NZ. Talk to us today if you are in this situation.

Information about moving to NZ.

As we know, the journey is as important as the destination. So, when a candidate is applying for their work visa and doing this daunting task on their own, the experience can get overwhelming and confusing for them.

Some common scenarios we come across regularly that are important for businesses  to be aware of, are listed below:

Candidates applying for their work visas do not know what details were in the job check and/or job advert apart from those that they see auto filled in their AEWV application.

We often come across cases where the candidate does not meet the requirements listed in the job check or if they do, they do not have the right documents to prove it. Documentation to prove work experience and qualification requirements can vary from country to country.

Candidates with a family prefer travelling to NZ as a unit.

A candidate’s decision to come to NZ can be largely dependent on when and whether the spouse and kids can travel along. Have you thought about who will assist with the family’s visa applications and provide advice on if the family can travel together as a unit, when the kids can start school, how long the visa process can take, can the partner work in NZ or not, where things can go wrong, or what to look out for?

Employers allow candidates to manage their own visa process.

As an employer, you could run into potential problems in this circumstance. For instance, you have a project starting soon in NZ for which you need the candidate’s services but there are delays in visa application processing by INZ. In such a situation, an escalation to INZ may be needed and this is not something a candidate can be expected to run with on their own.

We have a range of topics that our senior licensed advisers regularly write on. This is to offer clarity and to simplify the constantly-evolving complex immigration policies. Here are some handy reading resources to understand this complicated world of immigration better.

  • You all know that the current requirement for employer accreditation only applies to businesses that are hiring migrants on an employer supported work visa. But did you know that from 31 May 2023, this requirement will include most partners of Accredited Employer Work Visa holders (AEWV)? Read more here.
  • We know that the median wage increased to $29.66/hr on 27 Feb 2023. But do you know how this affects your business and why you need to know about this? Read more here.
  • Are you a business that is directly working on the recovery in the North Island from the cyclone damage? If yes, did you know that a special new category of work visa called ‘Recovery Visa’ allows you to bring workers into NZ without your business being accredited? Read more here.

We run webinars for employers, HR professionals, and recruiters throughout the year where we simplify immigration policies, key updates, and provide handy tips to better navigate the world of immigration. Register here for an individual webinar or the series and stay up-to-date with immigration policies important for your people and your business.


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