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Renewing Immigration Accreditation – Does your business need to? (and what to keep in mind)

12 March 2024

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has completed nearly 34,000 accreditation applications as part of the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) scheme. Renewals of these accreditations will kick off in July 2024.

If you are a business that has hired migrant workers in the past but is not looking to hire more migrants, you may be wondering if you need to renew your accreditation. This article will answer your questions.

Conversely, if your business will need to keep hiring migrant workers to fill its labour gaps and you are wondering what the renewal obligations entail, the article will address that too.

Businesses that have hired migrant workers

Let’s say your business applied for accreditation 2 years ago, hired a few migrant workers, but is not looking to hire more international workers in the foreseeable future. Whether or not your business must renew its accreditation with INZ boils down to two possible situations:

  1. If you have migrant employees already in your business who were hired on an AEWV, working towards residence, and you are supporting their pathway to it.
  2. If you have no migrant employees on a possible residence pathway.

If your organisation falls into the former category, i.e., your workers are working towards their residence in New Zealand through their experience with your business, then for them to be able to apply for residence, your business will need to be accredited.

Businesses in the latter category, i.e., with no one working towards residence and not planning to hire any migrant workers, will not have the need or incentive to renew.

So, when considering whether to renew your accreditation, it's important not only to think about the new workers you may need to hire but also to consider the plans of your current workers and whether they intend to apply for residency through your business. This is a crucial factor to consider when assessing your accreditation renewal needs.

Accreditation renewal process

While second-time accreditation doesn’t need to be applied for just yet, it is important that businesses are fully aware of and start getting prepared for what this process involves.

When first-time accreditation applications were submitted, they were declarations based on obligations that businesses and their key people would need to meet in the future, during the tenure of the accreditation. The process was ‘future focused’. 

With the accreditation renewal applications, we expect INZ to check the delivery of those promises and declarations businesses made in their original applications. We anticipate requests for evidence in these applications to confirm that the businesses have done what they promised they would as accredited employers. These may include providing newly hired AEWV migrants with settlement support, giving them paid time to complete Employment New Zealand’s (ENZ) online modules, and ensuring key staff members complete ENZ’s online employer modules, along with several other obligations.

Consequences of not renewing accreditation

If your business does not renew its accreditation, the expired accreditation does not prevent your AEWV worker from continuing their employment with your business. But it also means that:

  • You will not be permitted to hire new migrants on AEWV or a Variation to their AEWV from another employer (whether from overseas or already in New Zealand), and
  • The migrant worker will not be allowed to apply for residence based on work with your organisation.

The work visa for AEWV holders isn't dependent on the employer's accreditation status throughout their visa's duration. So, onshore AEWV holders can keep working for the employer even if the employer doesn't reapply for accreditation. However, these AEWV holders won't be able to renew their visa with the same employer because the employer no longer holds accreditation. If an AEWV holder wants to work for a different accredited employer, they can apply for a Job Change or a new AEWV.

If you are an employer gearing up for the renewal of your accreditation and want to ensure you tick all the requisite boxes, talk to us today.

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