New accreditation scheme & work visa changes- by Zinnia Manchanda

From mid-2021, all employers who wish to hire migrant workforce will need to be accredited by Immigration New Zealand. This is a substantive change and many details (such as pricing) are still being worked through and expected to be released later this year.

The new visa and framework will have a phased implementation in 2021. This will ensure that all employers are not required to be accredited on the same day. The current accreditation scheme will be replaced by a new version of employer accreditation and existing accredited employers will have a streamlined transition into the new system.

With this new scheme, there will be 3 gateways, or stages, to supporting a work visa application – employer check, job check, worker check. Each stage is to be crossed, before the next one can be reached.

The first step in the application process will be the employer check. All employers will be required to be accredited before they can employ foreign workers.

After an employer is verified as accredited, the job check will then assess whether the job that the employer is seeking to recruit for is genuine, has terms and conditions (including pay) that are consistent with New Zealand standards and that the employer has made real attempts to recruit a New Zealander. Once an employer has passed the employer and job checks, they will be able to support a foreign worker for a temporary work visa.

The worker check is the last stage of the application process and will check that the foreign worker meets health and character requirements. This part of the application will be made directly by the foreign worker or their representative, not the employer.

As a part of these changes, 6 ‘employer-supported’ work visa categories will be merged into one – called ‘Temporary Work Visa’.

In order to support a migrant worker for the ‘temporary work visa’, an employer must pass through the first gateway i.e. have accreditation most appropriate to their circumstances and then also the second gateway i.e. job check.

Navigating the changes in policies and new accreditation system can be challenging. If you’d like to know more about this process and understand the information that has been released so far by INZ, please feel free to contact arunima@aimglobal.co.nz or zinnia@aimsglobal.co.nz. Plus, you can subscribe to our monthly newsletter to get updates on the latest changes in the immigration landscape.

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