Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV)

Accredited employer work visa (AEWV) is a new temporary work visa the New Zealand Government is introducing from 1 November 2021. This initiative is driven by the need to fill genuine skill shortages, upskill and hire New Zealand workers, combat migrant exploitation.

What is coming, what is going

The Accredited Employer Work Visa will replace the following 6 old visas:

Employer will lead the process, which will include 3-checks.

All employers will have to be accredited to hire overseas workforce.

Benefits of Accredited Employer Work Visa

These include, among others,

  • A more streamlined process and consequent low immigration risk,
  • Earlier certainty for employers wanting to hire migrants, and
  • Better recognition of various needs of industries and regions

Accredited Employer Work Visa: Important dates

When will the changes take effect?

  • As regards employers, they will be able to apply for accreditation from late September, 2021.
  • The AEWV will be introduced from 01 November, 2021.
  • Applicants for the current employer-assisted temporary work visa categories will be able to lodge their applications before 1 November 2021 (the last day of lodgement is 31 October).

Employer policies closing 30 June 2021

Employers will not be able to apply, or renew their application for, the following three:

  • Accredited Employer (Talent – Accredited Employer);
  • Labour Hire Accreditation (Essential Skills); and
  • Approval in Principle (Essential Skills).

It may still be worth applying for those before the date if a business is planning to hire migrants before the new AEWV comes into effect on 1 November, and this recruitment cannot be put off.

Importantly, those employers who want to support applications under the Essential Skills work visa category, will still be able to do so until the start of the AEWV.

All in all, the process will undergo the following three checks.

Check 1: The Employer

What is required from the employer?

First, the employer needs to be actually operating their business, to have an IRD number and an NZBN. They will also have shown full compliance with immigration and employment law.

Another requirement is to take practical steps to minimise the risk of exploitation by completing employment modules, providing migrant workers with advice on their rights, and paying all recruitment costs inside and outside New Zealand.

Two types of employer accreditation: standard and high-volume

  • Standard accreditation may best suit those hiring up to 5 migrant workers who hold AVWVs at any one time.
  • High-volume accreditation is for you if you hire 6 or more AVWV holders at any one time.

Apart from the numbers, there are more criteria to meet for those who recruit migrants for other parties (e.g. franchisees, labour hire companies and others).

High-volume accreditation additional requirements

On top of the standard accreditation checklist, these employers must either ensure the jobs they offer pay at least 10% more compared to the minimum wage, or are covered by a collective agreement.

In addition to both the standard and, if applicable, to high-volume requirements, franchisee employers will have to show:

  • they have been in business for at least 12 months; and
  • have a history of hiring New Zealanders.

More boxes to tick for franchisees

Franchisees will need to bear in mind their accreditation will last for 12 months and they will have to apply for a renewal if they want to continue.

Triangular employers (where a third party is involved)

These include labour hire companies, employers who send migrant employees on secondment to a third party, parent (umbrella) companies, placing their migrant employees with a third party (e.g. subsidiary, branch) that is a separate legal entity.

Those companies will have to put migrants in law-compliant businesses, have effective systems to monitor employment and safety conditions on site, and demonstrate that at least 15% of their workforce placed with third parties are New Zealanders in full-time employment.

Accreditation period and renewal

All employers will be accredited for 12 months initially.

At renewal, franchisees and employers applying for AEWVs for migrants in the interests of a third party will receive accreditation for a further 12 months.

Accreditation period for all other employers will be 24 months.

Check 2: The Job

In the second check, Immigration New Zealand will need to see evidence that

  • the employer holds accreditation and continues to meet its requirements;
  • the employment is acceptable (in terms of employment standards; pays at the market rate; for at least 30 hours per week); and
  • there are no suitable New Zealanders for the role (labour market test).

Labour Market Test

Labour Market Test Requirement (including Skills Match Report from Ministry of Social Development)

The test will show the employer’s attempts to genuinely recruit New Zealanders. As part of the second check, INZ will determine whether there is a need for a Labour Market Test as follows:

LOCATIONPAY RATEON SKILLS SHORTAGE LISTLABOUR MARKET TESTSKILLS MATCH REPORT from MSD
CITIES
Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, Christchurch, Dunedin
Jobs paying 200% above the median wageN/ANot requiredN/A
Jobs paying at/above the median wage included in Skills Shortage ListYESNot requiredN/A
Jobs paying at/above the median wageNORequiredNot required
Jobs paying below the median wageN/ARequiredRequired
REGIONS
Jobs paying 200% above the median wageN/ANot requiredN/A
Jobs paying at/above the median wageN/ANot requiredN/A
Jobs paying at/above the median wage included in Skills Shortage ListYESNot requiredN/A
Jobs paying below the median wageN/ARequiredRequired

Check 3: The Migrant

In the last check INZ will verify whether the migrant meet the necessary criteria, including those common for temporary visas.

  • the employer will need to request the applicant to apply for AEWV;
  • employment details will need to meet those approved during the job check;
  • the applicant will need to be suitably qualified for the job (in some cases evidence may not be required); and
  • all generic health, character and bona fide requirements are to be met by the applicant.

FAQ about Accredited Employer Work Visa

  • Q: What will happen to businesses that have employees on temporary work visas? Will they also need to apply for accreditation?
  • A: These businesses will not need to get accredited until they want to hire someone on the AEWV.
  • Q: Migrants on a pathway for residency – what will happen to them? In other words, will they have to reapply for an EAWV or be able to continue with their present one?
  • A: Those whose Residence from Work visa applications are being processed (and requiring a further Work to Residence visa to be granted residence) will be able to continue, provided they keep working for the same employer.
  • Q: As regards open work visas (not employer-assisted) – will employers, likewise, need accreditation to hire the holders of those?
  • A: As a matter of fact, there is no need for an employer to become accredited to be able to hire migrants on open work visas, as well as on other visas with the right to work (for example, some student visas).
  • Q: What if an employer already holds accreditation? Will they receive a waiver or have to apply, as a result of the novelty?
  • A: Employers who are accredited under the current requirements will need to apply for accreditation once they want to begin hiring migrants on the AEWV.