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Exploring the New Accredited Employer Work Visa for New Zealand

On this page, we will take a look at the new accredited employer work visa for New Zealand, which is due to be launched in November 2021.

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With a population of just under five million people, New Zealand is highly reliant on foreign skills and labour for its economic growth, perhaps more so than many other countries. Thankfully, there is no lack of skilled migrant workers who are keen to experience the stunning beauty, laid back nature, and great work opportunities in New Zealand. Every year, thousands of hopeful candidates apply for a visa to Immigration New Zealand in the hope they will be granted permission to live and work in the country. On this page, we will take a look at the new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) for New Zealand, which is due to be launched in November 2021.

What Is The NZ Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV)?

Several work visa schemes will be phased out by the end of October 2021 and will be replaced by the new Accredited Employer Work visa (AEWV) from 1st November 2021. The NZ work visa schemes to be phased out include the:

The new AEWV marks a significant change for how Immigration New Zealand will process work visa applications. Rather than being driven by the overseas employee, the new AEWV visa application process is initiated by the employer, i.e. it is employer-led. In this sense, it is rather like some work visa processes in other countries, such as those in Europe, which rely on the employer gaining authorisation to hire a foreign worker from the country’s immigration authorities before a visa application can be made.

What Is The Application Process For The New AEWV Visa For New Zealand?

Before hiring a worker from outside New Zealand, employers will need to:

  • Become accredited under the new system – this means that only accredited employers that meet the requirements defined by Immigration New Zealand will be able to take on staff from outside the country.
  • Apply for a job check to make sure the role they want to fill cannot be done by New Zealanders – the aim here is to ensure that NZ employers are able to justify why they need to employ a person from overseas.
  • The candidate must then apply for a visa to enter New Zealand.

In addition to following the above steps, evidence will also be required by NZIS to show that the overseas candidate has the skills, experience, and qualifications to perform their role in NZ.

What Are The Eligibility Criteria For The New AEWV For New Zealand?

In order for a visa to be issued under the new AEWV scheme, NZIS will check the employer (this is the accreditation process), the job being offered, and the overseas candidate being considered.

NZ employer accreditation requirements

Employer accreditation will be offered at two levels:

  • standard accreditation — for employers planning to have no more than five migrant workers on AEWVs at any one time
  • high-volume accreditation — for employers planning to have six or more migrant workers on AEWVs at any one time.

Businesses in NZ applying for accreditation will need to prove that they:

  • are a genuinely operating business
  • have no recent history of non-compliance
  • are taking steps to mitigate foreign worker exploitation
  • are committed to improving pay and conditions for employees (to gain high-volume accreditation).

NZ employers considering using the AEWV scheme can apply from late September 2021 in order to have accreditation for the opening of the new visa route on 1st November 2021. It is important to note that businesses currently employing overseas workers on the talent or essential skills visas will not need to complete the AEWV accreditation process unless and until they know they will use the new scheme.

Job requirements

Jobs being offered to overseas nationals will be subject to a series of checks by NZIS, including that:

  • the role pays the appropriate market rate
  • the terms and conditions comply with NZ employment laws
  • a labour market test has been carried out where necessary (to ensure that no settled worker is available to do the job being offered). As NZIS states, “A labour market test shows you have genuinely advertised the role to New Zealanders, and there are no New Zealanders available to do the job. For jobs paying below the median wage, the labour market test includes checking with the Ministry of Social Development”. The labour market test is not required where the employer is paying twice the median wage for the role or higher. In addition, jobs in cities on the skills shortage list paying at or above the median wage will also not require a labour market test.

Overseas candidate requirements

The final step in the process is to verify that the candidate to whom a job has been offered in New Zealand meets the AEWV migrant worker requirements. This includes requirements relating to character, identity, health, skills, and experience. This part of the process can be paid for by either the NZ employer or the overseas candidate.

Will The New AEWV Scheme Affect Existing Foreign Workers In NZ?

Overseas workers in NZ on an existing work visa will not be negatively affected by the new AEWV scheme; this is just for new candidates. NZIS states, “If you have a current temporary work visa, you will not be affected as long as you are meeting your visa conditions and your visa remains valid. If you have a Residence from Work visa application underway (requiring a further Work to Residence visa to be granted residence), you will be able to continue this process if you remain with your employer”.

Reiss Edwards have the resources and expertise to assist with all aspects of New Zealand immigration. If you need assistance with your Work Visa application for New Zealand or any other immigration matter, feel free to contact our Immigration Solicitor for help.

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Kiran Sardar

"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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