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Accredited Employer Work Visa

Employment Visa New Zealand Immigration Advisers

Are you considering applying for an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) or providing a job offer for an employee? If so, it's in your best interest to learn about this type of visa to prevent any issues that may arise in the immigration process.

Applying for an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) through Immigration New Zealand can be a complicated process, but luckily, we are here to guide you through everything you need to know about the process, from becoming an accredited employer to applying for an AEWV for your skilled workers.

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

An Accredited Employer Work Visa allows an employee to live and work in New Zealand for up to three years. This visa is only available to those sponsored by an accredited employer.

To become an accredited employer, you must meet specific criteria to prove you are a viable business with sound financial history and a history of compliance with immigration and employment law.

Due to the benefits this type of visa offers, it is considered highly desirable. However, since it is desirable, they are also competitive visas to obtain. Therefore, it's recommended that you should do everything necessary to stay within the guidelines and compliance requirements set by Immigration New Zealand.

Following the announcement of the new Accredited Employer Work Visas, certain occupations can gain pathways to residence. The jobs on the Tier 1 Green List are roles that mean migrants can apply for residence immediately if they are within the listed professions or after completing two years of work in NZ if they are on Tier 2.

What Has Changed for Employers Hiring Migrant Workers?

Over the past few years, the New Zealand government signalled changes to issuing work visas, which has now impacted New Zealand employers who wish to hire skilled migrant workers.

Under the new system, employers will need to provide evidence that they have made an effort to recruit New Zealand workers for the role before they can sponsor a migrant worker, often referred to as the labour market test. There are requirements to meet around acceptable job advertisements, how long jobs are advertised for, qualifications and work experience required - the list goes on. 

In addition, employers will need to demonstrate that they are paying their migrant employees at least the median wage for the role or above and that they are in a financially sound position to support the workers.

The Labour Market Test

Labour market test

New Zealand sets high employment standards for its citizens and permanent residents. Immigration NZ requires a 'labour market test' to be completed  before skilled migrants can gain a work visa.

Once it has been established that no New Zealanders can fill the job, it can be offered to overseas workers. 

Definition of Employer Accreditation

Accredited employers are organisations that have been assessed by Immigration New Zealand and deemed to be low-risk sponsors of migrant workers.

There is a lot to learn when you're looking to recruit overseas employees and become an accredited employer. 

Malcolm Pacific Immigration can help you with the process, everything from finding out about how to employ migrants and the visa options available to bring them to New Zealand to how you can help your new employees settle when they arrive. So contact us today to get started.

Why Become an Accredited Employer?

Businesses wishing to hire overseas talent are required to become accredited employers. For example, if you want to hire offshore to fill a low-skilled role, you will need to be an accredited employer.

The government has amended these rules to ensure New Zealanders are supported first to find employment before a business looks overseas. The government also wants to ensure New Zealand companies have solid, valuable practices to support migrant workers. 

The Benefits of Employer Accreditation

There are many benefits to becoming an accredited employer and situations in which you might want to become an accredited employer.

For example, if you frequently sponsor migrant workers for work visas, it is required for you to become an accredited employer. Therefore, the process for applying for a work visa for these migrant workers will be streamlined.

Other benefits of being an accredited employer include enhancing your business reputation due to the accreditation status, which proves you are financially stable and a low-risk sponsor for migrant workers.

Furthermore, the accreditation status acts as a gateway to finding and recruiting suitable employees around the world for jobs requiring skilled talent. These could be skills that the New Zealand workforce does not have or which are difficult to obtain nationally. 

With employer accreditation, you can also experience the benefits of not being required to provide additional employer supplementary forms to support the visa application of a potential candidate when they apply for employment in New Zealand.

The Benefits of an AEWV for Your Employees

Employees who gain an Accredited Employer Work Visa with your company can work at least 30 hours a week in New Zealand. They can also study for up to 3 months in any 12-month period or complete any study required as part of their employment. 

Migrants on an Accredited Employer Work Visa working for an accredited employer can feel secure knowing that they are entering into a role with a company that is financially stable due to the accreditation process proving the employer is a low-risk sponsor.

In some cases, an Accredited Employer Work Visa can fast-track migrant employees to residence or work to residence within two years, depending on their pay and role.

How Do You Become an Accredited Employer?

Now that you know more about what an accredited employer is and what it means to become one, we'll go into what it takes to become one. We'll talk about the process and requirements for gaining this coveted status.

The Employer Requirements for Accreditation

The Employer Requirements for Accreditation

Becoming accredited offers many benefits, but you might be wondering just how to do it. Here are the requirements for becoming an accredited employer in New Zealand:

  • You must have been operating your business for at least 12 months.
  • Your business must be registered with Inland Revenue and operating in New Zealand.
  • You must have a good record with Immigration New Zealand, meaning that you have complied with your obligations as an employer of migrant workers in the past.
  • You must have a complete employment agreement that meets the government's minimum employment standards.
  • You must demonstrate that you can pay your migrant workers the salary you have offered them.
  • You must have systems and processes in place to ensure that your migrant employees comply with the terms of their visas.

If your business is compliant with all of these guidelines, then you should be able to become an accredited employer. Talking with a licensed immigration adviser is the best way to kick-start the process. 

Contact Malcolm Pacific Immigration today for a free consultation.

What Are the Accreditation Levels?

There are three different accreditation levels that businesses can apply for, depending on the size of your business and how many migrant employees you sponsor.

The five different types of accreditation :

  • Standard Accreditation: This is for businesses with up to 5 employees sponsored on work visas in the 12-month period accreditation period.
  • High Volume Accreditation: This is for businesses employing 6 or more employees sponsored on work visas in the 12-month accreditation period.
  • Triangular Accreditation: This is for businesses who contract out their workers.

When Do Employers Have to Apply for Accreditation?

It's important to know how far in advance you, as an employer, will need to apply for accreditation. You can apply for accreditation when your business is established and has been operating for at least 12 months. Once you meet all the requirements and gather the necessary documentation, you can submit your application to Immigration New Zealand.

Here are some key dates related to employer accreditation:

  • 9 May 2022: Applications for Accreditation and Job Check opened
  • 3 July 2022: Essential Skills Work Visa closed
  • 4 July 2022: Employer Accreditation and AEWV became mandatory

The answer to the question about when employers need to apply for accreditation is now. 

As the Essential Skills Work Visa has closed, Employer Accreditation and Accredited Employer Work Visa are now mandatory. To hire or support a migrant employee, you must have received your accreditation from Immigration New Zealand. 

Get in touch with Malcolm Pacific Immigration to start the accreditation process and get on your way to supporting overseas workers.

Where to Get Help With the Employer Accreditation Process?

If you need help learning more about employer accreditation and the benefits that come along with it, it's essential to seek the advice of a professional. If you don't fully understand the requirements, you shouldn't risk the legal standing of your company.

It's best to work with a New Zealand licensed  immigration adviser that can help you navigate the intricacies of employer accreditation and how your business and employees can benefit from it.

What Is the 3-Check Visa Application Process?

The new accreditation process introduces three checks before an employer can hire a migrant worker, including

  • The employer check (applying for and becoming an accredited employer)
  • The job check
  • The migrant worker check (which is the Accredited Employer Work Visa application).

The Employer Check​ (Employer Accreditation)

The employer check is where the employer gains accreditation, performed by Immigration NZ to ensure the employer meets specific requirements. The employer must:

  • Be genuine and compliant with New Zealand’s immigration and employment law
  • Have no history of regulatory non-compliance
  • Pay all recruitment-related fees for hiring in and outside of New Zealand
  • Provide their employee with settlement support services and allow them to complete the employment rights modules within one month of the AEWV worker starting employment.

The Job Check

The job check confirms that the job an accredited employer is offering a migrant worker pays the market rate, the job offer complies with employment laws and that the accredited employer has completed a labour market test

New Zealand employers can only hire migrant workers if they pass the job check. Occupations on the Green List do not need to be advertised. 

The Migrant Worker Check

The migrant worker check is when the migrant worker applies for a visa – It is the last step in the AEWV process. 

The migrant worker must meet Immigration NZ’s requirements for character, identity and health. They must also meet the skills and qualifications of the employer’s job check application. Family of the migrant worker can apply at the same time for visas. 

What Is the Application Process?

If you're planning on applying for accreditation, you'll want to know more about the application process. Being familiar with the process will help you get the most out of accreditation and avoid possible mistakes that could be costly for your business.

To apply for accreditation, you'll need to complete an application form and submit it along with all the required documentation. The level of documentation will depend on what type of accreditation you apply for and your business history. Once your application is received, it will be reviewed by Immigration New Zealand.

You'll be required to pay an accreditation fee if your application is approved. The accreditation fee is different for each accreditation level.

How Much Does the Employer Accreditation Application Cost?

Fees for applying for employer accreditation can vary depending on your situation. Below is a general list based on information provided by Immigration NZ. However, it is always best to contact an immigration adviser for advice and help with the process. 

General fees:

  • Standard accreditation, up to 5 migrants at a time NZ $740. 
  • High-volume, with 6 or more migrants at a time: NZ $1220.
  • Upgrade from standard to high-volume accreditation: NZ $480.
  • Placing migrants with controlling third parties (triangular accreditation): NZ $3870. 
  • Franchisees: NZ $1980. 
  • Job check fee: NZ $610.
  • Application for AEWV: NZ $750.

The New Accredited Employer Work Visa Checklist

When you are getting ready to apply for employer accreditation, it's important to know everything you need to complete the process. Ensure you are well-prepared and have the best chance of approval by prioritising the checklist items below.

  • Complete the online form
  • Ensure that your business meets the requirements for accreditation
  • Collect all required documentation
  • Submit the application form and required documentation
  • Pay the accreditation fee
  • Wait for a decision from Immigration New Zealand
  • Celebrate becoming an accredited employer!

Following this checklist can help ensure your application process goes as smoothly as possible.

Requirements for the Offer of Employment for Migrant Workers

Requirements for the Offer of Employment for Migrant Workers

Your company will need to collect the required documents for accreditation and documents to issue an offer of employment for migrant workers joining your company, including:

  • A job description
  • The terms and conditions of employment
  • Evidence that a New Zealand worker couldn't fill the role
  • The migrant worker's resume or CV
  • The migrant worker's qualifications and evidence of work experience

You must ensure you have all the required information and documentation before issuing an offer of employment.

Migrant Workers' Requirements for the Accredited Employee Work Visa Application

If you are hoping to provide migrant workers with employment through accreditation, there are also some requirements on the migrant workers' side. To be eligible for a work visa under the accredited employer scheme, migrant workers must:

  • Have an offer of employment from an accredited employer
  • Meet the requirements for the role that they have been offered
  • Meet the English language requirements
  • Have a clean criminal history
  • Meet the health requirements
  • Have the required qualifications and experience

You must ensure all migrant workers working for your company comply with all the regulations to avoid complications arising from the process. Make sure to educate your workers on these regulations.

What Does the New AEWV Mean for You as a Migrant?

If you are a migrant, the perspective is a bit different. Here is some information you'll need to know if you are a migrant to help you navigate the process easily.

Will the Accredited Employer Work Visa Replace Six Work Visas?

Yes. If you are a migrant and an accredited employer has offered you employment, you can apply for the Accredited Employer Work Visa. This visa is replacing six work visas, including:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa – approval in principle
  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa
  • Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa
  • Silver Fern Job Search Visa
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa

Do I Need a New Visa?

If you are a migrant worker and currently hold a valid work visa, you will not need to apply for a new visa. Your current work visa will remain valid until its expiration date. You will need a visa if you are not a New Zealand citizen or resident but would like to work with New Zealand employers.

What Visas Are Not Affected by the Change?

The change to the employer accreditation scheme will not affect the following visas:

If you have a question about whether you will be affected by recent changes to the policy, the best thing you can do is contact a licensed immigration adviser.

​Temporary Work Visas Not Affected

Along with the visa categories listed above, additional temporary work visas that are not affected by the new visa system changes are listed below.

  • Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Limited Visa
  • Working holiday schemes
  • Post-study Work Visa
  • Fishing Crew Work Visa
  • Religious Worker Work Visa
  • Specific Purpose Work Visa
  • Partners of NZ citizens or residents

What Are the Conditions for Holding An AEWV?

Yes, there are some conditions that you will need to meet to be eligible for the new Accredited Employer Work Visa. Knowing these conditions and being compliant is vital to get approved.

You will need to:

  • Work for an accredited employer
  • Be paid at least the median wage of $29.66 per hour increasing to $31.61 an hour in February 2024.
  • Have a clean criminal history
  • Meet the health requirements
  • Have the required qualifications and experience to do the job you have been offered

If you need help, contact a licensed immigration adviser who can help you meet these conditions or find a residence visa that best suits your needs.

Is There a Salary Threshold for Holding An AEWV?

The annual salary threshold for the Accredited Employer Work Visa is a minimum of NZD $61,993 based on a 40-hour working week (or $29.66 an hour). The median wage threshold changes each year and in February 2024 is increasing to $31.61 an hour (or $65,749 per year)

Can I Bring My Family?

can I bring my family

Yes, if you are granted the Accredited Employer Work Visa, you may be able to bring your family, which includes partners and dependent children. You will need to include them in your application, and they will need to meet the requirements for their visas.Your partner may be able to work as well once your visa has been approved. This is called a partnership visa and applications for this are dealt with separately. The rules for partners working will change in December 2022 so take advice from a licensed immigration adviser. 

Where to Find More Information About Applying for Work Visas in NZ?

If you want more information about applying for a work visa in New Zealand, speak with an immigration adviser. A licensed immigration adviser can help you navigate the process instead of tracking down all the necessary documents and guidelines yourself.

With the help of a licensed  immigration adviser in New Zealand, you should be able to obtain your desired work visa with no problem, so long as you meet all of the requirements.

Contact Malcolm Pacific Immigration

Whether you're thinking of hiring a new employee who is planning to work in New Zealand but isn't a NZ citizen or permanent resident, or if you're hiring someone already on a work visa, 

Malcolm Pacific Immigration can help you understand the visa process and take the stress away to let you focus on your business. We have an employer services team on standby and ready to help. So get in touch with us today.