New work visa for employers

From Monday, 4 July 2022 the new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) application opens. This heralds a change for employers wanting to retain or recruit migrant workers.

17/05/20221 min read
new work visa

From Monday, 4 July 2022 the new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) application opens. This heralds a change for employers wanting to retain or recruit migrant workers.

Employers must be accredited and have passed the job check for any role that is offered to a migrant worker. Once these two hurdles are cleared then it’s time to apply for the AEWV.

At the AEWV stage, Immigration NZ checks the migrant worker has the qualifications and experience advertised at the job check stage. They will also check the job offer (employment agreement) is lawful and meets the same terms and conditions set out at the job check stage. The final hurdle to clear is health and character checks for the worker (and any family included) which can sometimes throw curveballs. Assuming everything is cleared then a work visa is issued valid for up to 3 years.

From December 2022 most partners of temporary migrant workers will be issued Visitor Visas. This means they will no longer receive automatic work rights. If partners want to work they will need to apply and qualify for their own AEWV. This has the potential to create difficulties when recruiting from overseas as naturally, most partners want to work when they arrive. We suggest you have frank discussions right at the outset about whether a partner wants to work to avoid any nasty surprises when visas are finally issued. If you can help with job offers (either in your business or through contacts) for partners to help qualify for AEWVs this will make your skilled migrant workers feel more settled in your workplace.

The first wave of AEWVs lodged in early July are expected to be processed in time for the border reopening on 1 August 2022.

Certain occupations gain pathways to residence. Jobs on the Green List can either apply direct for residence or after completing two years of work in NZ. Jobs paying double the median wage also open the opportunity to apply for residence after two years of NZ employment. Jobs on the Green List do not have to be advertised to qualify for the AEWV.

The Skilled Migrant category reopening has not been announced. We are told this should happen “in coming months” and after the 2021 Resident Visa closes on 31/07/2022. Skilled Migrant is the pathway most people apply for residence so it will be key to help you retain skilled workers. More news to follow around July 2022.

If anyone in your HR team or employees needs more information just ask them to get in touch with our specialists.

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The Green List

From September 2022 people holding job offers in a small number of occupations may apply for residence. Some occupations are a direct pathway to residence and others require a period of two years or longer before applying.

There are qualification and/or occupational registration requirements to meet. Establishing if an overseas qualification matches the NZ equivalent qualification before applying is paramount for success.

Read more here.

16 May 22

Work Visa Categories Closing

The work visa categories set to close are:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa – approval in principle
  • Work to Residence (Talent – Accredited Employer)
  • Work to Residence (Long Term Skills Shortage)
  • Silver Fern Job Search Work Visa (closed October 2019)
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa.
10 Feb 22

Policy Decision Key Dates in 2022

  • February 13. Fully vaccinated Kiwis plus certain other travellers entering NZ from the rest of the world* can skip MIQ.
  • April 30. The border starts a phased reopen to fully vaccinated foreign nationals.
  • April 30. The Productivity Commission reports back to the government on immigration settings.
  • May 9. Applications open for mandatory Employer Accreditation.

*Excludes high-risk countries.

16 Dec 21