June 28, 2023

Work Visa rules changing – again!

In November 2023, the AEWV is set to change to only allow a five-year maximum stay. This means holders of AEWV can only work in NZ for up to five years.
Work Visa rules changing – again!

In November 2023, the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) has some changes. Moving forward the visa will allow a five-year maximum stay. This means anyone holding an AEWV can only work in New Zealand for up to five years. If the holder of an AEWV does not qualify for residence, they must leave New Zealand and cannot apply for another AEWV from offshore for 12 months or longer. This time spent offshore before applying to come back is called a “stand down period”. 

A person already working on an AEWV will be able to extend their visa up to the five-year maximum period once the new rules come into force in November. Time already spent working in New Zealand will count when the five years maximum period is calculated. 

Employers still need to satisfy Immigration NZ; there are no NZ citizens or residents suitable and available to do a job being filled by a migrant worker before the next AEWV is granted. Businesses will find the stand-down period difficult to manage when good workers get to the end of their five-year visa and then must leave the country. 

Tougher rules for partners of migrant workers qualifying for work visas were rolled out on 31 May. Partners issued with a partner work visa have the following visa conditions attached:

  • May only work for an accredited employer; and
  • Cannot be self-employed; and
  • Paid at or above the median wage (currently NZ$29.66 per hour) unless working in jobs covered by certain sector agreements.

There is an exception when migrant workers hold a work visa based on a Green List occupation or are paid twice the median wage. In these cases where the partners can work for any employer and the median wage rule does not apply. 

Partners wanting to renew their current partner work visas should take immigration advice before they apply to make sure they qualify. People who applied before 31 May are now in a long processing queue as there was a rush of applications before the old category closed.

Get started with a free assessment today

We are New Zealand’s largest and most experienced team of licensed immigration advisers. Our experts take away the stress and worry of navigating the complicated world of immigration. All you need to do is get in touch. Our team is on standby, ready to help.