Soon, New Zealand businesses will be able to start bringing in migrant workers via the Accredited Employee Work Visa (AEWV) framework. This visa will be introduced on the 4th of July. If your business is not accredited, you will not be able to employ Immigrants.
The AEWV will replace six existing work visas including the Essential Skills Work Visa, Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa, Silver Fern Job Search Visa, Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa, and the Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa. The objective of the AEWV is to make it easier for businesses to fill skill shortages. When this visa becomes available, large sections of the critical workers’ border exemption will also be removed.
To apply for this visa the business and migrant worker must complete three stages: business accreditation, a job check, and the migrant check. This visa will eventually lead to residence however the details of this are yet to be released, including timing. It is only available to workers earning above the NZ median wage (although there will be a very small number of exceptions to this). Note, the median wage is increasing from $27.00 to $27.76 an hour effective 4th of July 2022, so job checks from the 20th of June 2022 will need to use the new figure as the base line remuneration.
Remember that all these steps may take weeks to be completed. Immigration New Zealand are attempting to stagger the applications, so that they are not overwhelmed. There is an estimated processing time of ten working days for the job check and accreditation process. The AEWV visa application is expected to take twenty working days.
- 12 of April Australian citizens and permanent residents can start travelling to and from New Zealand. Anyone with an existing work visa may also start arriving. The work visa must still have valid dates and the original purpose of the visa must also be valid
- 23rd of May The date for when accreditation applications open. There are two types of accreditations, standard and high volume. Your organization will need to decide which one applies to your business before you apply. If you originally thought you would only need the standard accreditation, but during the accreditation process, realized you need the high volume, you would have to pay the difference.
- 20th of June The date for when you can start applying for job checks. There are advertising requirements you must complete before you apply. You must have advertised the role for a minimum of two weeks on a national job listing site.
- 3rd of July Last day for the Essential skills work Visa.
- 4th of July The AEWV will be introduced, and Migrants can apply for the visa. However, the business must still have completed the accreditation application and job check before they can ask the migrant to apply for the AEWV. (Also be aware the median wage is increasing on the same day; this will affect the criteria for the job check).
- October From October all visa categories will reopen, and people will be able to enter New Zealand.
To be able to hire migrants you must meet a range of requirements which vary depending on the accreditation you need. There are two levels of accreditation, either standard or high volume. If you had five current migrant workers on the AEWV and were looking to hire more, you would have to change your accreditation level, from standard to high-volume. A space on the standard accreditation only opens if a migrant’s visa is cancelled or expires, they are granted a variation of conditions to work for another employer, or the job check expires or is cancelled without a visa being issued. Standard accreditation is for up to 5 migrant workers, high volume is for 6 and above. This only applies to Migrants on AEWVs; migrants on other types of visas are not counted towards this total. The costs have been bullet pointed below. After you have obtained accreditation, it will need to be renewed in 12 months, after the first renewal accreditation lasts for 24 months. If you are employing a migrant when accreditation runs out, you will not be able to hire any more.
– If you want to employ up to five workers at any one time it costs NZD $740
– Changing from standard to high, costs NZD $480
– If you want to employ six or more at any one time it costs NZD $122
– Reconsideration of declined employer accreditation application is NZD $240.
There are several further requirements, including proving that your business is profitable, registered with Inland Revenue and has no recent history of regulatory non-compliance.
Applications for accreditation open on the 23rd of May 2022. If you were accredited under the previous system, you will still need to apply and meet the policy requirements for the new system.
Once your business has been accredited you will need to apply for a job check with Immigration New Zealand, and the employer must pay for the job check. The goal of the job check is to ensure that the business is paying at least the market rate to the candidate and that the appropriate labour market checks have been undertaken. This will also let you know if there is a shortage for that job in New Zealand. If there is already an abundance of candidates here in New Zealand, you will find it harder to get a pass.
You will need to conduct a Labor Market Test (LMT). The LMT will show immigration New Zealand that you attempted to recruit New Zealanders. All employers will need to submit evidence of job advertising when submitting the job check unless they are paying twice the median wage.
The job check for Immigration New Zealand will cost NZD $610
Once the business has been accredited, and you have passed the job check, you can invite the migrant worker to apply for the AEWV visa. Immigration New Zealand will check if the immigrant meets the requirements for the AEWV, including if they have the knowledge and skills for the job.
The new AEWV visa will streamline and simplify many of the existing work visas. It is intended to provide a path to residence, for those migrants who have held the AEWV for two years and are paid at least 200% of the median wage. However, this has yet to be confirmed both in detail and timing by Immigration New Zealand.
If you have any questions relating to the AEWV, don’t hesitate to get in contact, we will be happy to answer them or put you in contact with someone who can.