By Valerie Hirsch, Licensed Immigration Adviser, Immigration Chambers
Over the past couple of years, we have seen a significant shake up of the Immigration System in New Zealand. Following on from the seismic shift of the 2021 Resident Visa, the government will imminently implement a new category of work visa, the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV). Many employers have already applied for and received Accreditation, with applications for Accreditation opening on 23 March 2022. In this article we will explain how this visa will work and how it could affect you and your employer.
The New Zealand Government announced in 2019 that it would be implementing the AEWV. This visa is intended to replace several existing visas, including:
- Essential Skills Work Visa;
- Essential Skills Work Visa – approved in principle;
- Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa;
- Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa;
- Sliver Fern Job Search Visa; and
- Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa
From 4 July 2022, employers can support temporary migrant workers on the AEWV; migrant workers can apply for an AEWV only with an offer of employment from an accredited employer. It is important for migrant workers and their employers to clearly understand the details of the AEWV.
Eligibility for AEWV
In order to be granted an AEWV, an applicant must meet several criteria as set out by Immigration New Zealand. In particular:
- The applicant must be of good health and character and must meet the required experience and qualifications for the job;
- The employer must be Accredited; and
- The job role must pass a ‘Job Check’ (or be on the Green List)
In order to lodge an application under this category, an applicant’s employer must have previously been granted accreditation. An employer can apply to be considered as an Accredited Employer if they can demonstrate:
- They are a viable and genuine operating business, and can provide evidence of financial stability;
- They have a history of compliance with Immigration, employment and business standards; and
- They have HR policies of a high standard to provide settlement support activities to migrants.
In order for an application under the AEWV category to be successful, applicants must also pass a ‘Job Check’ specific to their employment. In order to pass this job check, applicants must show:
- That the job pays the market rate and meets wage thresholds relevant to the occupation;
- The job’s terms and conditions comply with New Zealand’s employment law and standards;
- The job is for a minimum of 30 hours a week; and
- The job was advertised to New Zealander workers, and suitable and available NZ workers were not found for the job *
*It is, however, not necessary for the position to have been advertised to New Zealanders if the remuneration for the proposed employment is twice the median wage (currently $55.52 per hour or above); OR the job falls under the Green List occupations. Many of the Green List occupations also offer a fast track to Residence.