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Immigration Updates: AEWV and Worker Protection Act 2024 


AEWV Median Wage Increase Paused

In a recent development, the New Zealand government has decided to pause the planned increase in the median wage rate for the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV), originally scheduled for February 2024. This decision means that the current wage rates will remain in place, including NZ$29.66 per hour for most AEWV holders and NZ$26.16 per hour for those covered by the Care Workforce Sector Agreement. Specific wage rates for other sector agreements and roles with exemptions to the median wage will also be unaffected.

The pause extends to partners of workers, ensuring that the median wage requirements for this category remain unchanged. However, it’s important to note that the median wage will still increase to NZ$31.61 in February 2024 for other visa categories that utilise it, such as the Skilled Migrant Category and Parent Category. Applications submitted before the increase will not be impacted, and further details on AEWV settings changes will be announced in the future.

This pause provides the government with time to explore alternatives to the median wage threshold in the AEWV, aligning with their commitment to eventually remove it. Additional information on future median wage settings for the AEWV will be communicated in due course.

Worker Protection Act Takes Effect in January

Starting January 6, 2024, the Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Act will come into force, ushering in significant changes to immigration and employment regulations. Aimed at safeguarding all workers in New Zealand from exploitation, the Act introduces a new requirement for employers to respond to information requests from labour inspectors or immigration officers within 10 working days.

Key provisions of the Act include:

  • Employment-Related Documentation: Employers must now provide employment-related documentation within 10 working days of a request by an immigration officer.
  • New Immigration Offences: Three new immigration infringement offenses have been introduced, including allowing unauthorised individuals to work, employing individuals in violation of their visa conditions, and failing to comply with document submission requirements within the specified timeframe.
  • Publication of Offenders: The Chief Executive of MBIE is empowered to publish the names of employers who offend against the Immigration Act.

While the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) will not issue infringement notices immediately, the actual implementation is subject to decisions by the new government. Employers are urged to stay informed about these impending changes and prepare for compliance with the updated regulations in 2024.

In conclusion, these updates underscore the New Zealand government’s commitment to ensuring fair and lawful employment practices, both for local and migrant workers. Employers and individuals within the immigration system should stay vigilant and adapt to these changes to maintain compliance with the evolving regulatory landscape. Further information on these updates will be made available as the government finalises its decisions.

For any questions regarding this update or any further immigration matters, please contact Arno

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