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New changes to New Zealand Temporary Work visas

The New Zealand Government has announced some changes to Temporary Work visas that will modify how businesses employ foreign workers. The developments include the introduction of a new employer accreditation, a single temporary work visa, and a new employer-led system.

New employer accreditation
and a new temporary work visa

A new temporary work visa called the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) will be introduced on 1 November 2021 and will replace 6 of the existing temporary work visa categories:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa AIP
  • Work to Residence Accredited Employer
  • Work to Residence Long Term Skill Shortage Work Visa
  • Silver Fern Job Searching Visa
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa

With this measure, employers will need to be accredited before they can hire a migrant on an Accredited Employer Work Visa.

When to apply for employer accreditation?

Employers only need to be accredited under the new system when they want to
start hiring migrants on the new Accredited Employer Work Visa.

  • Employers will be able to apply for accreditation from late September, ahead of the 1 November 2021 introduction date.
  • Employers that are accredited under the current system will need to apply
 and meet the policy requirements of the new accreditation system.
  • Employers don’t need to be accredited in the new system by 1 November 2021
 if they do not plan to start hiring migrants on Accredited Employer Work Visas at this time.

New employer-led system

Alongside the Accredited Employer Work Visa, a new employer-led system will be introduced that will generally simplify the application process and make it easier for businesses and regions to fill genuine skills shortages.

The new 3-check system will help combat migrant exploitation by strengthening requirements on employers. The changes are also important for encouraging employers to focus on ways to train and upskill New Zealanders. The system will:

  • Reduce New Zealand’s reliance on lower-paid temporary workers
  • Better address our productivity, skills and infrastructure challenges
  • Increase the skill levels of migrants.

Important dates

The following employer policies are closing to new and renewing
applications on 30 June 2021:

    • Accredited Employer (Talent – Accredited Employer)
    • Labour Hire Accreditation (Essential Skills)
    • Approval in Principle (Essential Skills) – note: this does not include approval in principle for other policies including AIP for foreign crew of fishing vessels.

If employers want to be able to use these statuses up to 1 November 2021, they should apply by 30 June 2021 and consider the processing timeframes available on the INZ website.

Employers that only want to hire migrants using the new Accredited Employer Work Visa should wait and apply under the new accreditation system.

If you would like to become an Accredited Employer under the new policy or apply for the new Accredited Employer Work Visa, please get in touch with our NZ Immigration Director Arno Nothnagel to support you in this process.


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