Commencing on 4 July 2022 and as part of Step 4 of New Zealand reconnecting to the world, the new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) will replace the Essential Skills Work Visa and Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa. Employers who want to hire migrants on an AEWV will need to be accredited and submit a job check for relevant roles before they can hire a migrant.
As part of the planned Immigration Rebalance changes, a new minimum pay threshold, set at the median wage, will be introduced for the Accredited Employer Work Visa. At this point, the Government is considering whether there will be any exemptions to the median wage rule and whether additional restrictions should apply for a limited number of roles. We will provide updates when decisions have been made.
Accreditation & job check steps
Changes have been made to streamline the accreditation and job check steps as follows:
- High-volume accreditation no longer includes a requirement that jobs must pay at least 10% above minimum wage or be covered by a collective agreement, as the new median wage threshold will apply across the board.
- This means high-volume accreditation now has the same requirements as standard accreditation. Employers must still apply for high-volume accreditation and pay a higher fee if they want to employ more than 5 workers on AEWVs at one time.
- Employers can upgrade from standard to high-volume accreditation at any point during their accreditation period, for a fee. This fee reflects the additional risk assurance activities that INZ may have to undertake, as the impact of non-compliance increases with the greater number of migrants employed by a business. Further requirements for high-volume employers may be considered in the future.
- Additional accreditation requirements remain for employers who are franchisees or who place AEWV holders with controlling third parties – but there is now no limit on the number of AEWV holders these employers can employ at one time.
- At the job check stage, the labour market test is no longer regionalised. All employers need to advertise their vacancies unless the role is paid at least twice the median wage.
- There will be more flexibility in how INZ calculates whether a migrant meets the median wage threshold.
AEWV implementation dates
To account for the changes to the AEWV and further decisions to come from the Government, the key dates are now:
- 23 May 2022 – employers can apply for accreditation
- 20 June 2022 – accredited employers can submit a job check
- 4 July 2022 (unchanged) – migrants can apply for an AEWV, where the employer is accredited, and a job check has been completed.
Migrant workers can still apply for an Essential Skills Work Visa until 3 July 2022. Employers do not need to apply for accreditation from 23 May 2022, unless they intend to hire migrants on an AEWV soon after 4 July 2022.
For most employers, accreditation will be a simple and relatively low-touch assessment, and INZ will work to process applications quickly.
Fees involved for employers
Employers will pay a fee based on the level of accreditation you get and how many migrants you hire.
- Standard accreditation, up to 5 migrants at any one time is NZD $740.
- High-volume, 6 or more migrants at any one time is NZD $1220.
- Upgrade fee for employers who want to upgrade from standard to high-volume accreditation is NZD $480.
- Employers wanting to place migrants with controlling third parties is NZD $3870.
- Franchisees is NZD $1980.
- Reconsideration of declined employer accreditation application is NZD $240.
Employers accredited under the Talent (Accredited Employer) scheme will have the fee for their initial AEWV accreditation waived, as long as their accreditation has 6 months from 23 May 2022 until it expires. The Talent (Accredited Employer) scheme is being phased out and has closed to new applications.
For further information on this announcement or if you require assistance, please get in touch with our expert NZ team: Arno.Nothnagel@absoluteimmigration.com
Arno Nothnagel, NZ Immigration Director will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday 29 March. Arno will be providing general border and immigration updates including the AEWV scheme. Listeners will have the opportunity to ask questions in the live chat.
To register, click here