Immigration Update: Employers – Are you accredited and do you need to be?

28 June 2022

This update is important for employers who intend to hire migrant workers.

From 4 July 2022 employers must be accredited under the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) before they can employ migrants. Applications for accreditation are now open and Immigration New Zealand (INZ) expect to process applications within 10 working days.

The purpose of the AEWV is to incentivise employers to recruit suitable (or to train and upskill) New Zealanders for jobs before hiring migrant workers. The AEWV will replace six temporary work visas (including Essential Skills (closing 3 July 2022), Talent (Accredited Employer) and Long Term Skills Shortage categories) by streamlining the process and making it employer-led.

A key requirement for accreditation is that the employer’s business must be considered viable and ongoing – which may prove challenging given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically the employer must show that it has:

  1. not made a loss over the last 24 months; or
  2. had positive cash flows for each of the last 6 months; or
  3. sufficient capital or external investment so that it will remain viable and ongoing; or
  4. a minimum two year business plan to support its viability.

Other requirements include compliance with employment and immigration laws along with a requirement to support migrant workers by providing them with various information such as transportation and accommodation options, industry training and qualification options and access to healthcare services. 

INZ may conduct checks during the period of accreditation to ensure employers still meet the requirements including requesting information or conducting site visits. If INZ becomes aware that an employer no longer meets the requirements, its accreditation will be revoked.

Once accreditation is granted, employers must apply for a ‘job check’ for each type of role. Job check applications opened on 20 June 2022 and INZ expects to process these applications within 10 working days. A key requirement for a ‘job check’ is that the relevant role was advertised for at least 14 days on a national job listing website and such advertisement included the terms and conditions of the employment (including pay rates and hours of work). There are some exceptions for certain industries or for roles that pay at least 200% of the median wage.

In most cases, the AEWV will only be granted where the remuneration is at or above the median wage with exceptions for some roles in particular industries. 

If an employer already employs workers holding temporary visas, or expects to hire such workers in the near future, then an application for accreditation should be made soon. This is the case even if the employer was accredited under the previous (optional) accreditation regime.

If you would like further details on employer accreditation or would like assistance with other immigration matters, please get in touch with the Bell Gully immigration team.

Disclaimer: This publication is necessarily brief and general in nature. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this publication.