The Accredited Employer Work Visa (“AEWV”) will be introduced on 4 July 2022 to reduce exploitation and encourage employers to train, upskill and hire New Zealand workers before hiring migrants.
It will replace six temporary work visa categories:
- Essential Skills Work Visa – will close on 3 July 2022;
- Essential Skills Work Visa – Approval in Principle – will close on 3 July 2022;
- Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa – closed on 31 October 2021;
- Long Term Skills Shortage List Work Visa – closed on 31 October 2021;
- Silver Fern Job Search Visa – closed on 7 October 2021; and
- Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa – closed on 31 October 2021.
Before hiring a migrant on the Accredited Employer Work Visa, an employer will have to:
- apply for accreditation under the new system – “the Employer Check”;
- apply for a job check to make sure the role they want to fill cannot be done by New Zealanders – “the Job Check”; and
- request a migrant worker to apply for a visa – “the Worker Check”.
The Employer Check
Any employers accredited under the current system (i.e. in relation to the Talent (Accredited Employer) Work and Resident Visas) will have to apply and meet the policy requirements of the new accreditation system, if they want to hire migrants on the new AEWV.
There are 3 types of accreditation:
- Standard – to hire 5 migrant workers on AEWVs at any one time;
- High-volume – to hire 6 or more migrant workers on AEWVs at any one time; and
- Other – in relation to Franchisees and Labour Hire Companies.
An employer is able to apply for accreditation now.
The Employer Check – Standard Accreditation
ALL employers who want to hire migrants on AEWVs have to meet the standard accreditation requirements, which are as follows:
- Must be a genuinely operating business, i.e.:
- Must be registered as an employer with IRD; and
- If the employer is a partnership or sole trader, the business owner(s) must not be bankrupt or subject to a No Asset Procedure;
- have not made a loss (before depreciation and tax) over the last 24 months; OR
- have a positive cash flow for each of the last 6 months; OR
- have sufficient capital and/or external investment (for example funding from a founder, parent company or trust) to ensure the employer’s business remains viable and ongoing; OR
- have a credible, minimum two-year plan (for example by having contracts for work) to ensure the employer’s business remains viable and ongoing.
“Viable and ongoing” includes being able to:
- meet financial obligations such as paying wages or salaries and all other operating costs and expenses; and
- purchase inventory (if relevant).
- Must not have a non-compliance record, i.e.:
- Not be included in the Labour Inspectorate stand down list;
- Must be compliant with immigration law and not be subject to a permanent ban following a conviction for an immigration related offence(s);
- Not be prohibited from being a director; and
- Must not be a phoenix company.
- Must take steps to minimise worker exploitation, i.e.:
- Provide migrant workers with time to complete Employment Learning Modules;
- Everyone who makes recruitment decisions must complete Employment Learning Modules;
- Pay all recruitment costs inside and outside New Zealand, including advertising, agency fees, employer and job check applications, training and induction, health and safety equipment, and uniforms, BUT excluding airfares;
- Provide migrant workers with work-related information (i.e. how to get an IRD number) and community assistance (i.e. how to open a bank account, find rental accommodation); and
- Employer cannot receive a premium for employment, unlawfully bond the employee, nor make any unlawful deductions.
Immigration New Zealand’s fee to process a standard accreditation application is $740.
The Employer Check – High-Volume Accreditation
Employers who want to hire 6 or more migrants on AEWVs have to meet the standard accreditation requirements. Later, there may be a requirement to show that they have a commitment to train and upskill New Zealanders.
Immigration New Zealand’s fee to process a high-volume accreditation application is $1220.
If you have standard accreditation, however later want to hire 5 or more migrants on AEWVs, you can upgrade to high volume accreditation for a fee. That fee is $480.
The Employer Check – Other Accreditation
- Must meet the standard accreditation requirements;
- Must have been operating for at least 12 months; and
- Must have a history of hiring New Zealanders.
Immigration New Zealand’s fee to process a franchisee application is $1980.
Labour hire companies:
- Must meet the standard accreditation requirements;
- Must place migrants on AEWVs with “compliant businesses”. A “compliant business” is a business:
- that has an NZBN;
- that is not on the stand-down list; and
- has declared that they do not have immigration-related issues;
- Must have good systems to monitor employment and safety conditions;
- Must have a 12 month labour contracting history; and
- Must have at least 15% of the company’s labour workforce placed with third parties be New Zealanders in full-time employment (i.e. at least 30 hours a week).
Immigration New Zealand’s fee to process a labour hire company application is $3870.
For most employers, accreditation will be a simple and relatively low-touch assessment. However, Immigration New Zealand may request additional information to assess an application and may undertake monitoring during the accreditation period. If Immigration New Zealand is not satisfied an employer has continued to meet the requirements, the employer’s accreditation status may be revoked.
Therefore, we advise that you contact your lawyer to ensure you will meet the requirements and are compliant with immigration law and employment law.
When an accreditation application is approved by Immigration New Zealand, an employer will receive accreditation for 12 months.
At renewal, franchisees and employers that want to place migrants on AEWVs with third parties will be granted accreditation for a further 12 months, and all other employers will be granted accreditation for 24 months.
The Job Check
An employer can apply for a job check from 20 June 2022.
A labour market test is a genuine attempt to recruit New Zealand citizen or resident.
The labour market test must be met for all jobs, except where the remuneration for the proposed employment is $55.52 per hour or above, or the equivalent annual salary, or where the role is on the Green List.
A labour market test will be valid for six months from the date that it is approved or until the employer no longer holds accreditation, whichever is earlier.
The Worker Check
The worker must meet:
- Character requirements, for example, not have been sentenced to a prison term of 5 years or more;
- Health requirements, for example, be unlikely to impose significant costs or demands on New Zealand’s health services or special education services; and
- Credential and experience requirements.
The remuneration for the proposed employment must be at or above the median wage, which will be $27.76 per hour, and must not be less than the New Zealand market rate of pay for that occupation.
Where other skills or specifications are needed to perform the job that are not described in the ANZSCO occupation, the remuneration offered must reflect those requirements by being above what would otherwise be the market rate for that job.
However, specific jobs in construction and infrastructure, tourism and hospitality, and care workforce sector are exempt from the median wage threshold
Currency of AEWVs
An AEWV may be granted for the period for which the employment is offered, up to a maximum of:
- 3 years for employment paid at or above the median wage; or
- 2 years for employment paid below the median wage, unless a 2 year visa would result in the holder exceeding the maximum period allowed under the stand-down settings (which is 2 years).
Where the grant of a 2 year visa for employment paid below the median wage would result in the holder exceeding the maximum period allowed under the stand-down settings (which is 2 years), the visa may only be granted for the remainder of the maximum period.
The estimated application processing timeframes are:
- standard and high-volume accreditation – 10 working days
- job check – 10 working days
- migrant check/AEWV – 20 working days
Please note that this is not a substitute for legal advice and you should contact your lawyer about your specific situation.
If you would like to start the application process for accreditation and job check process, please feel free to contact us on 03 348 8480 or by email to email@example.com.
10 June 2022