Compulsory Employer Accreditation and Work Visa Category Framework: Employer Update

Immigration / 14 April 2021
Compulsory Employer Accreditation and Work Visa Category Framework: Employer Update

On 7 May 2021 Immigration New Zealand (INZ) released some additional information about the new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV).  INZ is yet to publish the finer details of the policy.  However, we summarise below:

  • key points of the AEWV scheme framework; and
  • takeaways from INZ’s recent announcement.

Accredited Employer Work Visa

The AEWV will come into effect on 1 November 2021, replacing key employer-assisted work visa categories including the Essential Skills and Work to Residence – Talent (Accredited Employer) visas.

The AEWV is an employer-led process. Employers must take the following steps to hire a migrant worker on the AEWV:

  • Obtain compulsory Employer Accreditation (initially valid for 12 months).
  • Apply for job check to ensure there are no New Zealand citizens or residents available for the position.
  • Request the migrant worker apply for the visa.

Gateway 1: Employer Check (Employer Accreditation)

From 1 November 2021, all employers supporting migrant employees must obtain an AEWV must hold Employer Accreditation, with applications open from late September 2021.

Significantly, employers currently accredited will not have their accreditation status transferred.  This indicates that accreditation under the AEWV policy will be substantially different to the accreditation policy we have in place at this time, with three standards of Employer Accreditation:

  • Standard Accreditation: up to five migrant workers on AEWV at any one time.
  • High-Volume Accreditation: more than five migrant workers on AEWV at any one time.
  • Accreditation for Labour Hire Companies (or other employers wanting to place AEWV holders with third parties) and franchisees.

Gateway 2: Job Check

The Job Check will confirm there are no New Zealand citizens or residents available for the position. There are three ways for employers to satisfy the Job Check:

  • High Pay: Employers paying twice median wage will pass the job gateway. INZ’s median wage is currently $25.50 and may increase to $27 from July 2021. Employees meeting the High Pay threshold will have a pathway to residence after working two years.
  • Regionalised Labour Market Test: Three types of regions to cover varying needs across. The labour market testing requirements, visa length and stand-down period, if applicable, will vary depending on job, rate of pay and location.
  • Sector Agreements: For certain industries, as negotiated with Government, and specifying conditions to be met for recruiting migrants in that industry (unless the high-pay threshold applies).

High-Volume Accredited Employers must submit Job Checks for jobs paying at least 10% above the minimum wage, unless the job is covered by a collective agreement.

Gateway 3: Employee Check

The Employee Check requires the migrant to apply for an AEWV and meets identity, health, character, and employment skills/experience requirements.

 What we can do for your business

Our team can assist with each of these steps and advise of our fixed prices for immigration support.

We are running an Immigration for Employers 101 workshop which can be done in person or virtually. The workshop is tailored to the employer’s region and industry, to ensure the guidance is all relevant.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions, or would like assistance.

Disclaimer: We remind you that while this article provides commentary on employment law, health and safety and immigration topics, it should not be used as a substitute for legal or professional advice for specific situations. Please seek legal advice from your lawyer for any questions specific to your workplace.

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