Immigration Updates – February

Immigration / 21 February 2024
Immigration Updates – February

There continue to be changes in the New Zealand immigration space and we anticipate that will continue through this year.  Highlighted changes released by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) are outlined below:

AEWV – Changes to visa conditions

Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) holders may experience changes after an annual review or promotion, such as adjustments to job title/duties or a change of work location . If you or your employees fall into any of these scenarios,  please contact us for a review to determine whether a Job Check and Variation of Condition application should be submitted. INZ has released further information including in respect to:

  • Working within regions: in essence workers can work anywhere within the region listed on their AEWV e.g. a worker with a Canterbury AEWV location region location can work in Christchurch or Ashburton for the same company and in the same role.
  • Travelling between regions: AEWV holders can work outside of the region on their AEWV as long as the travel is for one off projects or the location where the worker is primarily based does not change. For example, a truck driver is primarily based in Wellington and travels to Auckland and back on the same day as part of their route, in this example, a variation of condition and new Job Check application are not required.
  • Changes in role title: If an employee is promoted however their job description fundamentally remains the same, a new Job Check and Variation of Condition application will not be required.
  • Working a second job: INZ has reiterated that AEWV holders cannot work a second job while on a AEWV.

We recommend seeking advice on potential changes to the conditions on any AEWV.

Time off in Lieu (TOIL) and compensation

INZ has advised that TOIL is recognized in AEWV wage calculations, so that current AEWV holders who work in excess of their maximum hours will not be considered in breach of their conditions if they are given TOIL to compensate for it.  It is important that employers pay AEWV holders for each hour worked at a rate that is at least the minimum wage rate set on a AEWV to ensure that no breaches occur.

Median wage rate

As a reminder, INZ are keeping the median wage for AEWV applications at $29.66 p/h but are using a higher rate of $31.61 p/h for residence and other categories.

Post residence applications moved online.

INZ has moved Permanent Resident Visa (PRV), Second or Subsequent Resident Visa and Variation of Travel Condition (for resident visas) applications online.

As a reminder for PRV applications, these applications should only be submitted from the date that an applicant meets requirements as requirements are assessed against the circumstances of an applicant on the date of lodgment.  For any questions in relation to PRV applications or any immigration requirements, feel free to reach out to us for a preliminary assessment.

Working Holiday Visas Scheme opening dates confirmed

The 2024 dates for when capped Working Holiday Scheme (WHS) visas will open for each participating country (except Vietnam) has been released. A link to the dates can be found here. WHS quota is generally oversubscribed so it is important to keep an eye on WHS opening dates. For countries with un-used quota, applications can be submitted until quotas have been reached.

Residence application findings from INZ

INZ has noted that around 65% of Straight to Residence and Skilled Migrant Category applications are submitted with missing documents including: missing foreign police certificates, job descriptions and other documents required to meet requirements. If you or any staff have any questions in relation to residence applications, feel free to reach out to our team who can help with residence application planning and making sure that decision ready applications are submitted.

Message for Employers

An accredited employer is obligated to comply to relevant workplace laws throughout the entire period of accreditation. Breaching the employers’ obligations or employees’ visa condition can put your business at risk of losing the accreditation or being suspended for a certain period. For more serious offending of migrant exploitation and provision of false or misleading information to INZ, the potential consequences include up to 7 years of imprisonment and fines of up to $100,000 per offending.

Our specialist immigration lawyers would be most happy to help with compliance audit/checks or to provide advice if you have any questions.

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.


Back to News and Publications