Work Visa's – are you up to speed with the changes?

The immigration reset is well underway in New Zealand following the introduction of the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) Scheme in July 2022.  This scheme has replaced the former Essential Skills Visa scheme.  Government have indicated that some requirements could be extended for other types of work visas like post study in 2023.

The new scheme requires employers who are wanting to support AEWV visa applications to be accredited and have an approved job check first.  This is new so making sure you can tick the boxes will help minimise time delays and keep your costs down!

Step 1 – Get Accredited as an Employer so you can support applications for work visas

This year the process is fairly straight forward so long as you meeting at least one of the financial requirements and you can declare that you are compliant with New Zealand immigration law, employment and business standards.  The first accreditation is for 12 months.  Costs and requirements dependent on what type of business you are and how many migrants you are looking to engage in a year.    In becoming accredited some of what you will be committing to is;

  • Ensuring your employment agreements and practices are current and compliant – when did you last have these checked to make sure your agreements and procedures are up to date?
  • Requiring anyone in your business who will be involved in recruiting workers under the AEWV scheme to do the Employment New Zealand's online employer modules.  You need to keep proof of completion. 
  • Providing paid work time to an AEWV holder to complete the employment learning modules so they are aware of their rights and also providing them with settlement information and support that meets the current requirements – this all needs to be built into your staff and induction procedures
  • Paying all the recruitment costs and not pass these on.

Franchises and Labour hire companies have other requirements too.  The checklist details what is needed to apply for accreditation.

Step 2  - Apply for a Job Check

Once you have accreditation you can apply for a job check for the role you are trying to fill.  This estimated time for Immigration to complete for the process is also 10 working days.  For a job check you must

Have advertised the job with the pay range for at least 2 weeks and

Have genuinely tried to find New Zealanders for the role unless the job is on the green list or it pays more than twice the median wage. 

Provide a copy of your advertising, job description and proposed employment agreement and pay the job check fee.

The job will need to pay at least the New Zealand median wage (currently $27.76 per hour increasing to $29.66 on 27 February 2023) unless there is a sector specific agreement in place. 

The Checklist for Employers sets out all the boxes you will need to tick to successfully apply for a job check.  This is where you need to ensure your employment agreements are up to date and that cover the requirements.  If your application is returned a further fee is payable for reassessment so a right first time approach is recommended.

Step 3 – Send an invite to Apply for a Visa   

Once your job check is approved you will then be able to send your preferred candidate an invite to apply for the visa.  They will need from you a copy of their actual employment offer and agreement with the job description to include in their application. 

More information about this part of the process is here.

Contact the team at Grow HR if you need help with reviewing or developing your employment documentation and practices or if you need contact details of an Immigration person to help you with the process.