Accredited Employer Work Visa Advisory

Details of the Accredited Employer Work Visa process

Want to employ migrants from overseas? We can guide you through the whole process

To hire overseas workers, there is a new process in place for employers. Here are the official updates from Immigration New NZ regarding Employer Accreditation and AEWV (Accredited Employer Work Visa) applications.
Information updated 17 August 2022

Employer accreditation and work visa

The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) is a new temporary work visa that Immigration New Zealand implemented on 4 July 2022. Since that date all employers in New Zealand who want to hire migrant workers must now be accredited and have completed the job check process before they can offer employment to a migrant worker who is eligible this new type of visa.

Hiring migrants on the AEWV

There are three steps to hiring a migrant on the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV). First the organisation must become an accredited employer, and when approved they can then apply for the job check.

When those two steps have been successfully completed, the employer can make an offer of employment to a migrant worker who can then submit their application for an AEWV.

Accreditation – what you need to commit to

There are four different types of accreditations depending on your business model and the number of migrants you want to hire.

All accreditation types have the same minimum requirements, but some business models e.g., if you are placing migrants with a controlling third party, must meet additional requirements. However for most employers, accreditation will be simple and not require a lot of documentation.

The accreditation must be held by the direct employer named on the migrant worker’s employment agreement.

Accreditation types

The four different levels of accreditation are:

  1. 1. Standard accreditation: for standard businesses hiring up to 5 migrants.
  2. 2. High-volume accreditation: for standard businesses hiring 6 or more migrants.
  3. 3. Franchisee accreditation: for businesses that are part of a franchise. There is no limit to how many migrants you can hire.
  4. 4. Controlling third party accreditation: for businesses that place migrants with third parties while being the direct employer named in the employment agreement. There is no limit to how many migrants you can hire.

This only includes migrants on AEWVs. Migrants on other visa types (for example working holiday visas) are not counted toward the total.

There is no difference in the accreditation requirements between standard and high-volume accreditation. However additional requirements for high-volume employers may be considered in the future.

For franchisees and employers wanting to place migrants on Accredited Employer Work Visas with controlling third parties (including labour-hire companies), although there are no restrictions on the numbers of AEWV holders you can employ, there may be additional requirements you must meet.

How much does it cost?

Becoming an accredited employer in NZ involves paying a fee to Immigration New Zealand. You pay a different fee depending on the type of accreditation you need.

  • Standard accreditation — up to 5 migrants at any one time is NZD $740
  • High-volume accreditation — 6 or more migrants at any one time is NZD $1,220
  • Franchisee accreditation is NZD $1,980
  • Controlling third party accreditation is NZD $3,870
  • To upgrade from standard to high-volume accreditation is NZD $480
  • Reconsideration of a declined application is NZD $240

Fees charged by People Inc. (ConsultingHQ, RecruitNZ, and VisaAide) are additional.

To be eligible for a fee exemption, you must:

  • Have held an accreditation under Talent (Accredited Employer) scheme on 23 May 2022 and have at least 6 months validity remaining on your accreditation period, meaning your accreditation was due to expire on or after 23 November 2022.

The fee exemption can only be applied for your first application for accreditation under the Accredited Employer Work Visa policy. The application must be made on or before 23 November 2022.

The previous Talent (Accredited Employer) scheme closed to new applications on 30 June 2021.

Job quota

If you hold standard accreditation a job quota of up to 5 will apply. Each quota space is used when a job check is approved.

The job quota space only becomes available again if:

  • The migrant in the job has their visa expire or cancelled
  • The migrant is granted a variation of conditions to work for another employer, or
  • The job check expires or is cancelled without a visa being issued.

If you have a full quota and you want to hire more migrant workers you must apply for an upgrade to high-volume accreditation at a cost of $480. This fee reflects the additional risk assurance activities that INZ may have to do, as the impact of non-compliance increases with the greater number of migrants employed by a business.

On a high-volume accreditation there are no restrictions on the number of Accredited Employer Work Visa holders you can have at one time.

Requirements for all employers

All employers wanting to hire migrants on AEWVs must meet minimum accreditation criteria including holding a business IRD number and a New Zealand Business Number (NZBN). You will also need to provide the full name, passport number and date of birth of key people in your organisation.

Most applications will be assessed based on your declarations and automated checks against publicly available information or information held by the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE).

INZ will contact you if they are not satisfied you meet the requirements, or if they want more information to assess your application.

Genuine business

You must be a genuinely operating business.

Your business must be in a sound financial position. This means the business must:

  • The migrant in the job has their visa expire or cancelled
  • Be profitable (before depreciation and tax) or
  • Have the positive cash flow or
  • Have sufficient capital and/or external investment or funding (for example from a founder or parent company), or
  • Have a plan to ensure the business remains viable.

Businesses operating for less than 12 months must provide evidence they are in a sound financial position. Most other employers will not need to provide evidence upfront.

No recent history of regulatory non-compliance

To become an accredited employer, you and your significant office holders must declare that you have not:

  • Recently been convicted of specific immigration-related offenses resulting in a fine or imprisonment.

    If you have been convicted of immigration-related offenses, once the stand-down period has ended you must show you have addressed the non-compliance and taken steps to make sure it does not happen again.

  • Be on the Labour Inspectorate stand-down list.

    If you or your officeholders have, you will not be eligible for accreditation for a set period of time. The length of the stand-down period will depend on how serious the offense is.

You or your significant office holders must not have:

  • Employed a migrant who does not have the right visa or visa conditions to work in that role.
  • Employed a migrant under terms and conditions not matching those provided on the visa application.
  • Provided false or misleading information to INZ.
  • Been banned from acting as a director, or have a pattern of immigration offenses in other businesses you or your officer holders have been involved in.

    If you or your officeholders have, you must show you have addressed these issues and taken steps to make sure it does not happen again.

    Where offenses have occurred, you must show you have taken steps to prevent it from happening in the business applying for accreditation.

You must ensure everyone making recruitment decisions completes Employment New Zealand’s online modules on employment rights. This could include hiring managers, human resource managers, sole traders, and partners.

You must pay all recruitment costs in New Zealand and outside New Zealand.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Advertising.
  • Recruitment agency fees.
  • Employer accreditation fees.
  • Job check applications.
  • Trade testing.
  • Tools where the ownership is retained by the employer.
  • Training and induction.

This does not include migrant worker airfares (although this may be a requirement by the authorities in some countries).

You must not charge fees outside New Zealand which would be illegal if charged in New Zealand, including:

  • Payment to secure a job.
  • Bonding agreements illegally binding workers to a business.
  • Deductions that are unreasonable or not agreed in writing.

Immigration New Zealand may decline your application if your business has been re-established under a new legal entity and NZBN while remaining the same as another business that has failed to meet the accreditation requirements.

Settlement support activities

Importantly, you must allow migrant workers time to complete Employment New Zealand’s online modules on employment rights during paid work hours and you must provide migrant workers with work-related settlement information including:

  • How to get an IRD number.
  • Relevant industry training and qualification information and options.
  • Specific job or industry hazards.

You must also provide migrant workers with local community and services information including:

  • Accommodation options.
  • Transport options including driving and driving licence information.
  • Cost of living.
  • How to access healthcare services.
  • Citizens Advice Bureau services.
  • Information about relevant community groups like religious or migrant groups.

You need to complete these settlement activities within one month from the day the migrant starts their employment with you. INZ will check that you have met your commitments when you renew your accreditation and they may also carry out checks during your accreditation. Therefore, it would be prudent to keep good records during the accreditation period to show requirements are being met. This could include a register signed by the migrant worker, and email records between you and the migrant worker.

Passing the job check

Once you become an accredited employer, you must apply for a job check for each job you want to hire a migrant worker for. You can only hire a migrant worker on an Accredited Employer Work Visa for a job if it has passed the job check.

Multiple positions for the same job can be included in one job check if the job details are the same and are all covered by the same advertising (where required) and proposed employment agreement.

The job check confirms:

  • The job pays the market rate and meets wage thresholds applicable under the relevant job check pathway.
  • The job’s terms and conditions comply with New Zealand employment laws and standards.
  • The job is for a minimum of 30 hours a week.
  • You have advertised the job to New Zealanders, if you need to, including the minimum and maximum expected pay rate and the skills or experience required.

If you offer the job to a migrant but do not hire them, you can offer the job to another suitable applicant. You do not have to redo the job check.

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