Frequently asked questions

Employer Accreditation

What is changing with Immigration New Zealand’s employer accreditation and work visa scheme?

From 4 July 2022 Immigration NZ is implementing a new compulsory accreditation system for all New Zealand employers who want to employ migrant workers or retain their current migrants. The change includes the introduction of a new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) to replace 6 of the existing temporary work visas.

Applications for employer accreditation under the existing policy closes on 3 July 2022.

Applications for employer accreditation under the new policy opens on 23 May 2022.

The new accreditation process involves a 3-check process that is employer-led as opposed to the current system which is instigated by the employee.

The new process means that before a business can hire a migrant on the new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) the employer will need to:

  1. apply for accreditation under the new system (and be approved);
  2. apply for a job check to make sure the role they want to fill cannot be done by New Zealanders and;
  3. then, request a migrant worker to apply for a visa (of course the migrant has to have the skills and experience that match the requirements specified in the job check).

If your business needs input from skilled workers from overseas, you must apply for accreditation under the new policy and be approved before you can hire migrants.

How long will the accreditation be valid?

Initial accreditation approvals last for 12 months. Renewals for employers will be for 24 months with the exception of franchisees and employers that want to place migrants on Accredited Employer Work Visas with third parties – including labour hire companies, for whom the extension will be for 12 months.

What information does my business need to provide in its application for accreditation?

To employ migrants on Accredited Employer Work Visas (AEWVs), all employers must meet the standard accreditation requirements.

These requirements are intended to ensure all employers hiring migrants meet minimum requirements to support and settle migrants and comply with employment and immigration laws.

At a high level, the criterion for standard accreditation includes:

  • Must be a genuinely operating business with an NZBN number;
  • Your business must be profitable (before depreciation & tax);
  • Have positive cashflow;
  • Have sufficient capital and/or external investment funding;
  • Have a business plan to ensure the business remains viable;
  • Must not have a recent history of regulatory non-compliance; and
  • Must take steps to minimise the risk of exploitation.

If you want to hire 6 or more migrants, you will also need to meet the following requirements:

  • Demonstrate a commitment to improving pay and conditions for all employees over time.
  • All job checks submitted must have a starting pay rate of 10% or more over the minimum wage in NZ, or be covered by a collective agreement.

Businesses operating a franchise must – in addition to the requirements for standard or high volume accreditation above, are required to:

  • Been operating for a minimum of 12 months;
  • Show a demonstrated history of hiring New Zealand workers.

If you are hiring migrant workers to be placed with a controlling third party (a separate legal entity to the entity named on the employee’s employment agreement), in addition to meeting the standard requirements for standard businesses and high volume businesses you must also:

  • Only place AEWV workers with compliant businesses (meaning that the business has an NZBN number & that they would meet all criteria in their own right;
  • Have robust systems in place to monitor working conditions;
  • Have a history of placing employees with third parties for a minimum of 12 months;
  • Demonstrate that a minimum of 15% of your workforce placed with third parties are New Zealanders placed in full-time employment;
  • You will remain responsible for checking the workplace environment and for investigating any issues arising including any and all employment or safety issues brought to your attention or noted by yourself or your representatives.

Our business is already accredited with Immigration NZ – do we need to reapply under the new system?

Yes, you will need to reapply.

If a business wants to hire migrant workers on the new Accredited Employer Work Visa, commencing 1 November 2021, they will need to reapply to demonstrate that they meet the requirements of the new policy.

If you are an employer of current Talent and Essential Skill visa holders, you only need to be accredited under the new system when you need access to migrant workers on the new Accredited Employer Work Visa (from 1 November).

Need Help with Accreditation Processes or Works Visa Applications?

VisaAide and ConsultingHQ are both ready to help employers with all aspects of accreditation, we can support and advise you on a consultancy basis to take care of the entire process for you. Contact Cameron and his team of NZ Licenced Immigration Advisors at VisaAide regarding application processing at Immigration NZ, or the team at ConsultingHQ for HR processes for Employer Accreditation Application.

Use the email links below to make contact easily!

What are the costs?

Refer to the Employer Accreditation page for costs.

What is the new median wage?

On 4 July 2022, when the Accredited employer work visa opens for applications, the median wage will also change from $27 per hour to $27.76 per hour.

What is a job check?

Once you have become Accredited, the next step is to apply for a job check for each job you want to hire a migrant worker for.

If you do not do this, you cannot hire a migrant worker on an AEWV. If you have multiple positions that have the exact same details (for example it is the same occupation, pay range, region/city, and the same minimum job requirements) they can be covered by the same advertising and proposed employment agreement, therefore, can be included on the one job check.

A job check fee is NZD $610 and a reconsideration of declined job check is NZD $240. Once a job check is approved, it is valid for 6 months or until you no longer hold accreditation, whichever is earlier.

Do I have to do labor market testing when I am recruiting out of the city and in the regions?

Highly paid jobs (if the job is being paid at least 200% of the median wage) do not have to be advertised. All other jobs must pay at least the median wage and you must have advertised for New Zealanders. This has unfortunately changed again.