CHANGES TO THE ACCREDITED EMPLOYER WORK VISA
When it becomes available on 4 July 2022, the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) will replace the Essential Skills Work Visa and the Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa. Employers who wish to hire migrants on an AEWV must first be accredited and then submit a job check for the appropriate vacancy.
On 3 February 2022, the Prime Minister announced the Government’s proposals for reconnecting New Zealand to the world. As part of Step 4, the new Accredited Employer Work Visa will be available for application in July to migrants from both New Zealand and other countries.
Accreditation, job checks, and AEWV applications would be the three steps to employing a migrant on the AEWV. To account for the changes to the AEWV and further decisions to come from the Government, the key dates are now:
23 May 2022 – employers can apply for accreditation
20 June 2022 – accredited employers can submit a job check
4 July 2022 (unchanged) – migrants can apply for an AEWV, where the employer is accredited, and a job check has been completed
Until 3 July 2022, migrant workers can still apply for an Essential Skills Work Visa. Employers do not need to apply for accreditation from 23 May 2022, unless they intend to hire migrants on an AEWV soon after 4 July 2022.
Unlike “Accredited Employer” under the previous system, accreditation will be a simple and relatively low-touch assessment for most employers, and INZ will endeavour to process applications quickly.
On 4 July 2022, the median wage will increase from $27.00 to $27.76 an hour, in line with when the AEWV opens to applications. Employers who submit job checks before 4 July 2022 should use the new median wage since all visa applications will be made on or after that date.
Compared to the original announcement from INZ on 7 May 2021, there are also some changes to simplify the accreditation and job check steps, which might be a pathway to obtaining residency under AEWV:
Employers can upgrade from standard to high-volume accreditation at any time throughout their accreditation period with a fee.
Now covered under the new median wage standard, high-volume accreditation no longer includes a requirement that positions pay at least 10% over the minimum wage. This implies that high-volume accreditation now has the same requirements as the standard one. Further requirements for high-volume employers may be announced later.
INZ will have more flexibility in calculating whether migrants meet the median wage threshold.
During the job check step, the labour market test (LMT) is no longer regionalized. Unless the position pays at least twice the median wage, employers will need to advertise their vacancies.
In the future, a pathway to residence will be introduced for migrants who have held an AEWV for 2 years and are paid at least twice the median wage. Further details and timing will be released as part of the review of the Skilled Migrant Category.
At the same time, INZ also officially announced the fees for each of the 3 checks, which are summarised below:
23 May 2022
Standard accreditation, up to 5 migrants at any one time.
High-volume, 6 or more migrants at any one time.
Upgrade from standard to high-volume
Place migrants with controlling third parties
20 June 2022
Job check, an approved job check is valid for 6 months or until you no longer hold accreditation, whichever is earlier.
4 July 2022
Application for AEWV
Immigration levy paid by worker
Variation of conditions
Remedies of declined
Reconsideration of declined employer accreditation application
Reconsideration of declined job check
Reconsideration of a declined AEWV application
For more information, contact: Grace Zhang - Grace@k3.co.nz, 09 3661366