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Changes to 90-day trial periods on Accredited Employer Work Visa and AEWV labour hire (triangular) employment threshold workers

From 29 October, Employers cannot use 90-day trial periods when hiring people on an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV). From 27 November, labour hire (triangular) construction employment firms will need to have at least 35% of their labour hire workforce made up of New Zealand citizens and residents.

18 October 2023
6 minute read

Stopping the use of 90-day trial periods

From 29 October, accredited employers are not able to use 90-day trial periods in employment agreements when hiring people on an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV). This is to encourage accredited employers to treat migrant fairly, and only recruit someone when they have a genuine labour need or skills gap to fill. 

Employment agreements provided with job check applications must not include a trial period.  

Employers who use a trial period in employment agreements will risk having their accreditation revoked. 

Breaches could be detected up front as part of the Job Check process, or through post-decision and re-accreditation checks. 

Who does it apply to? 

From 29 October, an employer’s AEWV Job Check application under assessment will be declined if it includes an employment agreement with a trial period (regardless of the submission date), or Immigration New Zealand (INZ) may request updated information. This includes Job Checks submitted before 29 October 2023 but assessed on and after this date. 

The 90-day trial rule will not apply to: 

  • applications based on already-approved Job Checks, or 
  • migrants who already hold, or have applied for, an AEWV based on a job check that was approved prior to 29 October 2023 (when the policy takes effect). 

Clarification of the ability to suspend or revoke an employer’s accreditation under the AEWV

Additionally, technical updates have been made to immigration instructions to clarify the ability to suspend or revoke an employer’s accreditation under the AEWV. 

From 29 October: 

  • an employer’s accreditation can be suspended when INZ or another regulator is taking active steps to confirm an employer or its key people are compliant with immigration, employment and business standards. This includes any verification or compliance activities – not just formal investigations., 
  • the requirement for accredited employers not to pass on certain costs to migrant workers includes passing on costs to visa applicants, as well as those who already hold a visa. 

AEWV Labour hire (triangular) employment threshold change 

From 27 November 2023, we will be requiring accredited employers who are labour hire (triangular) employment firms who place migrants in specific construction occupations to have at least 35% of their labour hire workforce made up of New Zealand citizens and residents in full time employment. This is an increase from the current threshold of 15%. 

We will now assess the New Zealand workforce threshold at both the accreditation and Job Check stages. Job Checks will fail if the new threshold is not met. 

Existing employers will not lose their current accreditation if they don't meet the new 35% threshold, as long as they continue to meet the 15% threshold. However, we will not approve a further Job Check until they meet the new threshold. 

The increased threshold will only apply to labour hire employers who are placing, or intending to place, AEWV holders in the following occupations: 


Builder’s labourer 

Building insulation installer 


Carpenter and joiner 


Construction rigger 

Crane chaser 

Drainage, sewerage and stormwater labourer 

Driller’s assistant 

Earthmoving labourer 


Fibrous plasterer 

Fitter (General) 

Floor finisher 


Home improvement installer 




Metal fabricator 

Painting trades worker 

Paving and surfacing labourer 

Plumber’s assistant 

Railway track worker 

Roof plumber 

Roof tiler 


Solid plasterer 

Steel Fixer 


Structural steel erector 

Surveyor’s assistant 

Wall and floor tiler 

You are a triangular employer if:

  • You are employing staff for the purposes of placing or assigning the employee with a controlling third party. 
  • It is ‘triangular’ because there are three parties to an employment arrangement, with each party having distinct relationships with one another.  

Checks for employers with incorrect accreditation are underway. 

Find out more about the changes here:
NZ workforce requirements for the construction sector

AEWV processing times 

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has made adjustments to our Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) assessment approach. We are making more requests for further information from employers to confirm job vacancies are current, vacancies are genuine and whether employers can support the migrants they plan to hire.   

As a result, we are experiencing an increase in our processing times for the employer accreditation and job check phases of the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV). 

Most applications are taking longer than 10 days to process at present. We recommend employers allow at least six weeks to apply for an accreditation and six weeks to apply for a job check with current processing times. We are working to improve these.  

Information on our current processing timeframes:
How long it takes to process an application

If an application has not yet been allocated for assessment and you need to request urgent allocation, employers can use the INZ employment visa escalation process to request that their application is prioritised if necessary. Note: an application taking longer than 10 days to process is not in itself a reason to be prioritised given the current volumes we are processing.  

Escalation for urgent applications

How you can help 

Employer accreditation 

Immigration New Zealand needs to be satisfied you are a genuine and viable business. 

To help streamline the processing of your employer accreditation application, you may wish to upload evidence of your business’ financial position in the further evidence section of the application to demonstrate this. For example, profit and loss statements for the business that cover the last 24 months.  

Job checks 

If you have a Job Check application in progress

If we have not yet made a decision on your Job Check application, you need to:

  • Review the Job Check application and make sure that the employment agreement does not include a trial period.
  • If the employment agreement includes a trial period, upload as soon as possible an updated employment agreement that does not include a trial period.

This will help us to process the application more quickly.

The Job Check application can be declined or will take longer to process if the employment agreement includes a trial period.

If you are applying for a new Job Check

Make sure the job check applications are for roles where there are current vacancies. Job check applications for future possible work are not allowed under immigration instructions. 

Make sure all required documentation is provided so the application is ready for a decision.  

If you are including multiple vacancies in one job check, include additional information to show these vacancies are genuine and your client can support the migrants they plan to hire. This could include: 

  • organisation charts 
  • contracts for ongoing work 
  • details on your migrant settlement support. 

This can be provided in the ‘further evidence’ section of the job check application.