Accreditation types and employer requirements

You must meet minimum requirements and commitments to hire migrants on the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV). Some business models must meet additional requirements.

Accreditation types and your business model

All accreditation types have the same minimum requirements, and for most employers, accreditation will be simple and not require a lot of documentation. Some business models must meet additional requirements.

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

For trusts, partnerships and sole traders, the business entity (which has an NZBN) must hold the accreditation, and the employer named on the employment agreement must be one or more of the trustees, partners or the sole trader.

An AEWV holder cannot be self-employed.

AEWV applications online only

AEWV accreditation applications will be available online only. Applications open 23 May 2022. The AEWV will not be available until 4 July 2022.

Standard businesses

For standard business models there are 2 different levels of accreditation depending on how many migrants you want to employ.

  1. Standard accreditation — if you want up to 5 migrant workers on AEWVs at any one time.
  2. High-volume accreditation — if you want 6 or more migrant workers on AEWVs at any one time.

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. Additional requirements for high-volume employers may be considered in the future.

Employers can pay a fee to upgrade from standard to high-volume accreditation.

Franchisees and employers who place migrants with a controlling third party

Franchisees, and employers wanting to place migrants on AEWVs with controlling third parties (including labour hire companies), must apply for the accreditation suited to their business model.

Due to the increased risk to migrant workers with these business models there are additional standards they have to meet.

Accreditation for employers placing migrants with controlling third parties

Franchisee accreditation

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, or
  • the migrant is granted a variation of conditions to work for another employer.

If you hold controlling third party, franchisee or high-volume accreditation there are no restrictions on the number of AEWV holders you can have at one time.

Job quota limits

If you have standard accreditation, a job quota limit applies and you can only employ 5 AEWV holders at one time. You cannot apply for a job check while your job quota is at its limit. This means if all 5 spaces in your job quota are filled, you must wait for an AEWV holder to leave your employment, or for their visa to expire or be cancelled, before you can apply for a new job check to replace them.

Alternatively, you can upgrade to high-volume accreditation which allows you to employ or hold a job check for more than 5 AEWVs at one time.

You cannot automatically rollover an existing AEWV holder in the same role when their visa is close to expiry. You need to carry out a new job check to check if any New Zealanders are available to do the job and advertise the role, if you need to. If your job check is approved, you can invite a suitably skilled migrant worker to fill the role and apply for an AEWV (this may be the same migrant worker who filled the role previously). To do this, make sure you have enough spaces available in your job quota to concurrently hold the number of job checks and visas you require. This might mean you need to upgrade to high-volume accreditation.

Minimum requirements for all business types

All employers wanting to hire migrants on AEWVs must meet minimum accreditation criteria. This is to ensure only employers who meet New Zealand employment, immigration and business standards have access to migrant workers on AEWVs.

Viable and genuinely operating business

You must be a viable and genuinely operating business.

You must be registered as an employer with Inland Revenue (IRD).

Your business must meet one of these:

  • be profitable (before depreciation and tax over the last 24 months)
  • have positive cash flow for each of the last 6 months
  • have sufficient capital and external investment or funding (for example from a founder or parent company)
  • have a plan to ensure the business remains viable.

Businesses operating for less than 12 months must provide evidence of this criteria at application.

Evidence for businesses operating less than 12 months may include:

  • evidence of start-up capital or funding
  • cash-flow or revenue forecasts
  • contracts for work
  • GST returns
  • PAYE returns.

Most other employers will not need to provide evidence upfront, but evidence may be required to show you meet the requirements once the application is submitted or at any time during your accreditation.

If you are a partnership or sole trader, you must not be bankrupt or subject to a No Asset Procedure.

Register as an employer | Inland Revenue

Insolvency Register | New Zealand Insolvency and Trustee Service

Compliant with immigration, employment and business standards

You and your key people must not be subject to a stand-down period or permanent ban from hiring migrant workers.

NOTE

Key people include directors of a company, partners in a partnership, school principals, and any other person who can influence an organisation's compliance with employment and immigration law.

You will have to provide correct details of key people in your organisation, for example, their full name, date of birth and passport number. You will need their consent to provide this information in the application form.

Stand-down periods and permanent bans are imposed if an employer breaches minimum employment standards or is convicted of certain Immigration Act or Crimes Act offences.

The Labour Inspectorate maintains a list of employers who are subject to a stand-down for breaches of employment standards.

Employers who have breached minimum employment standards | Employment New Zealand

There are specific Immigration Act and Crimes Act offences that can lead to a stand-down period or permanent ban.

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. This only applies to stand-downs for Immigration Act offences, not the Labour Inspectorate stand-down list for breaches of employment standards.

You or your key people must not have:

  • employed a migrant who did not have the right visa or visa conditions to work in that role
  • provided false or misleading information to INZ.

If you have, you need to have addressed the non-compliance and taken steps to prevent it re-occurring before you can get AEWV accreditation.

You or your key people must not be banned from acting as a director or have a pattern of immigration offences in other businesses you or your key people have been involved in.

A business with compliance failures cannot be closed and opened again under a new name to dodge those failures. We will still take the compliance issues in the previous business into account.

Banned directors | New Zealand Companies Office

Immigration law

Completed employer learning modules

You must ensure everyone making recruitment decisions completes Employment New Zealand's most recent online employer modules on employment rights.

This could include hiring managers, human resource managers, sole traders, and partners. This only applies to those involved in hiring AEWV holders.

You must keep records of all of the modules being completed. The modules must be completed once within every accreditation period and finished before that period ends.

Online employment learning modules | Employment New Zealand

Pay recruitment costs

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 application fees
  • trade testing
  • tools where the ownership is retained by the employer
  • compulsory 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.

Provide settlement support

You must provide migrant workers with work-related settlement information within one month of the employee beginning their employment including:

  • how to get an IRD number
  • relevant industry training and qualification information and options
  • specific job or industry hazards.
  • accommodation options
  • transport options
  • cost of living
  • how to access healthcare services
  • Citizens Advice Bureau services
  • information about relevant community groups.

Your AEWV holder should be directed to appropriate websites with information about living in New Zealand.

In assembling settlement information for AEWV holders, employers can get information from government websites such as:

Employer guides

Settle migrant staff

Managing health and safety at work.

Worksafe

Employment rights and responsibilities | Employment New Zealand

Immigration policy and law

It is important that you can provide documentation to show the requirements are being met, such as the actual information given to migrants, a register signed by the AEWV holder and email records between you and the migrant.

Let employees complete learning modules

You must allow migrant workers time to complete all of Employment New Zealand's most recent online employee modules on employment rights during paid work hours within one month of the AEWV holder starting employment.

You must keep records of all of the modules being completed.

Online employment learning modules | Employment New Zealand

We may request your records to ensure the requirements have been met.

AEWV information for migrants

Hold a New Zealand Business Number

You must hold a New Zealand Business Number (NZBN). Your NZBN links your business information with our application system.

Get an NZBN | NZBN

Foreign missions and embassies applying for AEWV accreditation do not need to provide an NZBN. You complete the same application form, which asks if you are a foreign mission or embassy employer, and if you are it does not ask for an NZBN.

Sole traders, partners, trustees

Sole traders, partners in a partnership or trustees in a trust must have New Zealand as the primary place of established residence for the sole trader (person), or at least one partner or trustee.

Assessing your application

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 we are not satisfied you meet the requirements, or if we want more information to assess your application.

In some cases you may need to upload documents when you are making the employer accreditation application rather than waiting for INZ to make a request for information.

How long you can be accredited

When you are approved for the first time you will receive employer accreditation for 12 months.

At renewal, franchisees and employers placing migrants on AEWVs with controlling third parties will get accreditation for a further 12 months.

All other employers will get accreditation for 24 months when they renew, providing their previous accreditation has not lapsed for 12 months or more.

Maintaining accreditation

We may do checks during the accreditation period to ensure you still meet the accreditation requirements.

This could include requesting information or doing a site visit.

You must provide information requested, and provide access for site visits. If you do not, your accreditation will be revoked.

If we become aware at any point during the accreditation period that you do not meet the requirements, your accreditation will be revoked.

If you are under investigation or being prosecuted for breaching accreditation requirements, your accreditation can be suspended, and you won’t be able to support any job check applications.

If any of the details you provided in your application change you must tell us within 10 business days.

If you go through a restructure or merger, your accreditation cannot be transferred to a new legal entity. Any new entity will need to apply in their own right.

When you apply to renew accreditation, we may ask for evidence you have completed any activities you were required to do during the previous accreditation period.

When accreditation expires or is revoked

Any migrants already working for you can continue working for you, but you cannot hire any more migrants on AEWVs.

If you have submitted an application to renew you accreditation and it has not been processed by the time your existing accreditation expires, you may be granted interim accreditation.

Interim accreditation is valid for 3 months or until the subsequent application has been decided, whichever occurs first.

If interim accreditation is granted and is different to the type of accreditation you hold, you must adhere to the conditions of the interim accreditation.

Job check

The job check is the next step for employers wanting to hire migrants on the AEWV.

Passing the job check