Accreditation: what you need to commit to

To hire migrants on the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) you must meet standard requirements, and commitments which vary depending on the level of accreditation you need.

There are different levels of accreditation depending on how many Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) holders you want to employ.

Standard and high-volume accreditation

The accreditation levels are:

  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 towards the total.

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

Franchisees and employers wanting to place migrants on AEWVs with controlling third parties (including labour hire companies) must meet additional requirements.

Minimum accreditation requirements

All employers wanting to hire migrants on AEWVs must meet standard accreditation criteria.

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

NZBN

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).

In some cases we may ask for more evidence or declarations.

Genuine business

You must be a genuinely operating business.

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

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

  • be profitable (before depreciation and tax) or
  • have 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.

If you are a partnership or sole trader, you must not be bankrupt or subject to a No Asset Procedure (we do automated checks with the Insolvency Register).

Inland Revenue

Insolvency Register

No recent history of regulatory non-compliance

You must be prepared to declare:

  • You and your significant office holders are not on the Labour Inspectorate stand-down list.
  • You and your significant office holders have not recently been convicted of specific immigration-related offences resulting in a fine or imprisonment. If you 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 offence is. 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.
  • You or your significant office holders have not employed a migrant who does not have the right visa or visa conditions to work in that role, you have not employed a migrant in a role or under conditions that do not match those provided in their employer-supported visa application, or provided false or misleading information to INZ. If you or your office holders have, you must show you have addressed these issues and taken steps to make sure it does not happen again.
  • Your business has not been re-established under a new legal entity and NZBN while remaining essentially the same as another business failing to meet the accreditation requirements.
  • Your significant office holders are not banned from acting as a director or have a pattern of immigration offences in other businesses they have been involved in. Where offences have occurred you must show you have taken steps to prevent it happening in the business applying for accreditation.

INZ will contact the employer if background checks show the employer does not meet the requirements.

Banned directors

Immigration law

Minimise the risk of exploitation

You must allow migrant workers time to complete Employment New Zealand's online modules on employment rights during paid work hours.

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

Online employment rights modules

You must pay all recruitment costs in New Zealand and outside New Zealand. Accreditation will be revoked if INZ discovers this is not the case.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • advertising
  • recruitment agency fees
  • immigration fees for employer
  • job check applications
  • trade testing
  • tools where the ownership is retained by the employer.

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

You should keep records during the accreditation period to show requirements are being met.

These commitments are agreed with INZ by declaration when you get accredited and must be completed during the accreditation period. You must confirm by declaration you have completed them when you apply for your next accreditation.

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 provide migrant workers with local community and services information including:

  • accommodation options
  • transport options
  • cost of living
  • how to access healthcare services
  • Citizens Advice Bureau services
  • information about relevant community groups like religious or migrant groups.

Recording these commitments could include a register signed by the migrant worker, and email records between you and the migrant worker.

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.

All of these commitments will be confirmed by you by declaration and INZ will revoke accreditation if breaches are found.

Job quota

If you hold standard accreditation a job quota 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, you will need to apply for high-volume accreditation for 6 or more migrant workers to apply for more job checks and hire AEWV holders.

Extra requirements for high-volume accreditation

In addition to meeting the standard accreditation requirements, if you want to hire 6 or more migrants on AEWVs at any one time you will need to show a commitment to improving pay and conditions for all employees over time.

To show this all jobs you submit at the job check must either have a starting pay rate of at least 10% above the minimum wage, or be covered by a collective agreement.

Note

If you choose a collective agreement you must submit this as the proposed employment agreement at job check.

If not, the job check will be declined.

Extra requirements for franchisees

In addition to meeting standard accreditation requirements (and high-volume requirements if applicable), franchisee employers must:

  • have been operating for at least 12 months, and
  • have a history of hiring New Zealand workers.

We will provide a detailed definition of which franchisee business models must meet these requirements before the AEWV is introduced.

Extra requirements for employers wanting to place migrants with controlling third parties

A controlling third party is a separate legal entity to the direct employer named on the worker’s employment agreement.

Placing AEWV holders in different parts of a single business is not considered placing migrants with controlling third parties.

A controlling third party:

  • is a separate legal entity to the direct employer
  • has an arrangement or contract with the employer allowing its employees to perform work for the benefit of the controlling third party, and
  • can direct or control those employees as if the controlling third party was the direct employer.

Controlling third party

Extra accreditation requirements apply if you want to place AEWV holders with controlling third parties.

Examples of employers who place people with controlling third parties include:

  • labour hire companies
  • employers who send migrant employees on secondment to a controlling third party
  • parent or umbrella companies placing their migrant workers with a third party such as a subsidiary company or branch that is a separate legal entity.

You only need to meet the extra requirements if you want to place AEWV holders with controlling third parties. You do not need to meet the extra requirements if you only place NZ citizens, residents, or holders of other visas.

As well as meeting standard accreditation requirements (and high-volume requirements if applicable), you must only place AEWV holders with compliant businesses. A ‘compliant business’ means a business that has a NZBN, that is not on the Labour Inspectorate stand-down list, and has satisfied you they do not have immigration-related issues preventing them from being granted accreditation in their own right.

You must also:

  • have good systems in place to monitor employment and safety conditions on site
  • have a history of placing employees with controlling third parties for the past 12 months
  • show that at least 15% of your workforce being placed with controlling third parties are New Zealanders in full-time employment.

Your systems to monitor employment and safety conditions on site must cover proactive and reactive actions, which could include, but are not limited to:

  • upfront checking of work conditions before the migrant is placed with a controlling third party
  • ensuring the migrant worker and controlling third party have a clear understanding of visa conditions and employment and safety obligations
  • monitoring the work conditions of workers, which could include ensuring there are channels for employees to report issues and conducting appropriate onsite visits, depending on the duration of the placements and any perceived risks
  • investigating and addressing employment and safety issues identified which may include working with the controlling third party to resolve issues or removing migrants from the controlling third party.

You may be subject to verification and compliance checks to ensure good systems are in place.

Accreditation duration

When you are approved you will receive 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.