Hiring migrants on the Accredited Employer Work Visa

There are 3 steps to hiring a migrant on the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV). These are accreditation, the job check, and the AEWV application. You can apply for accreditation from 10am on 23 May 2022 and for a job check from 20 June 2022.

You are encouraged to hire New Zealanders first

Businesses are encouraged to train, upskill and hire New Zealand workers before they hire migrants. If you are an employer and you cannot find suitable New Zealanders for a role, you can apply to hire migrants on the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV).

You need to get accredited to show you are a viable business and you meet employment and immigration standards.

Note

You do not need to get accredited to hire migrants on other work visa types, such as post-study work or working holiday visas, or migrants who do work covered by the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme.

Getting accredited

This is a new type of accreditation. You will need to apply even if you have been accredited under the previous system. You can initially be accredited for 12 months, then 24 months when you renew.

All employers must meet a minimum set of accreditation requirements, including:

  • being a viable and genuinely operating business
  • being compliant with employment, immigration and business regulatory standards
  • completing activities to support the settlement of migrant employees.

There are different types of accreditation depending on your business model, and in some cases the number of migrants you want to hire.

For most employers, accreditation will be simple and not require a lot of documentation.

You need to pay a fee for the application.

Accreditation types and employers' requirements

Passing the job check

Once you are accredited, you need to apply for a job check for each job you want to hire a migrant worker for.

You will need to have advertised the role and include evidence you have advertised in the job check.

The Government has introduced a new Green List to make it easier for employers to hire migrants in specific occupations.

You do not need proof of advertising for the job check if the role is on the Green List or is paid at least 2x the median wage.

Green List occupations

Multiple positions for the same job can be included in one job check if the job details are the same and are all covered by the same advertising (where required) and proposed employment agreement.

You can only hire a migrant worker on an AEWV for a job if it passed the job check. Employers pay for a job check.

The job check confirms:

  • the job pays the market rate and meets wage thresholds applicable under the relevant job check pathway
  • the job’s terms and conditions comply with New Zealand employment laws and standards
  • the job is for a minimum of 30 hours a week
  • you have advertised the job to New Zealanders, if you need to.

If you offer the job to a migrant but do not hire them, you can offer the job to another suitable applicant. You do not have to redo the job check unless it has expired.

Employment law

Visa application

If the job passes the job check the migrant worker can apply for a visa.

INZ checks if the visa applicant meets the requirements for the AEWV, including that they have the skills and experience for the job.

How long your application will take

We have estimated how long it will take to process applications. The accreditation timeframes are typical for applications where the employer has a standard business model and no history of non-compliance. For all applications, the estimate assumes that all information necessary to make a decision has been provided at the time of application.

Estimated application processing timeframes are:

  • standard and high-volume accreditation 10 working days
  • job check 10 working days
  • Accredited Employer Work Visa 20 working days.

When you can apply

AEWV accreditation applications will be available online only. Applications open from 10am on 23 May 2022. The AEWV will not be available for migrant workers until 4 July 2022. Job check applications open 20 June 2022.

Employers who do not plan to hire migrant workers on AEWVs in July do not need to apply for accreditation immediately. Employers should apply when they plan to start using their accreditation.

The estimated processing timeframe for standard and high-volume accreditation is 10 working days, where the employer has a standard business model, no history of non-compliance and all information necessary to make a decision has been provided with the application.

How much it costs

There are different fees depending on the type of accreditation you get.

  • Standard accreditation, up to 5 migrants at any one time, is NZD $740.
  • High-volume, 6 or more migrants at any one time, is NZD $1220.

This fee reflects the additional risk assurance activities we may have to undertake, as the impact of non-compliance increases with the greater number of migrants employed by a business.

  • Upgrade fee for employers who want to upgrade from standard to high-volume accreditation, is NZD $480.
  • Employers wanting to place migrants with controlling third parties, is NZD $3870.
  • Franchisees is NZD $1980.
  • Reconsideration of a declined employer accreditation application is NZD $240.
  • Employers accredited under the Talent (Accredited Employer) scheme will have the fee for their initial AEWV accreditation waived, as long as their existing accreditation is valid for at least a further 6 months from 23 May 2022. The Talent (Accredited Employer) scheme has closed to new applications.

Pathways to residence

The Green List provides immediate residency for migrants in specific roles from September 2022. A work to residence pathway is available for all other roles on the Green List and migrants who earn 2x the median wage in the same role for 2 years on an AEWV.

Green List occupations