Employer Accreditation Criteria for Work Visas

There is a new wave of immigration changes in New Zealand. Here is the information that every prospective accredited employer must know.

The new employer accreditation criteria for work visas will disqualify many businesses from applying, while others may not even bother trying despite their desperation for specialist workers from other countries.

The conditions are part of a dossier from Immigration New Zealand on how to achieve and maintain accreditation.

Immigration New Zealand's goal is to convince businesses to employ additional New Zealanders whenever possible and only hire non-citizens or residents for positions where there are severe shortages.

To prevent businesses from exploiting migrant workers, additional risks and punishments are put on the employers if they're not clearly implementing these new criteria.

A few key points from INZ's accreditation instructions are listed below. If you need assistance understanding these directions, please reach out to a licensed immigration adviser at Professional Visa Solutions.

In order to do business in New Zealand, you will need an NZBN

The only exception to needing a New Zealand Business Number for accreditation is if you represent a foreign diplomatic or consular mission, such as an embassy, high commission, or consulate.

If you're a sole trader, partnership, or trust currently operating in New Zealand, as defined by the New Zealand Business Number Act 2016, then you can apply for an NZBN.

Your business must prove it is viable

Some businesses may have a difficult time fulfilling this criterion, as they have been for years. Employers must:

  • have not been unprofitable (before depreciation and tax) in the last two years. or,
  • have had a positive cash flow for the past 6 months. or,
  • have enough money and/or external investment (for example, funding from a founder, parent company, or trust) to ensure the employer’s business is successful and continues; or
  • To ensure that the employer's business is viable and long-lasting, have a credible plan spanning at least two years (for example, by having work contracts).

You must show that you are qualified by exhibiting financial documents like an annual report or profit and loss statements, proof of either start-up capital or funding, a cash-flow statement and/or believable revenue forecast, contracts for work, GST returns, income tax returns, PAYE returns, bank statements, stock lists/orders .and/or leases for business premises or space.

Helping migrant workers settle

You, the employer, now have to take charge of supporting your AEWV employee in settling down here in New Zealand. Try to help them within one month after they've started working for you.

For example, you will need to provide a wealth of information to your migrant employees about their new surroundings. This may include local community and services information like accommodation options, transport (including driving and driver licence requirements, as well as public transportation), the cost of living in the area, how to access essential services such as healthcare or the Citizens Advice Bureaux, and relevant community groups. In order for your new employees to get started, you will need to show them how to obtain an IRD number and any relevant industry qualifications. You should also give them a run-down of common job or industry hazards so that they are prepared.

Employees must be given enough time during their paid work hours to finish all of Employment New Zealand's online employee modules.

New employees have one month to complete all settlement support activities. Though they may be unfamiliar to you, it's crucial that these are done correctly in order to demonstrate to INZ that you're a good employer.

Completing employment New Zealand modules

AEWV employees are required to complete all of Employment New Zealand's online employee modules during paid work hours. Additionally, evidence that the modules have been completed must also be provided.

If you are a hiring manager, human resource manager, or director making recruitment decisions involving AEWV holders, you must complete Employment New Zealand’s most recent online employer modules on employment rights.

Internalizing costs

You are not allowed to charge your AEWV employees for the costs of getting accredited or employed, and you need to demonstrate this. We recommend that you also check your employment contracts for any clauses which say that the employee has to pay certain fees-these will need to be removed from contracts involving holders of an AEWV visa.

For example, you can’t charge employees for recruitment, training, or equipment in New Zealand and outside of New Zealand. This includes costs related to advertising, recruitment agency fees, employer accreditation, and Job Check application fees - as well as any other associated costs such as immigration adviser fees. There are some costs that you can't avoid when it comes to training and induction, health and safety equipment, or branded uniforms. This includes trade testing fees or the cost of tools where the employer retains ownership.

You can no longer charge employees for other expenses, so it is critical that your contracts do not have such language and you can demonstrate that you aren't imposing these costs.

Additional requirements for franchisee employers

Before applying to become a franchisee employer, you must already have been carrying out business as a franchisee in New Zealand for at least 12 months. In addition, at least 15% of your employees must be New Zealand citizens or residents who are guaranteed 30 paid hours per week. The only exception is if you only have one employee.

If an employer is seeking to use another legal entity's history as a franchisee, they must meet the following requirements: 66% or more of ownership between the employer and other entity must be identical, both entities must operate in the same sector, and finally, both businesses need to offer similar goods and/or services.

To apply, you'll need to provide proof of the aforementioned, like certificates of occupancy or lease agreements for business premises or space, evidence of bank transactions, tax records, and stock lists/orders. In addition owners' (of the employer organization and affiliated organization) names and contact information will be required.

Losing accreditation

If you fail to meet any of the requirements for accreditation, you will no longer be accredited. Furthermore, if you break the Immigration Act 2009 in any way, you will be charged and have a period where you are not allowed to hire.

Talk to us!

If you have any questions or concerns about the AEWV, please book a initial consultation with one of our licensed immigration advisers. They would be more than happy to chat with you about your specific case and see how they can help.

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