If you're thinking about applying for getting an accredited employer status or offering a job to an overseas professional to fill your organisation's skill gap, it's important to learn about accreditation and the AEWV. This will help you avoid any problems that could come up during the immigration process.

The process of applying for an Accredited Employer status through Immigration New Zealand can be complicated, but we will help simplify it by walking you through everything you need to know about the process, from becoming accredited to applying for the AEWV on behalf of your skilled workers. We will help you with every step in the journey.

Understanding Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) New Zealand

An Accredited Employer Work Visa lets an individual work in New Zealand for a maximum of three years if they have sponsorship from an accredited employer. The conditions to be met by the employer are stringent, but include proving that the business is viable and has complied with immigration and employment law in the past. Those businesses who can meet these requirements will be rewarded with accreditation status.

The benefits visa offers make them highly sought-after. However, since they are in such high demand, they can be difficult to obtain. Therefore, it's recommended that you follow all the guidelines and compliance requirements set by Immigration New Zealand for employer accreditation.

The new Accredited Employer Work Visas entitle certain occupations to obtain a pathway to residence. The roles on the Green List are professions where migrants can apply for residence straight away if they work within that profession, or after completing two years of work in NZ.

The New Zealand government has recently enacted changes to the process of issuing work visas, resulting in difficulties for NZ employers who want to hire migrant workers.

Under the revised system, employers will be required to prove that they considered New Zealand citizens for the role before being able to sponsor a migrant worker. There are many requirements to consider when advertising a job, such as how long the advert should run for, what qualifications and experience are required, and so on.

Furthermore, employers must be able to show that they are paying their migrant employees the median wage for the role or higher and have the financial stability to support them.

Understanding The Labour Market Test

New Zealand has high employment standards, and prospective employers must complete a 'labour market test' to get an accreditation. Once it becomes clear that there are no New Zealanders who can do the job, overseas workers may be considered.
Before businesses hire migrants, they are encouraged to train and upskill New Zealand workers. If you're an employer who can't find any New Zealanders that fit a role, then you're able to apply to have migrants fill in that position with an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV).

Employer Accreditation Defined

Immigration New Zealand assesses and recognizes some employers as 'low-risk sponsors' of migrant workers and then gives them a special status, this status is called accredited employer status. Becoming an accredited employer and recruiting overseas employees requires dedication and a willingness to learn new things.
Professional Visa Solutions eases the process of finding, employing, and settling migrants in New Zealand. We offer a variety of services to help you every step of the way so that you can focus on your business. Contact us today to get started.

Why Become an Accredited Employer?

Businesses that want to hire workers from other countries are required to become accredited employers. For example, if you want to fill a skilled position by hiring someone from another country, your business must be accredited.

The government has these rules in place to make sure that New Zealanders are able to find employment before businesses look overseas. The government also wants to ensure that New Zealand companies have solid, valuable practices in place to support migrant workers.

The Benefits of Employer Accreditation

If you're an employer, there are many benefits that you can reap by getting accredited. For example, if you frequently sponsor migrant workers for work visas, the application process for these workers will be more streamlined as it is required for you to become an accredited employer.

Some benefits of being an accredited employer are that your business will have a better reputation, which you can prove by being financially stable and having low-risk for migrant workers.

In addition, the accreditation status makes it easier to find and recruit employees with the right skills for jobs that require high levels of talent. These could be skills that are rare or nonexistent in New Zealand.

Being an accredited employer also exempts you from having to fill out extra paperwork when a candidate applies for a visa to work in New Zealand.

The Benefits of an AEWV for Your Employees

If your company offers an Accredited Employer Work Visa, employees are eligible to work a minimum of 30 hours per week in New Zealand.

In addition, they can take courses amounting up to 3 months out of any 12-month period for personal enrichment or vocation-related purposes. Migrants on an Accredited Employer Work Visa can feel secure knowing that they are working for a company that is financially stable and low-risk due to the employer's accreditation.

Did you know that in certain situations, the Accredited Employer Work Visa can help employees gain residence status or work to residence status within two years, depending on their pay and role.

How Can You Become an Accredited Employer?

Now that you understand what an accredited employer is and its benefits, we'll go over the process of becoming one. We'll outline the requirements for achieving this status.

It's beneficial to become accredited, but the process might feel daunting.

Here are the accredited employer work visa requirements that you should be aware of:

  • In order to apply, your business must have been running for at least twelve months.
  • Your business must be registered with Inland Revenue and operating in New Zealand.
  • You must have a good track record with Immigration New Zealand in order to apply, which means you have followed the required protocol as an employer of migrant workers.
  • You must complete an employment agreement that adheres to the government's standards.
  • To ensure the validity of your job offer, you will need to show that you can financially cover the salary you have offered to your potential employees.
  • To make sure your migrant employees follow their visa terms, you must have systems and processes set up.
By following these guidelines, your business can become an accredited employer. To begin the process, speak with a licensed immigration adviser at Professional Visa Solutions.

Accreditation Levels

Depending on the size of your business and how many migrant employees you sponsor, there are three different accreditation levels that businesses can apply for.
The three different types of accreditation :
  • Standard Accreditation: If your business is looking to sponsor up to 5 employees on work visas, this accreditation level is for you.
  • High Volume Accreditation: If your business has sponsored 6 or more employees on work visas in the last 12 months, this is for you.
  • Triangular Accreditation: If your business employs contracted workers, this is for you.

When to Apply for Accreditation?

If you plan on hiring foreign workers, it's crucial to know how far in advance you need to apply for accreditation. According to Immigration New Zealand, you can submit your application 12 months after your business has been operational. Be sure that all requirements are met and that you have gathered the correct documentation before submitting anything.
The following are key dates related to employer accreditation:
  • 9 May 2022: Applications for Accreditation and Job Check opened
  • 3 July 2022: Essential Skills Work Visa closed
  • 4 July 2022: Employer Accreditation and AEWV became mandatory
You can no longer hire or support a migrant employee without first receiving your accreditation from Immigration New Zealand. Time to act is Now!

Accredited Employer Work Visa Processing Time

The Employer Accreditation application process takes 10 business days, Job Checks take 2-21 business days and the Work Visa can take 12-25 business days. We have noticed extended delays in processing due to backlog. The sooner you start the better it is.

3-Check Visa Application Process

The reworked accreditation system now requires employers to go through three separate screenings before they're able to hire a migrant worker. These include:
  • The employer check (applying for and becoming an accredited employer)
  • The job check
  • The migrant worker check (which is the Accredited Employer Work Visa application)

Are There Any Conditions?

There are a few conditions that you will need to be aware of and adhere to in order to become eligible for getting the new Accredited Employer Work Visa for your employees.

Though it is crucial to know these conditions, being compliant with them is what will get you approved in the end.

As an employer you will need to:

  • Be an accredited employer.
  • Be able to pay at least the median wage of $29.66 per hour. (effective 27 Feb. 2023)
  • Your prospective employees should have a clean criminal history.
  • Your prospective employees should meet the health requirements.
  • They should have the required qualifications and experience to do the job you have offered.
If you are confused or need assistance, approach one of our licensed immigration advisers to help you fulfil the requirements or find an alternative residence visa that better works for you.