For advice on how to avoid penalties and minimise delays in getting the workers you need, read on.
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) are making some major changes to the way they process visa applications. Employers will need to make sure they are up to date on these new requirements. Six different visas are being discontinued and merged into one new visa – the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV). The AEWV is employer driven, and places more responsibilities on employers. This sounds stressful – we know – which is why Wakefields is here to help you through the process.
The Old System
The AEWV is going to replace six different visas. These include:
If you often employ migrant workers on one of those six visas, you’ll probably need to apply for accreditation under the new AEWV system.
The New System
The AEWV is an employer-led, three-stage system.
FIRST, employers must apply to become accredited. To meet the accreditation standard, you must:
Steps that can be taken to minimise the risk of worker exploitation include – completing employment education modules, providing migrant workers with advice on their rights, and paying all recruitment costs.
It is worth noting that there are two accreditation levels – standard and high volume. Standard accreditation applies to employers who want to employ up to five migrant workers. High volume accreditation applies to those who want to employ more than 5 migrant workers – these employers must meet additional requirements.
Labour hire companies and employers that place migrant workers with third parties must also meet additional criteria to get accredited under the new system.
NEXT, the AEWV-accredited employer must apply for a job check (at their own cost), to certify that the role they want to fill cannot be done by a New Zealander.
The proposed job must pay the market rate and have terms and conditions which comply with New Zealand employment laws.
Some jobs must also pass a labour market test. This test shows the employer has genuinely advertised the role to New Zealanders and there are no New Zealanders available to do the job. A market test is not needed where;
LASTLY, the migrant worker must meet the relevant standards. This includes things like meeting character, identity and health requirements, as well as ensuring the applicant has the skills and experience listed as part of the employer’s job check application.
It is absolutely vital that all non-New Zealand citizen or resident workers hold valid visas at all times. Employers can face penalties of up to $10,000 for employing a foreign national who is not entitled to work in New Zealand. These penalties jump to $50,000 if you continue employing them when you know that they’re not entitled to work in New Zealand.
Although it can feel like a hassle, getting accredited under the new system will save you from receiving some harsh penalties. If you need assistance getting accredited our expert team here at Wakefields Lawyers are happy to help!
When will the AEWV system come into force?
Employers can apply to become accredited in late September, ahead of the visa entry opening in November.
Do I still have to advertise the position to New Zealanders and have proof of this?
Not necessarily. A market test is not needed where;
Will visas other than the 6 mentioned be affected?
No, other visas will not be affected.
I don’t plan on hiring migrant workers for a while. Do I need to get accredited before the new system is launched?
No you can apply for accreditation at any time. As always, these things can take time, so if you’re thinking about it, it may pay to start applying.
I’m planning on hiring less than 5 migrant workers, but this may change in the future. Should I apply for the standard or high-volume accreditation?
That’s up to you. If you think you will surpass five migrant workers, it’s a good idea to have high-volume accreditation, in order to avoid the possibility of having to re-apply later on.
How often do I need to apply for accreditation?
Accreditation lasts for 12 months. Renewed accreditation (excepting labour hire companies and employers that place migrant workers with third parties) lasts for 24 months.
When calculating whether I have more than 5 migrant workers will INZ count migrants on visas other than the new AEWV?
It is likely that any person working on a visa, not just those working on the new AEWV, will be counted when assessing how many migrant workers an employer has.
How long can I continue using the old visa accreditation systems?
The following policies are closing to new and renewing applications on 30 June 2021:
If you want to use these systems, you must apply before 30 June 2021, be aware of processing timeframes.
Essential Skills work visas can still be applied for up until 31 October 2021.
If an employee is already on a visa, can I continue to employ them, or will I need to get accreditation?
You can continue to employ them until their visa expires.
If you require any guidance or assistance, our experienced Employment and Immigration team at Wakefields Lawyers are happy to help. Please get in contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or 04-970-3600.