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Accredited Employer Work Visa Changes Announced



What is changing for people with an AEWV?

  1. If you applied for your first AEWV before 21 June 2023 and are in an ANZSCO level 4 and 5 job paying at or above the required AEWV wage rate, and currently hold a three year AEWV, you will no longer be able to access the maximum time of five years.

  2. If you are in an ANZSCO level 4 and 5 job on a pathway to residence, you will not be affected by these changes.

  3. If you apply for a further AEWV on or after 7 April 2024, you will have to meet the updated criteria. If you are in an ANZSCO level 4 and 5 job you may not be able to stay and work in New Zealand for the maximum time of five years.


What is changing for new AEWV applications


There are now higher work experience and qualification requirements, a standard of English for people applying to work in roles assessed as ANZSCO skill level 4 and 5, and a shorter stay in New Zealand if you are working in specific roles.


New minimum skill requirement


If you are applying for an AEWV you will need to show evidence of your work experience or qualifications. This is in addition to the skills and qualifications that your employer has identified as necessary for the job and your employer will need to check you meet the skill requirements before they offer you the job.


Unless your role is on the Green List and meets the Green List role requirements, or is paid least twice the median wage, you must now have:

  • at least 3 years’ relevant work experience, or

  • a relevant qualification at level 4 or above of the New Zealand Qualifications and Credentials Framework (NZQCF).


Evidence of your qualification must be accompanied by an International Qualification Assessment (IQA) if it is below Bachelor’s degree level.


To meet the work experience requirement, you must provide the evidence of employment.


Minimum standard of English

  1. If the job is ANZSCO level 4 or 5, you need to show that you can speak and understand English.

  2. This requirement will not apply to current applications, or to people travelling as the partner or child of AEWV applicant.


Shorter visa length and stay in New Zealand for some jobs


For ANZSCO level 4 and 5 jobs paying at or above the required AEWV wage rate, the maximum visa length for an AEWV is reduced to 2 years, with the ability to apply for one more year with a new Job Check.


The total time you can stay in New Zealand (also called a maximum continuous stay) on one or more AEWVs is reduced to 3 years. When you get to the end of your maximum continuous stay you will need to leave New Zealand for a specified amount of time — normally 12 months — before you can apply for another AEWV.


These changes will apply to anyone who applied for their first AEWV on or after 7 April 2024 or before 21 June 2023.

Some ANZSCO level 4 and 5 jobs will not be affected by these changes, including those:

  • on the Green List

  • in transport and care sector agreements, and on a pathway to residence

  • earning 1.5 times the median wage.


The length of an AEWV and maximum continuous stay for people in ANZSCO level 1 to 3 jobs will remain 5 years.



What is changing for employers?


The requirements employers must meet to hire migrants on the AEWV have changed.

There are now more requirements at the accreditation and Job Check stages and during the accreditation period.


There are also higher work experience and qualification requirements for AEWV applicants, a standard of English for people applying to work in roles assessed as ANZSCO skill level 4 and 5, and a shorter stay in New Zealand for those working in specific roles.


Ensure an applicant is suitably qualified and skilled


Employers must now take reasonable steps to ensure migrants are suitably skilled before sending them a job token. Employers will need to check that the migrant has the skills they have identified as necessary for the job, as well as the new minimum skill requirement being introduced as part of these changes.


These requirements must be met for all Job Check applications.


Employers who are accredited or re-accredited from 7 April 2024 will need to take reasonable steps to ensure migrant workers meet skill requirements as part of their accreditation obligations.


Employ migrants for at least 30 hours


From 7 April 2024, new AEWVs will be issued with a condition requiring you to employ migrants for at least 30 hours per week.


If you do not provide at least 30 hours a week's employment INZ can revoke your accreditation.


Grounds for suspending accreditation being expanded


Employers being actively investigated for any breach of accreditation may have their accreditation suspended. Previously, suspension was only an option for breaches of some accreditation requirements.


Now using ANZSCO skill levels


Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) skill levels are being introduced into the assessment of AEWV applications.


Suitable and available New Zealanders


There is now a definition of 'suitable and available New Zealanders'.


Employers will be required to declare that nobody who applied for the job met the definition. If an employer indicates that there were suitable New Zealanders available, the Job Check will be declined.


Extra rules for ANZSCO level 4 and 5 jobs


Employers wanting to fill jobs at ANZSCO level 4 and 5 now need to:

  • advertise for 21 days, rather than 14,

  • engage with Work and Income, and

  • declare in the Job Check why any New Zealanders who applied were not hired.


Employers must engage with Work and Income before making their Job Check application.


If you did not hire a New Zealand applicant who met the definition of suitable and available, your Job Check will be declined.


Tell Immigration New Zealand when a migrant leaves their job


A new accreditation requirement is being introduced for employers.


If a worker on an AEWV leaves your employment a month or more before their visa expires, you must tell Immigration New Zealand (INZ) within 10 working days. If you fail to do this INZ may revoke or suspend your accreditation.


This change will not apply to existing accredited employers until they renew or upgrade their accreditation.


Franchisee accreditation changing late-2024


Franchisee accreditation will end later in 2024. Franchisee employers will be able to apply for standard, high-volume, or triangular employment accreditation, depending on their circumstances.

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