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INZ Webinar - AEWV Changes, Q & A session for Immigration Professionals


Why are only those who applied for a visa between 21 June 2023 and 7 April 2024 eligible for a five-year AEWV?

The Government has decided that those who applied for an AEWV on or after the date on which the five-year visa was announced will continue to be eligible for a five-year visa because they had a reasonable expectation when they came to New Zealand that they would be able to remain in NZ on an AEWV for up to five years.


When the employer advertises the role to New Zealanders, does it need to be advertised as requiring the new minimum skills level of the AEWV?

Employers are not required to apply the new skill threshold to New Zealand applicants. The role can be advertised with a lower skill threshold when testing the domestic labour market and it’s ok for the advertising submitted at the job check to reflect this.


What can employers and migrants do to ensure their applications are not held up?

For employers making job check applications, it's really important to identify if a role is a level 4-5 role or a level 1-3 role, as this will determine what needs to be submitted with the application, in particular the duration of the advertising required and whether Work and Income needs to be engaged. If INZ finds that a role is skill level 4 or 5 and the employer has not advertised for 21 days or engaged with Work and Income, it's likely that the application will be declined.

For migrants, it will be important to check whether an English language test is required and if so, provide this with the application, and to understand what they need to provide to show they meet the minimum skills threshold.


Regarding people who have made recruitment decisions about AEWV holders or applicants in the past, but do not anticipate making any more, are they required to do the Employment New Zealand online employer modules?

If they made recruitment decisions about AEWV holders or applicants during the accreditation period, they are required to do the modules within that accreditation period, even if they will not be making further recruitment decisions about AEWV holders or applicants within that period.


Do migrants who want to submit a Job Change application need to meet these new requirements?

No, they do not.


Are the minimum skills and suitably qualified thresholds required to be met when a migrant applies for the balance of their AEWV even if they didn’t need to be met for their current AEWV?

Yes. Subsequent Accredited Employer work visa applications applied for using a re-used Job Check number must meet the requirements at the time of the application.


Where bachelor’s degrees or higher can be considered relevant to any employment (so for example a holder of degree in information technology meets the minimum skills for healthcare or farm positions), does this contradict WA3.16 which states that an IO will assess the occupation and skill level in a certain manner?

No. The instruction that allows bachelor’s degrees or higher to be considered relevant to any employment offered, is only used when determining whether an applicant meets the minimum skills threshold.


Regarding checking candidates offshore work experience, will a record of verbal references generally be acceptable rather than written references?

No. An employer taking reasonable steps to ensure a migrant’s work experience meets the minimum skills threshold must sight evidence not written by the migrant worker themselves. While an employer may choose to contact the migrant worker’s references verbally for an additional level of assurance in their recruitment processes, they still must also sight documentation.


Does the change mean that Health Care Workers who currently meet the requirements of the Health Care Workers Pay Equity Agreement by holding a Level 3 qualification and Level 3 pay rate will now require a Level 4 qualification?

The changes to minimum skills and experience requirements will apply to applicants under the Care Workforce sector agreement. Therefore, they will need to either hold a Level 4 qualification or demonstrate three years of work experience.


By 'readily trainable’, is this defined as the period of relevant experience listed in the ANZSCO for the role?

Readily trainable means being able to be trained on the job within a reasonable period of time. There is no exactly defined period, but INZ would generally consider people who could be trained on the job within about six months to be ‘readily trainable’.


Do all AEWV applicants relying on overseas-comparable level 4 - 6 qualifications need an IQA?

IQAs must be provided for qualifications which are below a bachelor’s degree and from outside New Zealand.


Are there any changes regarding interim visas for visa applicants under the AEWV?

No, there are no changes.


What should employers do if they have a Job Check they now can’t use in time due to a planned candidate not meeting the new minimum required skill threshold?

Job Checks already in progress at the date of the announcement are still able to be used, but any migrants who submit AEWVs on or after the date of the announcement will need to meet the new minimum skills threshold requirement. If employers are not able to find a suitable migrant prior to the Job Check expiring but still require a Job Check, they will need to submit a new one.


Does a new Job Check need to be conducted reflecting the new requirements even if the existing Job Check is still valid?

No. Employers can still use existing Job Checks, but should be aware candidate will have to meet new requirements when they apply for a visa.


Have Work and Income made any commitments to process listings within a certain timeframe?

Work and Income have committed to getting back to employers about their listings within five working days.


Regarding these changes, what does 'relevance' mean in terms of qualifications and work experience?

A qualification or work experience can be considered relevant if it is in the same field or industry as the job offered. This definition of relevance allows experience within different roles to be considered relevant – for example, experience as a kitchenhand could be considered relevant to a role as a chef because they are both in the same industry.

Qualifications that are Bachelor’s degrees or higher can be considered relevant to any employment offered.


In terms of the maximum period of stay, it appears that if someone came to New Zealand on a Level 4 or 5 role before June 2023 (paying at or above the median wage), and now applies for an AEWV for a Level 1-3 role, their maximum duration of stay would still be three years. Is this correct or an oversight?

Where they make an application for a further AEWV for an ANZSCO Level 1-3 they will be eligible for a MCS of 5 years. Further visa will be granted for the balance of the 5 years.


Can I use my bachelor’s qualification despite it not being relevant to my job offer?

Qualifications that are bachelor's degrees or higher can be considered relevant to any employment offered.


In what situations will INZ require IQA tests for Bachelor-level qualifications or higher?

It is not required in order the make the application. INZ may ask for an IQA if there are concerns with the authenticity of the document.


Regarding Level 4 & 5 ANZSCO, it seems that for the AEWV process, candidates need to show the same level of work experience or qualification as Level 1 - 3, e.g. three-year work experience or NZQA Level 4 and above qualification - How is this going to work in practice when employers engage with WINZ for lower-skilled occupations that do not require this level of experience or qualifications i.e. can employers ask WINZ to ensure the 3 year or level 4 & above qual requirement is met?

Employers should make sure that their New Zealand advertising including engagement with Work and Income only includes qualifications and skill requirements that are genuinely required for the role. This will allow Work and Income to provide candidates for the role.

Also, employers are not required to apply the new skill threshold to New Zealand applicants. The role can be advertised with a lower skill threshold when testing the domestic labour market and it’s ok for the advertising submitted at the job check to reflect this.


For Level 4 and 5 roles, would employers always need to specify in their advertisements that they require either a minimum of 3 year’s relevant work experience or level 4 qualification?

No, as this is a requirement for the migrant and not for any New Zealander who applies. The advertising needs to list the requirements of the role the employer is trying to fill.


Will INZ determine the ANZSCO match in the course of the job check, or the AEWV Application, or both?

Primarily at Job Check. There generally will not be a requirement to check ANZSCO for AEWV.


What happens if the job check accepts the ANZSCO match as skilled (i.e.; ANZSCO 1,2 or 3) however in the AEWV assessment the new Immigration Officer takes a different view?

Instructions require the ANZSCO level to be determined at the Job Check level. Where employers are consistently inflating jobs it may impact the assessment of job checks for them in the future.


Do applicants need to meet English and skills requirements to now qualify for the balance (if they previously qualified)?

Yes, as it is technically a new application. Subsequent AEWV applications made using a re-used Job Check number, must meet the requirements at the time the applications are lodged.


Are English language requirements required for migrants doing a Job Change?

There is nothing in instructions that indicates they will need to meet English language requirements, as this isn't a new visa application.


In determining minimum skills threshold of relevant three years’ work experience, does the experience need to be consecutive? For example, a migrant may have accumulated 24 months' experience, took a career break for 12 months, and returned to the workforce and accumulated another 12 months.

No, this does not need to be consecutive.


Will employers still need to undertake ‘reasonable steps’ to ensure the applicant is ‘suitably qualified’ and meets the ‘minimum skills threshold’ requirement if the role they’re offering pays at least twice the median wage and/or on the green list?

Where the job is on the Green List (and the employer has ensured that the migrant meets those requirements) OR if the job pays twice the median wage or higher and the employer has taken steps to ensure they’re suitably qualified, then the employer will be considered to have taken ‘reasonable steps’ to ensure that the applicant meets the minimum skills threshold and is suitably qualified to do the work on offer. To ensure that a migrant is ‘suitably qualified’, the employer must either:

  1. require a practical test of the person, OR

  2. require the person to demonstrate their knowledge through a job interview, OR

  3. sight evidence that they hold occupational registration for the job.


Would INZ recommend to migrants who wish to apply for an AEWV based on their non-degree level qualification, to obtain an IQA as soon as possible and send this to INZ to save on their file to avoid delays?

INZ will require both the qualification and the associated IQA when the person applies for their AEWV. INZ requires AEWVs to have complete documentation and will generally not hold applications open while people collect documents such as IQAs or Police Certificates.


If a previous AEWV application was assessed showing one year of experience; for the next application for the same role will we need to show three years, a further two years, or will the previous assessment suffice (i.e. as demonstrated suitably qualified with one year previously, do we now need to prove three years?)

INZ can consider work experience that was supplied as part of previous applications without having to sight it again.


Can part-time experience be counted towards proving the required 3 years’ experience? E.g. 15 hours a week pro-rated so two years would be equivalent to one year full time?

Yes.


For Level 4 & 5 roles recognized as a higher skill level (such as Aged or Disabled Carer; Driller & Bicycle Mechanic) would employers need to go through Work & Income and advertise for 21 days?

For the six roles that are recognized as a higher skill level, employers would not need to go through Work & Income or advertise for 21 days.


How would the minimum skills threshold and suitably qualified requirement be assessed for the six Level 4 & 5 roles ‘recognized as a higher skill level’?

Minimum skills thresholds apply regardless of ANZSCO skill level of the role, the only carve outs are for occupations on the Green List or earning twice the median wage.

To be suitably qualified, an employer must be satisfied that a person meets the criteria for their role. In the case of those occupations, to be recognized as a higher skill level, the requirements of the role must be consistent with the ANZSCO skill level 3 version of that occupation. ANZSCO skill level 3 also requires three years of work experience or a level 4 qualification. So, for these occupations, the minimum skills threshold and suitably qualified for the role criteria both require the same thing.


Can the advertising period for lower-skilled roles be considered non- consecutive before submitting a job check application? For example, if the employer has already advertised for 14 days and was ready to submit a job check application before the changes, can they do a further advertisement for another 14 days and advertise with Work & Income?

Yes. However, employers must ensure the job check is submitted within 90 days of the periods of advertisements, including if the role needed to be advertised with Work & Income.


For approved Level 4 and 5 job checks, if the employer did not engage with Work & Income, must they now go back to WINZ now?

No.


Would the holder of a five-year AEWV working in a Level 4 or 5 role lose their five year Maximum Continuous Stay if they got a job change?

No, visa duration cannot be affected by a job change.


If an applicant is currently on a two or three-year Work Visa (e.g. skill level 4-5) and they get a new job offer at a higher level (1-3) can their visa based on that new role be granted to the full five years (including time already spent on their previous level 4 or 5 role)? Similarly, if they reach the maximum amount of time on a lower-skilled visa, and depart the country, can they return based on a higher-level job offer or does the no-return period apply to any further AEWV no matter the skill level?

If they make an application for a further AEWV for an ANZSCO level 1-3 job, they will be eligible for a Maximum Continuous Stay of 5 years. Further visa will be granted for the balance of the 5 years. If they leave New Zealand but do not stay outside of New Zealand for more than 12 months they can return on a AEWV with a skill level 1-3 for the balance of the 5 years.

 

Please clarify minimum 30 hours employment requirements? For example, how to deal with unpaid sick leave or unforeseeable employment interruptions.

It’s about availability of 30 hours and the normal provisions about leave etc are in place.


Can INZ upgrade a Job Check ANZSCO, if needed?

Yes.

 

Is it correct that the occupations exempt from being paid the median wage (non Level 4, 5) are not required to be listed with WINZ (at the Job Check stage)?

The WINZ enlisting is only for ANZSCO level 4 or 5 occupations and not for those construction jobs exempted.

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