Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV)

This policy was introduced on 23 May 2022 and replaced the previous Essential Skills Work Visa and some other work visa streams such as the Talent (Accredited Employer) visa. The Accredited Employer Work Visa Framework is a 3-step process which includes;

  • applying for Employer Accreditation
  • a Job Check application and
  • then the work visa application.

All employers are required to become accredited with Immigration New Zealand in order to hire a migrant under the AEWV policy. There are 4 levels of accreditation which include:

  • Standard accreditation (for hiring up to 5 migrants)
  • High-volume accreditation (for hiring 6 or more migrants)
  • Franchisee accreditation
  • Controlling third party accreditation – for businesses who place migrants with third parties while being the direct employer.

In most circumstances, the employer will be required to advertise the role on offer, however there are some exceptions where this is not required (such as if the role is on the Green List or paying double the median wage). Any job that is offered must pay the market rate and at least the New Zealand median wage (currently NZD $29.66 per hour).

Accredited Employer Work visas are currently granted for three years where the employer is paid at or above the median wage. This will change from November 2023 to five years, and we understand that those with three year visas will be able to gain a further two year validity on their current visas without having to go through the full process.

It is important to note that in addition to extending the validity of the work visas to five years, Immigration New Zealand will also be limiting the length of time that a visa holder can spend in New Zealand as the holder of an Accredited Employer Work visa (does not include time spent on any other visa, including other types of work visas). This will be set to five years’ maximum where the visa holder can not show that they have a pathway to residence. In this instance, the holder will need to spend at least 12 months outside of New Zealand before being eligible to apply for another Accredited Employer Work visa.

For those Accredited Employer Work visas that are granted on the basis of employment that is below the median wage or employed under a Sector Agreement, the maximum visa validity is two years followed by a stand down period of 12 months outside of New Zealand, unless either the Care Workforce or Transport Workers sector agreements apply (they have a pathway to residence so no stand down period).

Specific Purpose or Event Policy

This category is for those people who are coming to New Zealand for a project or specific piece of work or event for which the person has demonstrated skills, expertise, or attributes that are likely to benefit individuals and/or New Zealand and where there is no risk of a negative impact on opportunities for New Zealand citizens or residents.  They need not necessarily be paid for their work from a New Zealand entity; these individuals can remain on their home country payroll.

The work visas granted under this policy can be issued for up to three years at a time, although they are usually granted to coincide with the time needed for the person to be in New Zealand.

It is not a requirement for applications under this policy to show why the position or role that the employee is going to be doing in New Zealand cannot be filled locally, regardless of the occupation or length of stay.

Post-Study Work Policy

To encourage and facilitate overseas students, who have studied at a certain level in New Zealand, to remain and contribute to the country further, the New Zealand government offers a streamlined entry into work visas for certain students.

Once a student has completed their studies for which the student visa was granted, they can apply for a visa for either one, two or three year open work visa.  Open work visas have no restrictions on the type of work that can be undertaken or on the specific employer.

Other Work Policies

There are several other work visa policies in New Zealand. These include but are not limited to:

  • Refugee or protective status claimants;
  • Horticulture and viticulture work policies (for seasonal workers);
  • Student and trainee work policy; and
  • Domestic staff of seconded senior executives.

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