New Zealand: Key Reforms to Accredited Visa Program

May 14, 2021

Key Points

  • Beginning in November 2021, the new Accredited Work Visa and its associated requirements will go live.
  • The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) was initially announced in 2019.
  • The AEWV will replace 6 work visas, with the goal of streamlining process protocols.

Overview

The AEWV was designed to support a new system for employment immigration in New Zealand. Specifically, the program will bolster an environment less reliant on temporary workers, will feed more productivity, will better tackle infrastructure and skill challenges, and will provide more opportunities for skill development.

These reforms will expedite visa processing, allowing for more certainty for employers and foreign nationals alike. The reforms do away with or simplify “labor market tests” for higher-paid positions, which will improve efficiency.

New Zealand-based employers may apply for accreditation in late September 2021 (formal date TBD). These employers must demonstrate:

  • That they are a fully operating business, with all registration licenses in place (with Inland Revenue, and possessing a New Zealand Business Number);
  • That they are compliant with New Zealand’s immigration and employment laws;
  • That they will complete all employment modules, offer foreign nationals advice on their rights, and minimize potential exploitation risks for foreign nationals.

What Are the Changes?

The AEWV program was initially drafted in 2019, but 2021 reforms will further improve efficiency for employers and foreign nationals alike.

Looking Ahead

The New Zealand government aims to support a more efficient employment immigration environment. The government is updating programs like AEWV to expedite application processing times, offer foreign nationals more certainty, and decrease reliance on temporary workers. Employers with New Zealand-bound talent, and employers within New Zealand borders should anticipate the upcoming September AEWV application window.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.

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