Last Updated on February 23, 2023
The government of New Zealand initially announced the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) in 2019 as a means of streamlining application processing times, reducing reliance on temporary skilled workers and improving the New Zealand economy.
Officially opening for applications on 4 July 2022, the AEWV will replace six work visa types in New Zealand, with some of these visas phased out prior to 23 May 2022. Some of these visa types include the Essential Skills Work Visa, the Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa, the Long-Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa, the Silver Fern Job Search Visa and the Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa.
The AEWV is a temporary work visa that can lead to permanent residence in New Zealand. Under this status category, employers will need to follow a three-step process as laid out by the government of New Zealand. The process will be made up of the following three steps:
- The Employer Accreditation phase (Opened on 23 May 2022)
- The job check application phase (Opened on 20 June 2022)
- Submission of the AEWV application (opens on 4 July 2022)
Phase 1: Employer Accreditation
The first phase will open on 23 May 2022. During this phase, employers will be eligible to apply for Employer Accreditation to hire a foreign national employee under the new AEWV program. Accreditation will be available in three versions depending on a company's business model:
- Standard accreditation: for employers who seek to employ up to five migrant workers on the AEWV.
- High-Volume accreditation: for employers who seek to employ six or more migrant workers on the AEWV.
- Franchises’ accreditation: for franchisees and employers who seek to place migrants on the AEWV with controlling third parties, such as labor hire companies. These applicants will need to meet additional criteria in order to qualify.
After the application has been submitted and approved, first-time applicants will receive employer accreditation for a period of 12 months. From there, the employer will be eligible for a renewal of 24 months so long as they continue to meet the qualification requirements and their previous accreditation has not lapsed for 12 months or more.
The government of New Zealand may also conduct checks through the accreditation period to ensure employers are adhering to all requirements.
Phase 2: The Job Check Application Phase
What is the Job Check?
Beginning 20 June 2022, Accredited Employers will be able to submit job check applications for the AEWV. The purpose of the job check is to ensure that the employer has confirmed that no citizens or permanent residents of New Zealand can fill the role and that the role is attracting higher-skilled migrants.
Requirements of the Job Check
Document Requirements for the Job Check
The following documents will need to be provided when the job check application is submitted:
- A detailed job description (including minimum skills, qualifications, and experience requirements)
- An example of the employment agreement that the foreign national worker will sign
- Evidence of having advertised the job if proof of advertising is required
Approval and Job Check Duration
Once the job check is approved, the employer will be given a job token. This token should be given to the foreign national employee, who will need to use it when they apply for the AEWV. The job token has a unique number linking the foreign national worker to the specific job in which the token was awarded for.
An approved job check will remain valid for six months or until the employer no longer holds accreditation if this comes first.
What is the Green List?
The government of New Zealand introduced the Green List on 12 May 2022 to attract highly skilled migrants to New Zealand and make it easier for employers to hire migrants in specific occupations. The list provides a new streamlined pathway to residency for 85 roles that are difficult to fill. Some of these roles include construction, engineering, trades, health worker positions, and tech workers. Jobs offered under the list do not require proof of advertising if the role is paid at least two times the median wage (NZD 27.76 per hour).
Phase 3: Submission of the AEWV Application
Applications for the AEWV will open on 4 July 2022. Employers should ensure that they have been accredited and obtained an approved job check before the employee begins to fill out the application. Once these steps have been completed, the employee will be able to upload all the necessary information through the online application.
To begin the application, employers should provide the applicant with a job token, which has a unique number that will link the foreign national worker to the specific job in which the token was awarded for. The token number can only be used once for the specific application and is obtained by the employer during the job check phase.
For the Employee
The application will need to be completed online by the employee. In the application, employees may be required to provide information on the following:
- Medical information
- Proof of good character provided through a police certificate
- Evidence of specific skills and experience
- These skills and experience must match the ones listed by the employer during the job check phase. This evidence may include a curriculum vitae (CV), qualification evidence and references.
If skills and experience have been demonstrated for a past work visa application or by holding occupation registration, the applicant will not need to provide evidence again.
The application will also need to include a copy of the employment agreement and a copy of the signed offer of employment issued by the employer. The signed offer of employment does not have to be a separate document from the employment agreement so long as it is signed by the employee and the employer.
For the Employer
Employers will need to meet certain obligations throughout the duration of the applicant’s employment. This includes continuing to comply with New Zealand employment laws and standards, providing settlement support to the AEWV holder and allowing the AEWV holder time to complete all the Employment New Zealand’s most recent online employee modules. These modules must be completed within one month of the start date of employment.
The AEWV may be granted for the period for which the employment is offered or up to a maximum period of three years, whichever comes first. All fees related to the application will need to be paid when the application is submitted.
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Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an attorney at one of the two U.S. Law Firms working with the Envoy Platform or another qualified professional. On non-U.S. immigration issues, consult an Envoy global immigration service provider or another qualified representative.