New Zealand is getting ready to finally open its borders from August 1, 2022 and with it comes a host of visa updates for organisations looking to hire global talent, in particular, the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV), where employers can hire migrants on temporary work visas for up to three years.
And applications for Employer Accreditation are now open for businesses with operations in New Zealand.
The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) updates at a glance:
- The AEWV is a new temporary work visa that will replace the Essential Skills Work Visa and Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa.
- It launches on July 4, 2022 for visa applications.
- Employers who want to hire migrants on an AEWV must be accredited – accreditation applications are now open.
- AEWC holders must be paid the median wage (unless the role is on an exemption list).
- Employers must also show they cannot find suitable New Zealand candidates before hiring.
The borders reopening and updates to New Zealand’s immigration situation is great news for businesses struggling to fill their workforce with local talent, and those who have been waiting to reunite with loved ones.
In this blog, The Migration Agency’s Managing Director, Sarah Thapa, a licensed NZ Immigration Advisor, shares the updates and what it means for organisations with New Zealand operations.
Everything you need to know about the Accredited Employer Work Visa
The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) is designed to help fill New Zealand’s skills shortage crisis following the pandemic and extra long closure of the country.
Employer Accreditation will become compulsory for any employer wanting to employ any migrants on work visas. However, this is not an immediate requirement.
The AEWV will be available to workers earning over the median wage, which is currently set at $27.76/hour, unless the occupation is in a role that is exempt from this median wage.
Exemptions from median wage
Specific jobs in construction, infrastructure, tourism and hospitality that do not have to meet the median wage requirement. However, these roles must still pay at least $25/hour.
Roles include welders, metal fabricators and fitters in the construction sector, and waiters, baristas and café workers. Those in the Care Workforce sector must be paid at least $25.39/hour.
An AEWV holder in one of the above roles, who is paid below the median wage, will be granted a two-year visa. They must then complete a 12-month stand-down period outside of New Zealand before they can apply for another two-year AEWV.
A full list of exempted occupations can be found here.
Job check application process and timeline for employer accreditation
The Job Check process is essentially the labour market test part of the immigration process. Proof of advertising will be required unless the occupation is on the “Green List” or the role earns double the median wage, for example, $55.52/hour.
In another important update, Immigration New Zealand may cease Partner work visas of AEWV holders from December 2022 unless the partner can show they meet AEWV requirements in their own right.
According to Immigration New Zealand, processing times for the Employer Accreditation applications are expected to take 10 working days.
The Job Check application process will open on June 20, 2022.
Permanent residency pathways for occupations on the “Green List”
Meanwhile, occupations on the “Green List” provide a waiver of advertising requirements and a fast track to permanent residency (or a Work to Residence pathway).
Those who are eligible for this permanent residency pathway will be able to apply for residence from September 2022, while applicants eligible for a Work to Residence pathway can apply for permanent residency after two years of working in New Zealand.
The Migration Agency will keep you updated on further details as they come to hand.
Fast-track to residence
Sectors that have a fast-track to residence include:
- Health and social services
- Primary industries and science
- ICT, electronics and telecommunication
Individual applicants will need to meet the specific qualifications and/or work experience prescribed by Immigration New Zealand to be eligible for this fast-track to residence.
Work to Residence pathway (after two years of working in NZ)
This includes roles in the:
- Health and social services sector (for example, nurses, anaesthetic technicians, occupational therapists, secondary and registered early childhood teachers)
- Trades sector (for example, auto electricians, electricians, plumbers)
- Agriculture roles (dairy farm roles)
Do you have business operations in New Zealand? Here’s how TMA can help
Our NZ immigration specialists can help you apply for accreditation so that you’re prepared once applications open and to ensure the process is smooth, quick and efficient. Get in touch for further advice on accreditation and work visa applications.
Sarah Thapa, NZ Immigration Adviser 201801009