2021 law changes to NZ temporary work visa

Here’s key information for employers on NZ’s work visa changes. If you hire migrant workers and travellers then you’ll need to be prepared for the new employer-led visa system, the Accredited Employer Work Visa.

What does the Accredited Employer Work Visa mean for employers?

New Zealand is transitioning to a new Accredited Employer Work Visa, and leaving behind six temporary work visas. From 1 November, before you can hire a migrant worker, you will need to complete the 3-check visa application process.

What are the three new requirements for employers, when hiring migrant staff with the new Accredited Employer Work Visa?

Before you can hire a temporary migrant worker, the three requirements employers will need to meet are:

  1. Apply for accreditation,
  2. Apply for a job check to make sure the role you want to fill cannot be done by New Zealanders, and
  3. Request a migrant worker employee to apply for a visa.

Further details on the criteria of the 3-check requirements:

1. Accreditation:

There are two accreditations you can apply for, depending on the number of migrants you are hiring.

  • Standard Accreditation: for employers who want to hire 5 or fewer migrant workers.
  • High-Volume Accreditation: for employers who want to hire 6 or more migrant workers.
2. Job check

The job check will confirm the job pays the required market rate, the terms and conditions comply with employment laws, and you have done a labour market test if required – this includes advertising the role to New Zealanders and confirming there are no New Zealanders available to do the job in that region.

Jobs paying 200% of the median wage and those on skills shortage lists do not need a labour market test.

3. Request your potential employee apply for a visa

The migrant worker check is where the migrant worker applies for a visa. They must show they meet character, identity and health requirements, and have the skills to do the job before being granted a visa. 

What is involved in NZ’s 2021 visa law change transition period?

The following employer policies closed 30 June 2021, to new and renewing applications. So, if you applied by 30 June 2021, you will be able to use these visa statuses up to 1 November 2021.

  • Accredited Employer (Talent – Accredited Employer).
  • Labour Hire Accreditation (Essential Skills).
  • Approval in Principle (Essential Skills) – this does not include approval in principle for other policies, including AIP for foreign crew of fishing vessels.

Employers who didn’t apply for these statuses by 30 June 2021 will still be able to support work visa applications under the Essential Skills work visa category, up until 31 October 2021.

The new employer-assisted work visa replaces these 6 work visas:
  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa — approved in principle
  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa
  • Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa
  • Silver Fern Job Search Visa (closed 7 October 2019)
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa.

If you have any questions on how this may impact your future hiring process please get in touch with our Advice Service on 0800 472 472 (1800 128 086 from Australia) or email [email protected]

28 April 2021.

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