Accredited Employer Work Visa

If you cannot find suitable New Zealanders for a role you are advertising, you can apply to hire migrants on the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV).

Businesses are encouraged to train, upskill and hire New Zealand workers before you hire migrants.

Immigration New Zealand asks that you get accredited so they can ensure your business is viable, meets immigration and employment standards, and will not exploit the migrants you might hire.

First, check if you can apply:

To apply your business needs to be a viable and genuine business, and able to meet at least one of these financial requirements.

  • Your business has not made a loss over the previous two years
  • Your business has had a positive cash flow each month for the last six months
  • Your business has enough capital or external investment to remain viable
  • Your business has a credible two-year plan to ensure it remains viable, for example, a revenue forecast or cash flow projection
  • Your business must also comply with New Zealand immigration law, employment and business standards
  • You and your key people in your business must not have:
    • employed a migrant who did not have the right visa or visa conditions to work in that role
    • provided false or misleading information to us
    • been involved in immigration breaches in other businesses
    • been banned from acting as a director
    • been subject to a stand-down period for breaching minimum employment standards or committing immigration offences
    • been permanently banned from sponsoring work visas for committing serious immigration offences.

You will then need to work through these three steps, before you can hire a temporary migrant worker:

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

Further details on the 3 step application process:

1. Accreditation:

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

  • Standard Accreditation: for employers who want to hire five or fewer migrant workers.
  • High-Volume Accreditation: for employers who want to hire six or more migrant workers.
  • Franchisee Accreditation: for businesses that are part of a franchise. There is no limit to how many migrants you can hire.

You will pay a fee depending on the type of accreditation you need. You also need to have:

  • an NZBN (unless you are a foreign diplomatic mission)
  • a business IRD number

You will need to advertise the role:

Before you can apply for the a job check (see below), you will need to advertise the role to check there no New Zealand citizens or residents available for the job.

You must list the job for at least 21 days on a national listing website or channel where suitable New Zealanders are likely to apply. Advertising must take place within 90 days before you submit an application.

You will also need to engage with Work and Income if you’re filling an ANZSCO Skill Level 4 or 5 vacancy. They will check the labour market supply for your role. This is to ensure that New Zealanders are considered for jobs where there are no skills shortages.

2. Job check

Once you have the accreditations you will need to apply for the job check. This 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 for a minimum of 21 days, and confirming there are no New Zealanders available to do the job in that region.

You need to include:

  • job description
  • an employment agreement that contains all compulsory minimum employment standards
  • the results of any advertising

If the job check is approved you can offer the work to someone from overseas.

Your job offer must meet the below requirements:

  • be for at least 30 hours a week
  • pay the market rate and at least $29.66 per hour

Note: Jobs paying 200% of the median wage ($59.31 per hour) and those on the Green List do not need a labour market test.

3. Request your potential employee apply for a visa

Once you have passed the first two steps, your potential migrant worker can then apply 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. 

You will need to apply for the accreditation though Immigration New Zealand.

You need to tell Immigration NZ if a current employee leaves your employment

If your current employer accreditation was approved, renewed, or upgraded on or after 7 April 2024, you must tell Immigration NZ within 10 working days if a migrant worker with an AEWV leaves your employment.

You only need to let them know if they have left your employment and they have at least 1 month left on their AEWV.

If you do not let Immigration NZ, you will not be meeting your obligations and your accreditation may be suspended or revoked.

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]

Updated February 2024.

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