Big numbers and big delays for migrant worker visas

By Lavinia Askin

5 August 2022

While some employers are taking a day-by-day approach to keeping their business running smoothly at the same time as waiting to fill critical vacancies, a mountain of applications is growing by the minute.

The numbers say it all:

  • 7 – more than one month since applications opened for migrants to apply for the new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV), only seven visas have been granted so far (as at 3 August).
  • 435 – the number of worker visa applications yet to be decided.
  • 1,179 – the number of Job Checks completed for employers as part of the accreditation process. This is only 30% of the total number of Job Check applications made since applications opened on 30 June.
  • 8,415 – employer accreditation applications received since applications opened on 23 May. 90 percent of these have been approved.

There are also some big delays

The AEWV policy is a new employer-led work visa system. This means that employers have to learn how to navigate the new technology and AEWV policy. At the same time, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) staff are receiving a lot of enquiries from employers while having to iron out technical issues holding up the system.

INZ acknowledge the effects of the technical issues on the delays, that are no doubt compounded by pressure on the INZ workforce caused by COVID-19 and other winter illnesses.

Investing in the process

There are three steps for employers to employ migrant workers.  The Job Check step is the second of these and unless you get it right, your vacancy will not be filled any time soon.

As explained by my colleague Heather Collins in an earlier blog, many employers have never had to deal with Immigration New Zealand before. They’ve had to decide whether it’s worthwhile for them to undertake an onerous process to obtain accreditation and then be subject to additional scrutiny from the government.

If you’re an employer and you’ve decided to invest in the process then it’s critical you avoid mistakes that will hold up your applications.

Pitt & Moore advisors can explain the new immigration rules and processes exactly as they apply to you and your business, so please contact us for some expert navigation and advice.

Keeping your place in the queue

INZ aim to process Job Check applications within 10 working days where applications are straightforward, complete and correct. Here are the most common mistakes employers are making that are putting their applications on the back burner:

  • incomplete employer agreements submitted during the Job Check step. You can’t miss anything out here and INZ are having to go back to employers for details such as minimum hours of work, the maximum number of hours worked before overtime provisions apply, and a detailed description of the work.
  • failing to meet AEWV policy requirements in the Job Check step by not advertising a job for a minimum of 14 days or not including the salary range.
  • submitting irrelevant Job Check applications – Job Checks should only be submitted for current vacancies where jobs have been advertised (if the labour market test applies – for example, occupations on the Green List do not need to be advertised if they meet the minimum requirements for the role as per the list), and no New Zealanders have been found.

To minimise time wastage and associated costs we recommend seeking specialist advice. Getting the right advice early will also reduce the likelihood of having an application declined.  What sets us apart is that we are experts in each step of the immigration process as well as in employment law. This means that we can advise on all immigration, employment and visa-related issues.

Feel free to reach out to our team of Immigration and employment legal experts to help navigating this new system.

Talk to us

We offer an initial 15-minute free consultation to all new clients to discuss your particular circumstances and what services we can provide.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended as legal advice. It is important that you seek legal advice that is specific to your circumstances.

Lavinia Askin

Lavinia Askin

Position: Associate
DDI: +64 3 928 0722

Topics: All Select