Changes to the Accredited Employer Work Visa will make it harder for employers in the regions to meet staffing needs

Immigration New Zealand (INZ)’s latest changes to the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) process will make it harder and more expensive for employers, particularly in the regions, to hire migrant staff.

The AEWV is a new temporary work visa that will replace the Essential Skills Work Visa and Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa. The AEWV opens to migrant applications on 4 July this year.

This week’s changes are outlined below.

High-volume accredited employers must now pay the median wage

INZ had previously stated that migrants working for employers with high-volume accreditation (hiring five or more migrant workers) must be paid at least 10% above minimum wage or be covered by a collective agreement. The new rules cancel that in favour of a requirement that all accredited employers hiring migrants must pay the median wage. This change will impact employers in regions, where wages are lower.

The median wage increases from $27.00 to $27.76 an hour on 4 July 2022

This aligns with the date that the AEWV opens to migrant applications. All jobs offered to migrant workers under the AEWV must now pay at least $27.76 per hour.

The labour market job check is no longer regionalised

INZ had previously said that AEWV jobs in the regions did not have to be advertised. It now says that all jobs paying less than twice the median wage ($55.52 per hour), anywhere in the country must be advertised in New Zealand before they can be offered to a migrant. This is another blow for regional employers, where the greatest staffing shortages are in lower paid roles.

The date that employers can apply for accreditation has been pushed back from 9 May to 23 May 2022

This is likely to increase the bottleneck at INZ for employers wanting to get their migrant workers’ visa applications into the pipeline when the visa launches on 4 July.

Applications for Job Checks now open on 20 June.

Uncertainty about exemptions is ongoing

INZ is still considering whether there will be any exemptions to the median wage rule and whether additional restrictions should apply for a limited number of roles. We await more clarification on this.  

It’s going to be expensive

INZ has announced the fees for AEWV applications and they are higher than we expected.  A standard employer accreditation application is $740 for up to five workers. High-volume accreditation applications for six or more workers attract a fee of $1,220 per employer.

The job check fees sit at $610, which the employer also has to pay. There are further fees for reconsideration of declined applications, franchisees and third party-controlled applications.

Meanwhile, migrants pay $595 to apply, which their employer may wish to pay for them.

We recommend employers seek advice about how best to navigate these new rules and get their applications for accreditation prepared in advance to avoid unnecessary delay in processing. Getting the right advice early will also reduce the likelihood of having an application declined.  

Talk to us

For further detailed advice or assistance with regards to the matters discussed in this article, please get in touch with the team at Pitt & Moore.

How Pitt & Moore can help

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

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.

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.

Topics: All Select

Nick Mason

Position: Partner
DDI: +64 3 545 7897