The new employer-led visa rules: A closer look at the Job Check step

By Heather Collins

22 June 2022

In our last blog post about the new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) criteria my colleague Elly Fleming put the spotlight on several downsides to the criteria that employers need to know about. These included aspects that flew very much under the radar and did not feature in the first wave of media coverage and commentary after the Government’s 11 May announcement.

In this post, I will focus on the ‘job check’ step of the new three-check employer-led system. In order of sequence, the checks are:

  1. Employer accreditation: Applications opened on 23 May 2022
  2. Job check: Applications open on 20 June
  3. AEWV application (by migrants): Open from 4 July

To put this ‘one step’ into context, I’ll remind readers that from 2023 all employers will need accreditation before they can recruit and hire migrants. This major policy change to include all employers is contrary to previous messaging from Immigration NZ and the Government before the May announcements.  It will have significant implications for employers across all industries.

Generally, the AEWV is a shift from a migrant-led to an employer-led 3-step system. And if you’re an employer who had never had to deal with Immigration New Zealand (INZ), prepare to do so. As Elly described in her recent analysis for Radio NZ, you will have to decide whether it’s worthwhile for you to undertake an onerous process to obtain accreditation and then be subject to additional scrutiny from the government.

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

Preparing for the job check step

Before the job check step you might need to adequately advertise the job in New Zealand first for at least two weeks to test the market and satisfy INZ that there are no suitable New Zealanders available for your job. You can skip this step if your job pays at least twice the NZ median wage or is an occupation on the Green List.

Applied for accreditation? Well done, but get ready for more

Once you have accreditation you must apply for the job check, providing an acceptable job offer, position description, employment agreement (contract) and the results of any advertising you had to do.

INZ are hopeful that the check will take no more than 10 working days to process. But we anticipate that visa processing timeframes will blow out across the board as officials struggle to cope with the volume in the coming months. There’s also a further application fee – the job check will cost you $610.

A sticking point for partners

If you pass the job check you can offer your job, and then it’s over to your hopeful new recruit to successfully apply for an AEWV.

This is where one of the new rules that has not been widely publicised comes into play.  Previously the holder of work visa could generally sponsor their partner for a partnership-based open work visa.

From December this year however, partners of AEWV applicants, whose occupations are not on the Green List or who are not earning at least twice the median wage in other roles, will not be entitled to an open partnership-based work visa but will need to qualify for an AEWV or an alternative temporary work visa in their own right. 

Rewind…still stuck on the first step?

Going right back to the start, you need to be accredited before you can even dream of how much better your business will be without those staff shortages.

The accreditation criteria will rule out a number of businesses and dissuade others from even trying to get accreditation, as Elly describes the criteria in her April blog – and it might feel like a lot to take on.

Talk to us

If you are unsure of how this complex raft of new rules applies to you, your accreditation application or recruitment plans and processes, we 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.

Heather Collins

Position: Associate
DDI: +64 3 545 6702

Topics: All Select