It’s happening, and yet it’s not happening.
The new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) comes into effect today but many current or prospective employees can’t apply for them.
That is because they are still waiting for their employer’s application for accreditation under the new scheme to be approved. It’s not a step that can be skipped, as I mentioned in my April blog about the complexities of the AEWV process. So employers and employees are waiting and their frustration is understandable.
The AEWV replaces several former visas, including the Essential Skills Work Visa and Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa. Applications for AEWV employer accreditation opened on 23 May and many employers were quick off the mark, getting their applications in. As immigration lawyers, my colleague Nick Mason and I have been blogging about the immigration law changes throughout this year and the last as the border rules have changed through the pandemic. We really wanted to have a more positive story to talk about on the first day of the AEWV, but on the day that accreditation needs to be in place so they can start recruiting, many employers are still waiting.
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.
Some applications are still stuck in the starting gate – yet to be allocated for assessment. Many businesses have not heard back from Immigration New Zealand (INZ) at all.
We hoped INZ would have had the capacity to get through all the applications and address their system issues. Unfortunately, the potential backlog and lack of resourcing we warned employers about months ago is proving a reality.
This isn’t just a problem for an individual employer who is stuck checking their email every day to see if INZ have progressed their application.
I worry that this situation is turning off skilled people coming to New Zealand, just when we need them. People might now be allowed to apply for jobs here, but first they need to find an accredited employer.
Even those employers captured as part of the ‘Green List’ sectors, who can give migrants additional incentives, are finding it very difficult to recruit – there just aren’t the workers out there globally. And our country’s reputation overseas is increasingly one of being ‘hard to get into’. This is what we are hearing from migrants who have been enquiring about visas.
There are good intentions behind the AEWV but the roll-out is just not practical.
Migrant workers’ wellbeing and success are important to employers. And yes, we all want a skilled local workforce.
But the Government has not allowed enough time to upskill people. It takes five years to train as a pharmacist, as one example. It takes even longer to improve the country’s productivity so businesses can afford to increase wages.
It has been widely reported that some sectors are facing extreme worker shortages. We are hearing it first-hand ourselves at Pitt & Moore where people are telling us that they are getting desperate for workers. There are restaurants with no chefs, engineering firms with no engineers and pharmacies with no pharmacists.
The effects of increased bureaucracy, worker shortages and struggling businesses flow through to the consumer. We should all be bracing ourselves for more expensive goods and services over the coming few years.
The cost of living continues to increase, and I have no doubt that businesses will need to pass on the cost of accreditation at some point too, especially as the administration and compliance required is ongoing. We need to get ready for that, be it in the restaurant, at the doctor’s or at the building site.
If you are unsure of how this complex raft of new immigration 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.