Accredited Employer Migrant Hiring

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INZ Introduces Timeline and Basics of Hiring Checks

INZ have largely finalised details on the 3 tier checking process, the Accredited Employer Work Visa system (AEWV), which is now effective from 4 July (ironically, Independence Day in the US) with ability to apply for employer and job checks from 23 May.

If you remember your history, this system is a mandatory migrant hiring process change they initially proposed in 2019 and which requires successful completion and approval for employers to be able to hire migrant workers. The key points are:

  • roll out and implementation date
  • requirement for employers to have a NZ Business Number in order to apply to be accredited
  • confirmation that Immigration Advisers are able to act on the Employers behalf to undertake the required accreditation work.

What we don’t know if how long INZ will take to make a decision on each check.  These 3 checks include Employer, Migrant Worker and Job Check broken out as follows:

  • 23 MayIntroduction – applications accepted through AEWV.  In anticipation of an estimated one month application processing timeline
  • 30 June – Application Closure for existing Employer Accreditation programme
  • 3 July 2022 – FINAL existing temporary visa application submission
  • 4 July 2022AEWV system launches 

1- The Employer Check

The Employer Check is segmented into three types based on worker size – Standard, High-Volume and Controlling third parties, including Labour Hire/franchisees.   This table shows the most relevant to our industry:

Workers holding working holiday, RSE, post study, partnership visas are not affected and employers don’t have to undertake this process unless or until they are doing a visa after 4 July.  Also workers on current visas don’t have to do anything until/unless they need visa changes (expiries, variations, etc).

Employers who have Talent accreditation which doesn’t expire before 23 November 2022 have initial AEWV accreditation waived.

Accreditation TypeStandard High Volume
Defined asEmployers with up to 5 Employer Assisted WorkersEmployers with up to 6+ Employer Assisted Workers
Duration of Accreditation12 Months with 24 Month Renewal12 Months with 24 Month Renewal
RequirementsBe a genuinely operating business; Have a NZBN;
No recent history of non-compliance with Employment and Immigration law (non on labour inspectorate stand down list
Take steps to minimise exploitation including allowing workers to complete online modules along with hiring authorities
Same as Standard plus
Must demonstrate a commitment to training/developing Kiwis; Demonstrate a commitment to improving pay and conditions over time; At this point, INZ have defined as salary of 10% over minimum wage

2- The Job Check

These last for 6 months (or end of employer accreditation) and are specific to position.

So, if you have two identical farm assistant roles, that would be one check but a farm assistant and senior farm assistant would be two job checks.

The stand alone check is new but the steps required are similar to what FRENZ do for pre- submission work for immigration but more strict that perhaps many employers or agencies are currently doing:

  • Compliance with market rate terms and conditions, including median wage payment of $27.76 (averaged over pay period)
  • Compliance with employment law
  • A “genuine” labour market test has been done.
    • Two weeks’ minimum on national advertising with clear and full disclosure on pay, hours and requirements

Within this check the resident pathways are for highly paid

  •  those who are being paid 2x the median wage (advertising at this pay is not needed)
  • those who have 3+year visas (Skilled Migrant Category review pending)

Cost: $610

3- The Migrant Worker Check

This is essentially the work visa requirement work currently required for Essential Skills now reframed for the AEWV.

  • Health (eMedicals)
  • Character (e.g. Police Certificates)
  • Identity (Passport; Digital photo)
  • Skills/Qualifications – Work evidence/certificates/diplomas

This cost will sit with the worker unless otherwise agreed.

Cost: $540 inc a $55 levy. (a 30% increase.  The new AEWV is to help ensure that migrants aren’t exploited…)

What’s Next

If you’re a trust or partnership without an NZBN and you have or plan to hire migrant staff, you should talk to your accountant about structure changes.  Keep in mind you also want to make this change before 4 July because staff on visas will need a variation of conditions to their visa if the legal entity changes.

Check on whose visas are expiring shortly. RV21 applicants are being granted interim visas but they can’t do variation of conditions on these in the farm is moving or changing names

Try to work out what you’ll need for workers.  We appreciate this is like playing whack a mole but these are things to keep in mind:

  • calving is approaching and job jumping will start, especially after Resident Visas are lodged.  If you have any workers you think may be at risk, have a direct conversation.  Look particularly at:
    • workers who are reasonably new to farmer but have pasts in other industries (e.g., someone who has an IT degree and previous work in that industry)
    • workers who spend a lot of time visiting friends elsewhere
  • visas for overseas workers start in October but will likely take a couple of months for decision
  • candidates you might bring in through border exception before accreditation (generally their visas allow 4 months before they have to come in to NZ)

If you’d like to read what INZ have to say, you can go here Employer Accreditation .

We will be working with employers to undertake the requirements on their behalf through an accreditation service which we’ll announce shortly but, if you have any questions in the meantime, please contact us at 09 303 3505 or through email here.

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