Recent Changes to New Zealand’s Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) Program

08 Apr Recent Changes to New Zealand’s Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) Program

INZ signImmigration New Zealand (INZ) has recently announced updates to the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) program, which came into effect on April 7, 2024. These changes aim to strengthen the integrity of the program and ensure that accredited employers are meeting their obligations. As a specialist immigration firm, we want to provide an overview of these changes and discuss their potential implications for employers and visa applicants.

The key changes to the AEWV program include:

  • Accredited employers must notify INZ within 10 working days if key people in their organisation change.
  • Employers with accreditation approved, renewed, or upgraded on or after April 7, 2024, must inform INZ within 10 working days if an AEWV holder leaves their employment with at least 1 month remaining on their visa.
  • INZ may conduct post-accreditation checks on a proportion of accredited employers each year to ensure compliance with obligations.
  • From April 7, 2024, employers under active investigation for breaching accreditation conditions may have their accreditation suspended.
  • Before asking someone to apply for an AEWV, employers must check that the applicant meets the AEWV skill requirements set by INZ and possesses the skills and experience specified for the job.
  • Migrants applying for an AEWV on or after April 7, 2024, must demonstrate they meet one of the following skill criteria:
    • The job is on the Green List, and they meet the Green List’s job requirements.
    • The job pays at least NZD$59.32 an hour (twice the February 2023 median wage).
    • They have 3 years or more of relevant work experience.
    • They have a relevant qualification of Level 4 or higher on the New Zealand Qualifications and Credentials Framework (NZQCF).
  • Employers must keep accurate records of the steps taken to verify applicants’ qualifications and provide them to INZ upon request.

These changes place greater responsibility on accredited employers to maintain up-to-date records and promptly report any changes to INZ. The new reporting requirements for key personnel changes and AEWV holders leaving employment will help INZ monitor compliance more effectively. However, employers will need to be diligent in tracking and reporting these changes to avoid potential penalties.

INZ AucklandThe introduction of post-accreditation checks and the possibility of suspending accreditation during active investigations demonstrate INZ’s commitment to enforcing the AEWV program’s integrity. Employers should be prepared to provide information requested by INZ during these checks and cooperate fully with any investigations.

In light of these changes, we recommend that accredited employers:

  • Review their internal processes to ensure they can promptly identify and report key personnel changes and AEWV holders leaving employment within the required timeframes.
  • Maintain detailed records of their AEWV workforce, including visa expiry dates, to facilitate reporting to INZ.
  • Proactively address any potential breaches of accreditation conditions and seek professional advice if concerns arise.
  • Cooperate fully with INZ during any post-accreditation checks or investigations.

The recent changes to the AEWV program demonstrate INZ’s ongoing efforts to maintain the integrity of New Zealand’s immigration system. Accredited employers play a crucial role in this process and must remain vigilant in meeting their obligations. By staying informed and compliant, employers can continue to support skilled migrants while contributing to New Zealand’s economy.

If you have any questions about how these changes may affect your organisation or your employees’ visas, we encourage you to contact us for personalised guidance.

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