What is an Accredited Employer Work Visa?
The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) stands as the primary temporary work visa in New Zealand. They are granted to individuals who are not New Zealand citizens or residents but have received a full time job offer to work in New Zealand from an accredited employer.
Its fundamental purpose is to prioritise New Zealanders for job opportunities while allowing accredited employers to hire skilled migrants in instances where there are genuine skill or labour shortages.
Here's a timeline of significant dates:
- Accreditation applications became available on 23 May 2022
- Job check applications opened on 20 June 2022
- Work visa applications were made accessible on 4 July 2022
Additionally, the AEWV plays a vital role in combatting migrant exploitation by ensuring that only accredited employers have the privilege to hire migrant workers.
As of 28 August 2023, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has given the green light to a total of 83,135 Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) applications.
How does an AEWV Work?
To apply for this visa, you must first find an accredited employer. If the employer is not yet accredited, then you will need to ask if they intend on getting accreditation.
The next thing to enquire with the employer is if they have a valid Job Check for the role that has been offered to you. Job Checks are approved by Immigration New Zealand and are valid for six months from the date of approval.
If you meet the requirements stipulated in the Job Check, then you will be able to lodge an Accredited Employer Work Visa.
Once the application has been lodged, an Immigration Officer will be allocated and will start the assessment.
It is not necessary to send the physical passport or any other original documents to Immigration New Zealand, unless you have been ask to provide those.
Depending on your occupation, holding an AEWV and continuing to work at or above median wage will unlock additional pathways to residence, such as, Green List Work to Residence, Care Workforce Work to Residence and Transport Sector Work to Residence.
What are the requirements of an Accredited Employer Work Visa?
You will need to meet the identity, health and character requirements.
The employer must be accredited with Immigration New Zealand.
Offer of employment
The offered employment must be genuine, and the offer must include:
- Employer's name, address, and contact information.
- Employee's name and address.
- A detailed job description, covering:
- Job title or designation
- Workplace address (if different from the employer's)
- Job responsibilities and duties
- Pay and employment conditions
- Working hours
- Job duration
- Offer validity period
The job details must match those approved in the Job Check application.
You must be paid at or above the median wage, currently $29.66 per hour, unless covered under the exempt AEWV roles list. There are currently 70 occupations covered in this exemption list, but most will be phased out in 2024.
Suitability for the job
To be deemed suitable for the job you've been offered, you must meet the qualifications, work experience, and skills set out by the employer in the Job Check application.
For Green List occupations, you have the option of meeting the requirements the Job Check, or the requirements stipulated for that occupation in the Green List.
However, if you want to be able to apply for residence under Green List, you will need to meet Green List requirements.
If you are paid below the median wage, you must not be subject to a stand-down period. Stand-down periods will apply to those who are covered by a Sector Agreement or otherwise paid below the median wage as an exception.
"Stand-down" period means that the person subject to it will not be eligible for a further Accredited Employer Work Visa paid below median wage until such time they have spent the required time period outside of New Zealand.
Income requirement for supporting dependent children
If you plan to support your dependent child's visitor or student visa application, you must meet a minimum income threshold. Currently, the required income threshold is $43,322.76 per annum. Failure to maintain this threshold can have serious consequences, including potential deportation for both the parent/s and the child.
Remember that if both parents hold Accredited Employer work visas, their incomes can be combined to meet the minimum income threshold.
Maximum continuous stay
Please note, from 27 November 2023, a requirement called "maximum continuous stay" will be introduced.
This means regardless of whether you are paid above median wage or below, once you've reached the maximum stay allowed, you will need to remain outside New Zealand for a period of time before becoming eligible to apply for an AEWV.
How much does an AEWV cost?
If applying online from New Zealand, the application fee an Accredited Employer Work Visa is $750.
After lodgement, INZ will be in touch to ask for an eMedical, if you have not provided one before, or if the last one you have provided has expired. An eMedical consisting of a general medical and a chest x-ray will typically cost around $400.
There aren't any other fees payable to Immigration New Zealand.
What are the steps for an Accredited Employer Work Visa?
Step 1: Receive a Job Offer
Begin by securing a job offer from an accredited employer in New Zealand. These employers need to have gained Job Check approvals to hire migrant workers for specific roles. Ensure your employer provides you with the following documents:
- A formal job offer
- A comprehensive job description
- An employment agreement
Step 2: Complete the Online Application
Once you've received the necessary documents from your employer, go to Immigration New Zealand website, and start preparing the application.
Step 3: Upload Required Documents
Prepare the relevant documents for your AEWV visa application. Scan these documents and convert them into PDF files, ensuring each file doesn't exceed 10MB in size. Additionally, your photo should be in jpeg format.
Step 4: Payment of Fees
As you progress through the online application, you'll reach the payment stage. Here, you must complete payment for your Accredited Employer Work visa. Payment options include Visa, Mastercard, China UnionPay, Amex, JCB and POLi (internet banking).
Step 5: Submit Your Visa Application
Once you've completed the application and made the required payment, your visa application will be submitted. Immigration New Zealand will guide you if any further actions are necessary.
If you're uncertain whether you've met all the requirements accurately, don't hesitate to contact us for a thorough evaluation of your case.
What is the processing time for an AEWV?
According to Immigration New Zealand, straightforward AEWV applications are processed in 20 weekdays, excluding public holidays.
The average processing time for Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) applications is 14 weekdays, and 90% 0f all applications are completed within a timeframe of 51 weekdays.
What will an approved Accredited Employer Work Visa look like?
The length of your visa and any potential stand-down periods depend on your occupation and pay rate. If you are paid at or above the median wage, then the resulting visa can issue up to 3 years.
As mentioned above, some sectors, like tourism and hospitality or construction and infrastructure, may be granted a 2 year visa, and have stand-down periods of up to 12 months if your pay is below the median wage.
The granted Accredited Employer Work Visa will specify certain conditions, including your occupation, name of employer, location of work, minimum pay rate, etc.