Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV)

Apply when you have a job offer from an accredited New Zealand employer.
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Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer
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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
  • Introduction of 'maximum continuous stay' on 27 November 2023
  • Changes to the AEWV on 7 April 2024

Additionally, the AEWV visa plays a vital role in combatting migrant exploitation by ensuring that only accredited employers have the privilege to hire migrant workers.

As of 2 July 2024, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has approved to a total of 122,378 Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) applications and 35,636 accredited employers.

It is anticipated further changes to the AEWV is likely to be announced towards the end of 2024, as the Immigration Minister is due to report back to Minister of Immigration to report back to the Cabinet Economic Policy Committee (ECO) in August 2024 about further options to tighten the AEWV at each stage.

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 visa 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.

Accredited Employer Work Visa requirements

Basic requirements

You will need to meet the identity, health and character requirements.

Accredited employer

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.

Pay rate

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.

Pay rate paused

The median wage used by INZ was expected to rise to $31.61 per hour from February 2024, but the new government decided to pause this for AEWV applications and for the partners of AEWV visa holders until further announcement.

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.

Find out if your job is in the Green List.

Stand-down period

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.

Stand Down Period for Accredited Employer Work Visa
Stand Down Period for Accredited Employer Work Visa

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" was 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 visa.

Maximum continuous stay for Accredited Employer Work Visa
Maximum continuous stay for Accredited Employer Work Visa

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How much does an AEWV cost?

If applying online from New Zealand, the application fee for 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.

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To expedite your application, it's crucial to ensure it is error-free and includes sufficient supporting documents for INZ to assess. 

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 visa 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 5 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.

Sample Accredited Employer Work Visa
Sample Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV visa)

Residence pathway options for Accredited Employer Work Visa holders

The implementation of the 'maximum continuous stay' policy emphasises the importance of setting clear goals and taking proactive steps to become eligible for residence within the specified time frame.

While it serves the purpose of managing immigration and ensuring a continuous influx of new residents, it can be perceived as somewhat harsh. This policy signals that those who don't meet the established thresholds may not have a place in the country, even if they have contributed to the nation by living, working, and paying taxes like other residents.

Therefore, you will need to take proactive steps to work on your pathway to residency, whether it be through Skilled Migrant Category, the Green List: Straight to Residence, Green List: Work to Residence, Care Workforce Work to Residence or Transport Work to Residence.

Sponsoring family members under AEWV

If you are holding an AEWV at ANZSCO level 1, 2 or 3, earning at median wage or higher, you can support your partner for a partnership-based work visa. It can either be an open work visa with no restrictions, or with restrictions, depending on whether your role is on the Green List or whether you are paid twice the median wage.

As for children, you can support school age children for dependent student visas, if your annual income exceeds $43,322.76 gross per annum, and holding an AEWV at ANZSCO level 1, 2 or 3.

As a result of changes announced 26 June 2024, those holding AEWVs at ANZSCO skill level 4 or 5 cannot support partnership visa or dependent child visa, other than very limited circumstances (having a pathway to residency, such as the Green List, sector agreements with residence pathways).

Frequently asked questions

Those employers who have been granted Accredited Employer status by Immigration New Zealand by meeting certain criteria. Accreditations remain valid for 12 months for the initial term and is renewable.
You can apply for an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) once your accredited employer has obtained an approved Job Check and invites you to apply for the visa to work in that specific job.
A Job Check is a process employers need to complete to be able to employ a migrant worker. A valid Job Check can be used to invite a migrant worker to create an AEWV application.
Yes, you will need to apply for a Variation of Conditions (VOC) to change the conditions of your current visa.
Yes, by holding an AEWV and meeting certain criteria, you may be able to apply under the following skilled residency pathways:
  • Green List: Straight to Residence (Tier 1)
  • Green List: Work to Residence (Tier 2)
  • Care Workforce: Work to Residence
  • Transport Sector: Work to Residence
You can study up to 3 months, or if the study is part of the job. Otherwise, look at changing the conditions of the visa.
There isn't an age limit for an AEWV, but if you are past the retirement age, INZ might start to wonder if you would be able to work full-time.
You will be able to get an AEWV which has a visa validity of up to 5 years ("maximum continuous stay"). If you have exhausted all 5 years and have not been able to gain New Zealand residence visa, you will have to leave New Zealand. You will be able to apply again after spending 12 months outside New Zealand.
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Last modified on 11 July 2024 by
Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer
Michael has been working as a lawyer in New Zealand since 2006. Over the years, he has successfully helped thousands of clients to get their desired outcome. Clients find Michael knowledgeable, approachable and professional — a trusted expert.

Remember, New Zealand immigration laws and policies change constantly, without warning.

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