New Accredited Employer Work Visa goes into effect on 4 July 2022

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New Zealand is introducing the new Accredited Employer Work Visa on 4 July 2022.

With this visa, Immigration New Zealand is streamlining the immigration process while also addressing skills shortages in the country.

Here’s everything you should know:

1. The Accredited Employer Work Visa streamlines the immigration system

New Zealand is excited about its “rebalanced immigration system” that’ll incentivise and attract highly skilled migrants while simplifying the immigration processes for businesses.

At the centre of this rebalanced immigration system is the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV). The AEWV streamlines the system by replacing six work visas that were previously available:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa — Approved in principle
  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa,
  • Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa
  • Silver Fern Job Search Visa (closed to new applications on 7 October 2019)
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa

There is no need to panic if you live and work in New Zealand on any of these visas. You can continue doing so until your visa expires or you no longer meet its conditions.

If you want to live and work in New Zealand after your visa expires, you may apply for the AEWV if you meet the requirements. If you don’t, you’ll have to explore other visa options.

2. There is a new Green List of occupations under the AEWV

Immigration New Zealand has issued a new skills shortage list called the Green List with 85 hard-to-fill roles in critical sectors of New Zealand’s economy.

You don’t have to work in a Green List occupation to apply for an AEWV, but it does offer three distinct advantages:

2.1. The Green List offers a fast track to residence

Migrants who qualify can come to New Zealand on an AEWV and apply for residence from September 2022.

Occupations on the Green List that offer a fast track to residence are in the following sectors:

  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Health and social services
  • Primary industries and sciences
  • ICT, electronics, and telecommunications

2.2. The Green List also offers a work-to-residence pathway

The Green List offers a work-to-residence pathway to skilled workers with occupations in:

  • Health and social services
  • Trades
  • Agriculture

AEWV holders who qualify for work-to-residence cannot apply for residency immediately but can do so after two years of working in New Zealand.

2.3. PLUS, employers hiring for Green List occupations don’t have to advertise for the job check

New Zealand employers who want to hire a migrant on an AEWV in an occupation on the Green List do not have to advertise for the job check. The proviso is that the criteria for the role must at least match the occupation’s minimum requirements as it appears on the Green List.

3. The AEWV is valid for up to three years, and you must earn at least the median wage

You’ll get a visa valid for the duration of your employment, up to a maximum of three years, if your application for an AEWV is successful. To get the visa, you must earn at least the New Zealand median wage of NZ$27.76.

However, applicants from specific sectors, including construction and infrastructure, tourism and hospitality and the aged care sector, will be exempt from the minimum salary requirement.

Immigration New Zealand will issue two-year work visas for these exception categories instead.

After holding the visa for two years, migrants will have to spend 12 consecutive months outside of New Zealand before being allowed to apply for another AEWV.

4. Most dependent spouses or partners must apply for an AEWV in their own right to work in New Zealand

Your dependent spouse or partner will get a visitor visa to enter New Zealand. Most spouses and partners who then want to work in New Zealand must apply for an AEWV in their own right. These applications open from December 2022.

5. There are three steps to the AEWV process

To hire workers from overseas under the AEWV, New Zealand employers must have accreditation and pass a job check unless it’s an occupation on the Green List.

The job check is in place to ensure there aren’t suitable New Zealanders to fill the role that the employer is advertising.

Without accreditation and a job check, the employer can’t hire from overseas, and you can’t apply for an AEWV.

The three steps to the AEWV are thus as follows:

  • The employer applies for accreditation, and Immigration New Zealand checks their credentials
  • The job check, which is the assessment of the job details and any job advertising
  • Your AEWV application, during which Immigration New Zealand assesses your credentials

Employer accreditation opened on 23 May, and Immigration New Zealand (INZ) estimated it would take 10 working days to process accreditation applications. Job check applications open on 20 June, and INZ expects to process those applications in 10 working days.

Contact us if you need help applying for an AEWV

There will surely be a rush of applications for the Accredited Employer Work Visa as soon as it opens on the 4th of July.

While Immigration New Zealand has said that it’ll process applications within 30 days, there is no telling if it’ll be possible to stick to this timeline.

Our advice to you is thus to submit your application as soon as possible! You can get started by booking an obligation-free consultation call with our licensed advisor to determine if you qualify for the AEWV.

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