Employing Migrant Workers

Navigating the complexities of immigration can be a daunting task, especially for employers seeking to hire migrant workers.

The team at Pathways to New Zealand™ is ready to guide you and your migrant employees on your New Zealand immigration journey.

Employers: Request a no-obligation free immigration proposal from Pathways®

Employees: Contact a Pathways® Licensed Immigration Adviser to explore your visa options


What you need to know:

  • All employers wishing to employ migrant workers on an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) (and some partners of AEWV holders holding partnership work visas) must first be accredited by Immigration New Zealand (INZ).
  • Employers who only employ migrants holding open work visas (eg: post-study, open partnership, working holiday) do not require to become accredited to continue to employ these workers.
  • Accreditation is only required to support new AEWV applications, and not required to continue to employ migrant workers on their existing work visas.
  • There are 4 types of employer accreditation
    • Standard — to employ up to 5 migrant workers on AEWVs at any one time
    • High-volume — to employ 6 or more migrant workers on AEWVs at any one time. This accreditation type also has specific additional requirements for employers who:
      • Operate as a franchise business
      • Place employees with a controlling third-party, such as labour hire companies
  • There are 3 steps to hiring a migrant on an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV):
    • Step 1 - employer accreditation where the employer’s credentials are assessed
    • Step 2 – the job check where the job details and any job advertising are assessed
    • Step 3 – the migrant check, comprising the AEWV application, and is where the migrant’s credentials are assessed
  • The initial employer accreditation is for 12 months and subsequent accreditation renewals will be for 24 months, except for franchise and labour hire type businesses who will continue to require annual renewals
  • The job must be paid at $29.66 or more per hour (the current NZ median payrate), and 5 year work visas will be issued. For some roles in the aged care sector, the minimum payrate must be at or above the Level 4 pay rate defined under the Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlements Act 2017 (currently $28.25 per hour).
  • Process and timing
    • The accreditation, job check and AEWV application processes are all undertaken online
    • Employer accreditation applications are currently advertised as taking around 10 working days to process
    • Job check applications are also advertised as taking around 10 working days to process – although we have seen significant delays (of many weeks!)
    • Migrant check/AEWV applications are advertised to take around 20 working days to process, however there have been considerable delays of many weeks in receiving outcomes.
  • INZ application fees
    • Employer accreditation:
      • Standard - $740, High Volume - $1,220, Franchise - $1,980, Labour Hire - $3,870
    • Job check:
      • $610
    • AEWV application:
      • $750

There are a number of obligations that accredited employers must fulfil as part of their accreditation including, for example, the provision of settlement information and assistance, completion of Employment NZ learning modules for both the migrant employee and key employer staff. There are significant additional obligations for those businesses operating labour hire or similar businesses. The team at Pathways to New Zealand™ can help you fulfil these obligations.

NB: Holders of post-study, partnership-based and working holiday work visas have open work rights and can work in any role. However, some partners of AEWV holders are restricted to working only for accredited employers and at the median wage (or above).


What you need to do

  • Review the visa status of all of your existing migrant workers to check what type of work visas they hold, when these visas expire, and whether they have/are able to lodge a residence application
  • Consider what your business needs are for new migrant workers in the next year and plan for your accreditation, job check and AEWV application processes accordingly

Request a no-obligation free proposal from Pathways® to assist with your employer accreditation and AEWV requirements.

Under the New Zealand Privacy Act 2020, your information will be stored confidentially, and only be used in accordance with the guidelines laid out by the Immigration Advisers Authority Code of Conduct 2014. Please refer to our Privacy Policy for further details.

Business legal name *
Business website *
Main business address *
Contact person name *
Position *
Contact Email *
Telephone *
Total number of employees *
Number of employees on work visas *
Approximately how many new employees are you looking to recruit from overseas in the next year? *
What roles are they mainly for? *
Are you a franchise business? *
Do you sub-contract/hire-out employees to 3rd parties? *

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