To hire migrants on the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) minimum standard requirements must be met along with additional commitments which vary depending on the level and type of accreditation involved.

The accreditation must be held by the direct employer specified on the migrant worker’s employment agreement.

Standard and high-volume accreditation

  1. standard accreditation — employ up to 5 migrant workers on AEWVs at any one time.
  2. high-volume accreditation — employ 6 or more migrant workers on AEWVs at any one time. Employers who are categorised as Franchisees, or who operate with triangular employment arrangements, are also granted High Volume accreditation (however, the separate Franchisee accreditation will end in late 2024 and Franchisees will then be able to apply under one of the other accreditation regimes).

    Job quota

    For standard accreditation a job quota up to 5 jobs applies. Each quota space is used when a Job Check (step 2) is approved. The job quota space only becomes available again if:

    • the migrant in the job has their visa expire or cancelled
    • the migrant is granted a variation of conditions to work for another employer, or
    • the job check expires or is cancelled without a visa being issued
    (NB; the worker may have left their employment but they remain counted in the job quota until their AEWV expires or is changed to another visa type – something the employer currently has no control over!)

    Employers on standard accreditation will need to upgrade to high-volume accreditation if there is a need to employ more than 5 migrant workers.

    Criteria and undertakings applying to all accreditation applications

    Employers applying for any accreditation must;

    • Hold a New Zealand Business Number (NZBN)
    • Be genuinely operating as a business
    • Be registered as an employer with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD)
    • Be in a sound financial position which requires the business to:
      • be profitable for the last 24 months (before depreciation and tax) or
      • have positive cash flow for each of last 6 months or
      • have sufficient capital and/or external investment or funding or
      • have a plan to ensure the business remains viable
    • Businesses operating for less than 12 months must provide evidence they are in a sound financial position. Most other employers will not need to provide evidence upfront but rather make appropriate declarations
    • There must be no recent history of regulatory non-compliance and declarations to this effect will be required from the business and key office holders
    • Must inform INZ within 10 working days if a migrant worker with an AEWV leaves their employment
    • Commit to enhanced settlement outcomes and:
      • Provide migrant workers with work-related settlement information including:
        • how to get an IRD number
        • how to get an IRD number
        • specific job or industry hazards.
        • accommodation options
        • transport options
        • cost of living
        • how to access healthcare services
        • Citizens Advice Bureau services
        • information about relevant community groups like religious or migrant groups.
      • Provide migrant workers time to complete Employment New Zealand's online modules on employment rights during paid work hours (and during their first month)
      • Ensure everyone making recruitment decisions completes Employment New Zealand's online modules on employment rights (during the accreditation term)
      • Pay all recruitment costs in New Zealand and outside New Zealand, including:
        • advertising
        • recruitment agency fees
        • immigration fees for employer
        • job check applications
        • trade testing
        • tools where the ownership is retained by the employer.
      • Not charge the migrant worker any fees that would be illegal in New Zealand, such as:
        • payment to secure a job
        • bonding agreements illegally binding workers to a business
        • deductions that are unreasonable or not agreed in writing.
      • Keep records during the accreditation period to show the above requirements are being met.
    • Declaring these commitments will be met is part of the accreditation application and it is expected that evidence will be requested as part of the accreditation renewal application

    Accreditation for Franchisee businesses

    A business is considered a franchisee employer if:

    • It has bought the right to use a pre-existing business system authorised by a third party, and
    • It uses a brand, trademark, advertising, marketing channels, or a commercial symbol owned by that third party, and
    • that third party business controls certain activities or structures within their business as set out within an agreement, operational guideline or a terms and conditions document. These activities or structures may cover at least one or all of the following features:
      • continuing financial performance or reporting obligations to the third party
      • paying the third party a fee, or part of the profits for the rights to use a brand or name
      • control over where the business can source goods and services or how to set up or run their business, or
      • restricted ability to refuse requests by the third party, raise concerns or complaints regarding the third party, or lack of ability to easily exit or terminate the agreement
    • Franchise businesses must have been operating for at least 12 months and evidence that at least 15% of their workforce are New Zealand citizens or residents in full time employment.

    NB: the Franchisee accreditation will end in late 2024 (date yet to be advised) and Franchisees will then be able to apply under one of the other accreditation regimes.

    Accreditation for employers who place migrants with controlling third parties

    There is a separate, and significantly more onerous, accreditation regime for these employers, which include labour hire and similar businesses who place workers with third party employers.

    A controlling third party is:

    • a separate legal entity to the employer named on the worker's employment agreement, and
    • who has contract with the employer allowing its employees to perform work for the benefit of the controlling third party, and
    • who can direct or control those employees as if the controlling third party was the direct employer

    Examples of employers who place people with controlling third parties include:

    • labour hire companies
    • employers who send migrant employees on secondment to a controlling third party
    • parent or umbrella companies placing their migrant workers with a third party such as a subsidiary company or branch that is a separate legal entity

    Additional requirements

    All employers firstly need to meet the normal requirements to become accredited. In addition, they must also meet requirements that have suitable systems are in place to monitor the employment and safety conditions of the AEWV holder when they are placed with the controlling third party.

    They must:

    • respond appropriately to issues raised and identified that affect the AEWV holder
    • have a history of employing staff in New Zealand for the past 12 months
    • have at least 15% of your workforce being placed with controlling third parties as New Zealanders in full-time employment
    • only place AEWV holders with compliant controlling third party businesses.

        A compliant business must not be on a stand-down list, and must make a declaration they are not subject to an immigration stand-down/permanent ban, and they are not aware of any immigration issues that would prevent them from becoming accredited in their own right

    Employer accreditation application

    The first accreditation application must have:

    • A documented plan to monitor migrant safety and employment conditions, including:
      • How to check the third party is not on a standdown list
      • How applicable declarations will be obtained and records kept
      • Obtaining third party permission for INZ to undertake site visits.
    • A documented complaints and resolution process

    Before the AEWV holder is placed

    Employers must:

    • assess documentation about the third party's processes to prevent and address workplace bullying including a complaints process for the AEWV holders to report bullying and a process to address and resolve any issues reported
    • assess documentation about the third party's processes to assess and prevent risk, including a risk register
    • assess documentation about the third party's health and safety induction
    • provide information to the third party about the AEWV holders' visa conditions and terms and conditions of employment
    • assess documentation about the third party's complaints and disputes resolution process
    • provide the AEWV holder with a complaints process and guidance to report issues directly to you
    • get declarations that the third party and its key people are not subject to a stand-down period or permanent ban for specific Immigration Act or Crimes Act offences and will inform you if they are prosecuted for any such offences after the AEWV holders have been placed.
    • get agreement that INZ will undertake a site visit and that the third party agrees to keep records to be given to the employer
    • get declarations they do not require or force the AEWV holder to work hours inconsistent with their visa conditions
    • get declarations the terms and conditions of the AEWV holders' employment aligns with health and safety standards

    Ongoing checks after placement made

    AEWV holders check:

    • once per fortnight for the first 2 months of placement and then at least once per month, or
    • more frequently where appropriate, for example where placement is for less than a month, or where there is a dispute or a complaint is in the process of being resolved.

    Site visits:

    • once every 6 months, or
    • less frequently or not at all where there is evidence that the risk of the third party breaching requirements is low.

    Additional Actions:

    • Investigate and address employment and safety issues working with the controlling third party to resolve issues or removing migrants from the controlling third party
    • Implement actions to resolve issues by seeking external help for issues that cannot be resolved and reporting significant breaches to the relevant authority. Other requirements
    • Maintain records detailing which organisation each AEWV holder is placed with including, , starting and finishing dates, the working locations, hours paid and hours worked (this includes hours for salaried AEWV holders).