Accredited Employer Work Visa back in the limelight15 Nov 2021

After months of speculation, uncertainty, and a last-minute U-turn on the scheduled mandatory Employer Accreditation, the Government has confirmed the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) will be introduced on 4 July 2022.

The AEWV will replace the following work visas:
• Essential Skills Work Visa
• Essential Skills Work Visa – Approval in Principle
• Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa
• Long Term Skills Shortage List Work Visa
• Silver Fern Job Search Visa
• Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa.

Businesses and regions are encouraged to train, upskill and hire New Zealand workers. Where genuine skill or labour shortages exist, accredited employers can hire skilled migrant workers using the AEWV. Employers must be accredited to employ migrants on the new visa. Applications for accreditation will open on 9 May 2022. Employers can continue to employ onshore temporary migrant workers on an Essential Skills Work Visa, without employer accreditation, until the AEWV is introduced.

At this time there is nothing for employers to prepare except to ensure their employment documentation and practices are up-to-date and compliant with current law, and to consider extending their employees’ work visas prior to 4 July. The accreditation is not required for existing work visa holders to remain in employment and only applies to new employees, or existing employees, applying for new work visas after 4 July. Given that many migrant workers are eligible for the new 2021 Resident Visa, and will be able to transition to residence within the next year, the best option for employers is to ensure their migrant workers have sufficient time available on their existing work visas to complete the residence process and thus avoid any immediate need for any employer accreditation.

Timeline for transitioning to the new work visa system

• Applications open for AEWV employer accreditation - 9 May 2022
• Applications open for AEWV job checks - 9 May 2022
• Applications close for the Essential Skills Work Visa - 3 July 2022
• Applications open for Accredited Employer Work Visa - 4 July 2022