The Accredited Employer Work Visa, AEWV

If you have skills or expertise and have been offered full-time work by an accredited employer, then you may be eligible for an Accredited Employer Work Visa.

The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) will replace 6 work visas with a streamlined single visa process.
This work visa can help set you on the pathway to New Zealand residence by allowing you to work in New Zealand.

Please note : Announced 23 August 2021: The introduction of the new Accredited Employer Work Visa is postponed until mid-2022.


The new AEWV application process

The new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) application process will be employer led.

Before hiring a migrant on the AEWV the New Zealand employer will have to

  • apply for accreditation under the new system
  • apply for a job check to make sure the role they want to fill cannot be done by New Zealanders, and
  • request a migrant worker to apply for a visa.

The migrant will need to meet the skills and experience stipulated as part of the job check.

The AEWV will replace 6 work visas

The AEWV replaces these 6 work visas:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa (remains open until AEWV introduced)
  • Essential Skills Work Visa — approved in principle (remains open until AEWV introduced)
  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa (closing 31 October 2021)
  • Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa (closing 31 October 2021)
  • Silver Fern Job Search Visa (closed 7 October 2019)
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa (closing 31 October 2021).

New visa system has 3 checks

The system will introduce 3 checks before an employer can hire a migrant worker.

These checks are:

  • the employer check — employers need accreditation to pass this
  • the job check
  • the migrant worker check.

1. Employer check

The employer check will replace 3 current employer schemes:

  • approval in principle (AIP) before an employer hires workers on an Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Accreditation as a Talent Accredited Employer, and
  • Labour Hire employers' accreditation for essential skills work visas.

These employer schemes closed to new and renewing applications on 30 June 2021.

To pass the employer check you need accreditation in the new system. Only accredited employers can hire a migrant worker on the AEWV.

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

The new accreditation levels are:

  • standard accreditation — for employers who want to have up to 5 migrant workers on AEWVs at any one time
  • high-volume accreditation — for employers who want to have 6 or more migrant workers on AEWVs at any one time.

Franchisees and employers wanting to place migrants on AEWVs with controlling third parties (including labour hire companies) will need to meet additional criteria to get accredited.

Immigration New Zealand will provide a further detailed definition of what franchisee business models must meet these requirements before the AEWV is introduced.

2. Job check

The job check will confirm the job pays the market rate, the terms and conditions comply with our employment laws, and the employer has done a labour market test if required.

Labour market testing:

A labour market test shows that the employer has genuinely advertised the role to New Zealanders and there are no New Zealanders available to do the job.

For jobs paying below the median wage, the labour market test includes checking with the Ministry of Social Development.

Jobs paying 200% of the median wage do not need a labour market test.

Jobs paying at, or above, the median wage in regions also do not need a labour market test.

In cities, jobs that are on a skills shortage list and pay at, or above, the median wage don’t need a labour market test.

Employers pay for a job check and can only hire a migrant worker if the job check is passed.

3. AEWV migrant worker check

The migrant worker check is where the migrant worker applies for a visa.

It is the last step in the AEWV process. The migrant must show they meet INZ’s character, identity and health requirements, and meet the skills and experience stipulated as part of the employer’s job check application.

Migrant workers or employers pay for this check.

When do employers have to apply for accreditation?

The Government has decided to defer the introduction of the new Accredited Employer Work Visa until mid-2022.
Employers will be able to apply for accreditation before the AEWV is introduced.
Employers accredited under the current system will need to apply and meet the policy requirements of the new accreditation system.
Employers only need to be accredited under the new system when they want to start hiring migrants on AEWVs.

Transitioning to the new accreditation system

The following employer policies closed to new and renewing applications on 30 June 2021:

  • Accredited Employer (Talent – Accredited Employer)
  • Labour Hire Accreditation (Essential Skills)
  • Approval in Principle (Essential Skills) – this does not include approval in principle for other policies including AIP for foreign crew of fishing vessels.

Employers can support work visa applications under the Essential Skills work visa category until the AEWV is introduced.

In between the existing Labour Hire Accreditation closing and the new accreditation policy being implemented, Labour Hire Accreditation will not be mandatory for labour hire employers supporting Essential Skills Work Visas for jobs in the construction industry in the Canterbury region.

What does all this mean for you as a migrant?

The Government has deferred the introduction of the AEWV until mid-2022. When the AEWV is introduced, it will replace 6 temporary work visas.
Your potential employer must complete the employer accreditation and job check before you apply for a work visa.
If you have a current temporary work visa you will not be affected as long as you are meeting your visa conditions and your visa remains valid.
If you have a Residence from Work visa application underway (requiring a further Work to Residence visa to be granted residence), you will be able to continue this process if you remain with your employer.
The changes to accredited employer work visas will not affect other work visas holders.
If you held a Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa and been employed in New Zealand by an accredited employer for more than 2 years, you may be eligible for this residence visa.



Temporary work visas not affected

The following temporary work visas will not be changed by the new visa system:

  • Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Limited Visa
  • Working holiday schemes
  • Post-study Work Visa
  • Fishing Crew Work Visa
  • Religious Worker Work Visa
  • Specific Purpose Work Visa
  • partnership work visas including Partner of a Worker Work Visa, Partner of a New Zealander Work Visa and Partner of a Student Work Visa
  • work visas granted for international or humanitarian reasons, such as domestic staff of diplomats, consular and official staff, and for refugee or protection status claimants.

Policies continued

People who hold visas based on work paid below the median wage will still have to leave New Zealand for a 1-year stand down period after they have been working for 3 years.

Current work visas remain valid until their expiry date if all employment conditions are met.

Read more about

Accredited Employers

Accredited Employers Residence Visa

If you are a New Zealand employer thinking of employing migrant, we invite you to attend our Employer Webinar specifically tailored to give New Zealand employers the necessary information required to become accredited and apply the new Accredited Employer Visa policy.

Read more about character:

Read more Visa FAQ's:

Read more about Visas for New Zealand:

Read more about the Skill Shortage Lists:

Which Visa is Right for You?

Read more about the Points System:

Read more about health:

The Skill Shortage Lists

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