New Zealand has made significant changes to its Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) category, impacting both accredited employers and foreign workers seeking employment in the country, according to an ET report.
These changes are aimed at promoting fair treatment of migrants and streamlining the visa application process. Here’s a breakdown of the key changes:
1.Removal of 90-Day Trial Periods: Beginning October 29, 2023, accredited employers can no longer include 90-day trial periods in employment agreements when hiring under AEWV. The change aims to promote fairness and encourage hiring migrants for legitimate labor needs or skills gaps. Job check applications should not contain trial periods. Accreditation may be revoked for rule violations, which can be identified through various checks.
2. AEWV Job Check Application: After October 29, 2023, AEWV Job Check applications under review will be rejected if they contain an employment agreement with a trial period, regardless of the submission date. However, this rule excludes applications based on previously approved Job Checks or migrants who have applied for an AEWV based on a Job Check approved before October 29, 2023.
3. AEWV Employer Accreditation Updates: Immigration instructions have received technical updates to provide clarity on the process of suspending or revoking an employer’s accreditation under the AEWV. As of October 29, 2023, accreditation may be suspended if INZ or another regulator actively verifies the employer’s compliance with immigration, employment, and business standards. This applies to both formal investigations and general verification and compliance activities. Employers are also prohibited from transferring certain costs to visa applicants and existing visa holders.
4. AEWV Labour Hire Employment: Threshold Change: Starting November 27, 2023, accredited employers who are labor hire firms placing migrants in specific construction roles must ensure that a minimum of 35% of their labor hire workforce consists of New Zealand citizens and residents in full-time employment. This represents an increase from the previous 15% requirement. INZ will evaluate the New Zealand workforce threshold during both accreditation and Job Check stages. Failure to meet the new threshold will result in Job Check failure. Existing employers maintaining the 15% threshold won’t lose their current accreditation but must meet the new threshold for further Job Check approvals.
5. Increased Processing Times: INZ has modified its AEWV assessment method to enhance the precision and authenticity of job listings and the employer’s ability to back migrant hires. Consequently, processing times have lengthened, with most applications now taking over 10 days to process. Employers are recommended to allocate at least six weeks for accreditation and job check applications due to the current processing durations. In situations requiring urgent allocation, employers can utilize the INZ employment visa escalation process.

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