D-Day for employers of migrant workers

Today, INZ has released some further information in relation to the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) which will be introduced from 1 November 2021.

Lane Neave will undertake a more detailed review of the latest policy information we have received and will distribute this in further thought pieces to follow. At the moment, the level of information available is still limited, however, in the meantime, it is important for employers and HR managers to be aware that the new framework is coming and start to understand some of the likely implications.

We summarise the immediate points of note here:

1. The new system will be effective from 1 November 2021 and will replace the following six categories:

  • 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

2. In order to sponsor migrant workers from 1 November onwards, all employers must be “accredited” (known as the Employer Check) under new accreditation criteria.

3. There are three levels of accreditation. There will be higher expectations on employers who want to sponsor six or more migrants, who are franchisees, or are labour hire companies.

4. Applications to be accredited under the new regime will be able to be lodged from late September 2021.

5. Applications for accreditation under the current regime will not be accepted after 30 June 2021.

6. The new system for securing an AEWV will involve three stages:

  • The employer check
  • The job check (labour market testing – where applicable)
  • The migrant worker check

One thing that is immediately obvious is that if you have migrant worker employees who are not already on Talent visas, there is now a limited window for transitioning them into that regime. There is still (in theory) time for an employer to become accredited and for a migrant worker to subsequently make an application for a Talent visa before the new regime comes in. INZ have yet to confirm that existing Talent visa holders will be able to successfully transition through to residence, however, in our view, this is still an application worth making and in the past transitional provisions have applied.

Therefore, for some migrants this may well be their last (or only) chance to secure a pathway to residence in New Zealand in an environment where the current Skilled Migrant Category is closed and there is genuine concern about the changes that will be made to this category prior to opening again at some point in the future.

Employers in this position should seek urgent advice about how to secure the best outcome for them and their employees before this limited time opportunity is lost.

Further detailed advice about the new policies and what they will mean for employers will follow in the coming days and as more information is released.

In the meantime, for detailed advice on how these changes may impact you and your employees, please feel free to get in touch with our team of immigration experts.

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