Employer Accreditation Renewal: no longer a walk in the park

Many employers will have their employer accreditation status coming up for renewal in the next few months and should take note of a significant change in INZ’s approach to these applications.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has just released guidance on the renewal process, and we expect there will be thousands of applications needing to be handled over the next six months.

Employers will recall that the initial accreditation process starting in 2022 was a straightforward one:  applications required minimal supporting evidence and were processed fairly quickly. From a review of the announcements from INZ regarding the renewal process, it’s fair to say that this time around the process will not be such a walk in the park.

Higher levels of interrogation

Supporting documentation will need to be provided across several key areas.  Importantly, employers will also need to provide evidence that they have delivered on the commitments made in the earlier application.

Many employers did not fully comprehend the depth and breadth of these commitments, and this may now come back to bite in the form of application delays and/or additional focus by INZ on these areas.

This approach of higher levels of interrogation also comes off the back of criticism in the recent review of the administration of the AEWV scheme undertaken by the Public Service Commissioner’s office regarding the lack of scrutiny at the employer accreditation stage, which has previously relied on a high-trust, low-touch model.

Taken in combination, we expect a much more thorough process this time around.

Ensure applications are ‘decision-ready’

With thousands of accreditations expiring in the next few months and a more robust review and processing approach in place, the importance of making a “decision-ready” application cannot be overstated.

The processing timeframes are what they are, but employers are advised to do what they can do to ensure when their application reaches the top of the pile it is able to be processed quickly.

There is provision for a three-month interim accreditation if certain criteria are met, but if applications are not well-supported by documentary evidence or where there are question marks over certain key criteria (including adherence to the declarations made in the previous accreditation) then timing issues could become a major problem.

Also tucked into the background are the recent changes to the Immigration Act which now enable INZ the ability to issue an infringement notice (and accompanying penalties such as fines or suspension of accreditation status) when even minor technical breaches are identified, on a strict liability basis.

How we can help

With all of these changes in mind, the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been when it comes to making an application to renew your employer accreditation and getting it right the first time.

To get expert advice on what your obligations are as an accredited employer, how you can make a strong decision-ready accreditation application and how to manage your immigration compliance to steer clear of the infringement regime, reach out to the Lane Neave Immigration team now.

As part of engaging our team to handle your accreditation renewal process, we will also deliver a refresher training session on the key obligations you need to have in mind in making an accreditation application and on an ongoing basis.

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