Under current Immigration New Zealand (INZ) rules, New Zealand employers must be accredited before they can hire migrant workers on temporary work visas. INZ needs to approve that your business can afford to pay workers, and doesn’t make a habit of breaking immigration law.

This is Zealand Immigration’s guide for Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) applications.

About employer accreditation

Accreditation allows you to hire migrant workers on temporary work visas. It lasts for 12 months the first time you apply, and then 24 months every time after that*. It takes INZ around 25 working days to process accreditation applications.

There are three types of accreditation: standard accreditation for up to five migrant workers per year; high-volume accreditation for six or more per year; and labour hire employer accreditation for labour hire and temporary trade worker companies.

*Note: Labour hire employers must renew accreditation every 12 months.

Step 1: Is it worth the trouble?

You need to decide if it’s worth the trouble of becoming accredited – our opinion is almost always “yes”. If your business relies on migrant workers, then this is essential. It is the new method of getting temporary migrant workers involved with your business, and it will speed up visa processing a lot and save you future headaches and time-wasting admin. From June 2022, it will be compulsory for employers of migrant workers.

The process is fairly straightforward – Zealand Immigration can help you with paperwork and obligations – and once you are accredited, you don’t have to worry about it for another one to two years.

You won’t need to sponsor the visas of your migrant employees under this system, and the responsibilities that come with accreditation essentially boil down to: don’t break the law; and don’t treat your employees badly.

Step 2: Decide which accreditation you need

INZ defines standard and high-volume accreditation as follows:

  • 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

Labour hire companies can also apply for accreditation.

The requirements are similar for all applications. You must not be on a non-compliant stand-down list of employers who have breached minimum employment standards; you must be a real business; you must comply with immigration regulations and standards; and you must commit to minimising the risk of worker exploitation. High-volume employers must also commit to improving pay and employment standards over time. There are additional requirements for labour hire companies, and we suggest contacting us for help with these applications.

Step 3: Make sure you have an NZBN

You need an NZBN (New Zealand Business Number) before applying, so INZ can link your business information to your application and keep track of everything. You can get this at nzbn.govt.nz.

Step 4: Paperwork

If you are eligible for AEWV accreditation and have an NZBN, you’re ready to start the application process. You’ll need to supply some essential documentation and information about your business.

At this stage you will need to decide which of the 11 visa categories may apply to your business. There are different requirements for each category, and Zealand Immigration’s experts can give advice on this step.

Step 5: Checks

INZ will then carry out an employer check to ensure you are eligible and a job check to make sure the job is paid adequately. There will also be a worker check when each worker applies for a visa to show they meet the regulatory requirements and have the skills to do the job.

Need help?

There are a lot of future changes coming in this area and Zealand Immigration can help you with that.

Employer accreditation can be a complicated process and it is important to get it right the first time. Talk to the experts at Zealand Immigration for help with your employer accreditation process.


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