New Zealand Changes Criteria For Accredited Employer Work Visa

Written by

Alisha Azeem

Fact check by

Afreen Abbasi

Updated on

Jul 14,2024

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The Accredited Employer Work Visa, better known as AEWV, is a temporary work permit that allows skilled migrants to move to New Zealand and work there. It allows skilled workers to live and work in New Zealand for up to 5 years. Recently, the government of New Zealand made some changes to this visa. These changes affect both - employers and future visa applicants. 

If you already have an AEWV and are in New Zealand on account of this visa, the newly made changes can affect how long you can stay in the country before having to get a visa renewal. It may even dictate how much time you can or must spend outside New Zealand soil. Moreover, these changes may also affect future eligibility criteria which determine your suitability to get this visa. 

If the visa holder is already an ANZSCO level 4 or level 5 and is in the process of getting permanent residency, then these changes will not affect them. 

If the visa holder applied for this AEWV Visa for the first time before June 21, 2023, is an ANZSCO level 4 or 5 job, and holds the three-year AEWV, then they will not be able to access the maximum extension period of 5 years. 

Moreover, if you are planning on applying for an AEWV after April 7, 2024, then you must comply with the changes and newly laid out eligibility criteria for this visa. 

So what are these changes, and how do they affect you and other potential visa applicants? There are changes laid out for both applicants and employers, so they differ greatly in both aspects. The different changes for employers and applicants are listed below. 

AEWV Changes For Applicants 

Three major changes have been laid out for future and potential applicants for the AEWV. The government of New Zealand has strengthened and streamlined the immigration process for skilled workers. The three major changes are concerning period of stay, educational qualifications, and English speaking ability. 

1. Shorter Visa Validity Period

The maximum time that an AEWV can allow you to stay in New Zealand has been shortened to a period of 3 years. Initially, it used to be for 5 years. For ANZSCO level 4 and level 5 jobs that pay above the required wage rate, the maximum visa length has been reduced to 2 years. All these changes are in effect since April 7, 2024. However, the length of the visa validity for ANZSCO levels 1, 2, and 3 remain 5 years. 

2. New Minimum Experience Requirements 

Having proof of work experience and educational qualifications was always a mandate for this visa. However, in addition to the skills your employer needs for the job you’re looking at, you must also be eligible through the following criteria: 

  • You must have at least 3 years of work experience in the field you are applying for 

  • You must have the necessary qualifications at level 4 or above in the New Zealand Qualifications and Credentials Framework. 

Again, you must have documented proof of your qualifications based on these criteria. 

3. English Requirements 

For jobs that are ANZSCO levels 4 and 5, you must demonstrate your ability to speak, understand, and write English. You can use one of the English language tests, like IELTS or TOEFL, to prove this. 

AEWV Changes For Employers

The government of New Zealand has enforced more checks on the employers’ side, thereby strengthening the country's screening of employers. Some of them are listed down below. 

1. Minimum Hours Per Week Requirement 

Starting April 7, 2024, all New Zealand employers must employ their migrants for at least 30 hours per week. Failure to comply with this might revoke the business or company’s accreditation. 

2. Strengthen Standards And Regulations 

The new changes also ask employers to strengthen their hiring procedures and thoroughly determine whether the applicant is suitable or not. Employers must check whether the applicants have the skills they need for the job and whether they meet other new requirements introduced or are late. 

3. Preference To Locals 

The changes also coined the term “suitable and available New Zealanders.” It means that if there are locals who are available for the job, it cannot be offered to expats. The employers must declare that there are no suitable and available candidates for this job before hiring an immigrant. 

4. More Grounds For Employer Suspension 

Earlier, employer suspension would only occur if they had breached any accreditation requirements. Now, with these changes, even an employer who is under investigation for breaking the law can be immediately suspended. 

5. ANZSCO Skill Level Changes 

The ANZSCO skill level changes are introduced into the AEWV application assessment process. Moreover, employers who wish to hire employees for ANZSCO levels 4 or 5 must comply with the following rules:

  • They must advertise the job for 21 days now instead of 14 days 

  • They declare in the Job Check form why New Zealanders were not hired for the job 

  • They work with Work and Income 

6. Keep Immigration Authorities In The Loop

If a skilled worker who works with you on an AEWV leaves the job a month or longer before the visa expiry date, you must inform Immigration New Zealand immediately. They must be informed within 10 working days. Failure to do so might lead to suspension of your accreditation. 

Conclusion

These new changes made by the government of New Zealand will impact any future applications. The aim of these changes seems to strengthen the filters for expats who wish to work in New Zealand and promote indigenous and local communities to fill up the job openings in the country. New Zealand has always been a major immigrant hub and continues to be so. These changes raise the standard of immigrants who are eligible to enter the country and work there. 

If you are looking for immigration to New Zealand, TerraTern has all the information and an expert team to help you get through the process easily and efficiently!

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long does AEWV take?

The processing time of the AEWV can be anywhere between 20 days to 44 days minimum.

Is it easy to get PR in New Zealand?

New Zealand follows a points-based system to select PR applications. If you accumulate enough points to qualify, you will be able to get PR in New Zealand.

Is New Zealand giving a 3-year work visa?

Yes. If your job role falls under the ANZSCO level 4 or level 5, then you will be issued a visa for 3 years.

How much does the AEWV Visa cost?

The AEWV cost is about $750.