INFORMATION FOR EMPLOYERS

Accreditation: what you need to commit to as an Employer - Announced March 2022

 

You must meet minimum requirements and commitments to hire migrants on the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV). Some business models must meet additional requirements.

There are different types of accreditation depending on your business model, and in some cases the number of migrants you want to hire.

All accreditation types have the same minimum requirements, but some business models must meet additional requirements. For most employers, accreditation will be simple and not require a lot of documentation.

The accreditation must be held by the direct employer named on the migrant worker’s employment agreement.

Accreditation types

For standard business models there are two different levels of accreditation, depending on how many migrants you want to employ.

1. Standard — if you want want to employ up to 5 migrant workers on AEWVs at any one time.

2. High-volume — if you want to employ 6 or more migrant workers on AEWVs at any one time.

This only includes migrants on AEWVs. Migrants on other visa types (for example working holiday visas) are not counted toward the total.

There is no difference in the accreditation requirements between standard and high-volume accreditation. Additional requirements for high-volume employers may be considered in the future.

For franchisees and employers wanting to place migrants on AEWVs with controlling third parties (including labour hire companies) there is no restriction on the number of AEWV holders you can employ. But there are extra requirements you must meet.

How much it costs

You will pay a fee based on the level of accreditation you get and how many migrants you hire.

  • Standard accreditation, up to 5 migrants at any one time is NZD $740.

  • High-volume, 6 or more migrants at any one time is NZD $1220.

  • Upgrade fee for employers who want to upgrade from standard to high-volume accreditation is NZD $480.

  • Employers wanting to place migrants with controlling third parties is NZD $3870.

  • Franchisees is NZD $1980.

  • Reconsideration of declined employer accreditation application is NZD $240. 

Employers accredited under the Talent (Accredited Employer) scheme will have the fee for their initial AEWV accreditation waived, as long as their accreditation has 6 months from 23 May 2022 until it expires. The Talent (Accredited Employer) scheme is being phased out and has closed to new applications.

Job quota

If you hold standard accreditation a job quota of up to 5 will apply. Each quota space is used when a job check is approved.

The job quota space only becomes available again if:

  • the migrant in the job has their visa expire or cancelled

  • the migrant is granted a variation of conditions to work for another employer, or

  • the job check expires or is cancelled without a visa being issued.

If you have a full quota you must apply and pay a fee to upgrade to high-volume accreditation. This fee reflects the additional risk assurance activities that INZ may have to do, as the impact of non-compliance increases with the greater number of migrants employed by a business.

There are no restrictions on the number of AEWV holders you can have at one time.

Requirements for all employers

All employers wanting to hire migrants on AEWVs must meet minimum accreditation criteria.

You must hold a New Zealand Business Number (NZBN). Your NZBN links your business information with our application system.

New Zealand Business Number

Most applications will be assessed based on your declarations and automated checks against publicly available information or information held by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

INZ will contact you if we are not satisfied you meet the requirements, or if we want more information to assess your application.

Genuine business

You must be a genuinely operating business.

You must be registered as an employer with Inland Revenue (IRD).

Your business must be in a sound financial position. This means the business must:

  • be profitable (before depreciation and tax), or

  • have positive cash flow, or

  • have sufficient capital and/or external investment or funding (for example from a founder or parent company), or

  • have a plan to ensure the business remains viable.

Businesses operating for less than 12 months must provide evidence they are in a sound financial position. Most other employers will not need to provide evidence upfront.

If you are a partnership or sole trader, you must not be bankrupt or subject to a No Asset Procedure.

Inland Revenue

Insolvency Register

No recent history of regulatory non-compliance

You and your significant office holders must not:

  • Have recently been convicted of specific immigration-related offences resulting in a fine or imprisonment.

If you have been convicted of immigration-related offences, once the stand-down period has ended you must show you have addressed the non-compliance and taken steps to make sure it does not happen again.

  • Be on the Labour Inspectorate stand-down list.

If you or your office holders have, you will not be eligible for accreditation for a set period of time. The length of the stand-down period will depend on how serious the offence is.

You or your significant office holders must not have:

  • employed a migrant who does not have the right visa or visa conditions to work in that role

  • employed a migrant under terms and conditions not matching those provided on the visa application

  • provided false or misleading information to INZ

  • been banned from acting as a director, or have a pattern of immigration offences in other businesses you or your officer holders have been involved in.

If you or your office holders have, you must show you have addressed these issues and taken steps to make sure it does not happen again.

Where offences have occurred you must show you have taken steps to prevent it happening in the business applying for accreditation.

https://companies-register.companiesoffice.govt.nz/help-centre/company-directors/banned-directors/

https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/policy-and-law/legal-framework-for-immigration

You must ensure everyone making recruitment decisions completes Employment New Zealand's online modules on employment rights.

https://employment.elearning.ac.nz/

You must pay all recruitment costs in New Zealand and outside New Zealand.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • advertising

  • recruitment agency fees

  • employer accreditation fees

  • job check applications

  • trade testing

  • tools where the ownership is retained by the employer.

This does not include migrant worker airfares (although this may be a requirement by the authorities in some countries).

You must not charge fees outside New Zealand which would be illegal if charged in New Zealand, including:

  • payment to secure a job

  • bonding agreements illegally binding workers to a business

  • deductions that are unreasonable or not agreed in writing.

Immigration New Zealand may decline your application if your business has been re-established under a new legal entity and NZBN while remaining the same as another business which has failed to meet the accreditation requirements.

Settlement support activities

You must allow migrant workers time to complete Employment New Zealand's online modules on employment rights during paid work hours.

https://employment.elearning.ac.nz/

You must provide migrant workers with work-related settlement information including:

  • how to get an IRD number

  • relevant industry training and qualification information and options

  • specific job or industry hazards.

You must provide migrant workers with local community and services information including:

  • accommodation options

  • transport options

  • cost of living

  • how to access healthcare services

  • Citizens Advice Bureau services

  • information about relevant community groups like religious or migrant groups.

Recording these commitments could include a register signed by the migrant worker, and email records between you and the migrant worker.

You should keep records during the accreditation period to show requirements are being met.

Extra requirements for franchisees

In addition to meeting minimum accreditation requirements franchisee employers must:

  • have been operating (trading or carrying out their business) for at least 12 months as a franchisee, and

  • show that at least 15% of their workforce are New Zealanders or residents who are guaranteed at least 30 hours work per week, unless the employer only has one employee.

A business is considered a franchisee employer if:

  • they have bought the right to use a pre-existing business system authorised by a third party business

  • their business uses a brand, trade mark, advertising, marketing channels, or a commercial symbol owned by that third party, and

  • that third party business controls certain activities or structures within their business as set out through an agreement, operational guideline or a terms and conditions document.

These activities or structures may cover at least one or all of the following features:

  • continuing financial performance or reporting obligations to the third party

  • paying the third party a fee, or part of the profits from the business for the rights to use a brand or name

  • control imposed by the third party over where the business can source goods and services or how to set up or run their business, or

  • restricted ability to refuse requests by the third party, raise concerns or complaints regarding the third party, or lack of ability to easily exit or terminate the agreement.

Employers meeting this definition must apply for accreditation under the franchisee category.

Extra requirements for employers wanting to place migrants with controlling third parties

A controlling third party is a separate legal entity to the direct employer named on the worker’s employment agreement.

We do not consider placing AEWV holders in different parts of a single business to be placing migrants with controlling third parties.

A controlling third party:

  • is a separate legal entity to the direct employer

  • has an arrangement or contract with the employer allowing its employees to perform work for the benefit of the controlling third party, and

  • can direct or control those employees as if the controlling third party was the direct employer.

https://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2000/0024/latest/DLM58337.html

Extra accreditation requirements apply if you want to place AEWV holders with controlling third parties.

Examples of employers who place people with controlling third parties include:

  • labour hire companies

  • employers who send migrant employees on secondment to a controlling third party

  • parent or umbrella companies placing their migrant workers with a third party such as a subsidiary company or branch that is a separate legal entity.

You only need to meet the extra requirements if you want to place AEWV holders with controlling third parties. You do not need to meet the extra requirements if you only place NZ citizens, residents, or holders of other visas.

As well as meeting standard accreditation requirements you must place AEWV holders with compliant businesses.

A ‘compliant business’ means a business that has a NZBN, that is not on the Labour Inspectorate stand-down list, and does not have immigration-related issues preventing them from being granted accreditation in their own right.

You must also:

  • have good systems in place to monitor employment and safety conditions of the workers while they are placed with a controlling third party

  • have a history of employing staff in New Zealand for the past 12 months

  • have at least 15% of your workforce being placed with controlling third parties as New Zealanders in full-time employment.

Your systems to monitor employment and safety conditions of employees placed with third parties must cover proactive and reactive actions, which could include, but are not limited to:

  • checking work conditions before the migrant is placed with a controlling third party

  • ensuring the migrant worker and controlling third party have a clear understanding of visa conditions and employment and safety obligations

  • ensuring there are channels for employees to report issues and conducting appropriate onsite visits, depending on the duration of the placements and any perceived risks

  • investigating and addressing employment and safety issues which may include working with the controlling third party to resolve issues or removing migrants from the controlling third party

  • implementing actions to resolve issues by seeking external help for issues that cannot be resolved and reporting significant breaches to the relevant authority.

You may be subject to verification and compliance checks to ensure you are meeting these additional requirements.

INZ may revoke your accreditation if we determine you no longer meet the requirements.

Accreditation duration

When you are approved for the first time you will receive accreditation for 12 months.

At renewal, franchisees and employers placing migrants on AEWVs with controlling third parties will get accreditation for a further 12 months.

All other employers will get accreditation for 24 months when they renew.

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The previous announcement was as follows:

Employers will lead a new process for employing migrant workers

 

From 2021, employers wishing to employ migrant workers on the new temporary work visa will use a 3-step process.

  1. An employer check — it will be mandatory for all employers, including those with an existing accreditation, to be accredited under the new application process before they can hire migrants on the new work visa.

  2. A job check — this will include checking that the job is paid in line with the New Zealand market rate and, in some cases, will include a labour market test to ensure New Zealand workers are not available.

  3. A worker check — when the worker applies for a visa, they must show they meet our standard character, identity and health requirements, as well showing they have the skills to do the job they have been offered.

What an employer-led process can achieve

The changes aim to improve how New Zealand's temporary workforce operates by ensuring that:

  • migrant workers are only recruited for genuine labour shortages

  • regional and sector differences in the labour market are recognised when migrant workers are employed

  • employers are encouraged to employ and train more New Zealanders.

 

The employer check and accreditation

INZ are still working through the details of the accreditation process and consulting with employers in order to get a streamlined process. The 3 levels of accreditation will be:

  • standard accreditation

  • high-volume accreditation — this is for employers who want to hire 6 or more migrant workers in a year, and

  • labour hire employer accreditation.

The job check

Labour market tests will still be used but not for every job. For example, employers will not need to undertake a labour market test if they offer high-paid work in rural areas and smaller towns.

Labour market tests will need to be done for all low-paid jobs.

The worker check

The worker check is the last stage of the application process and will check that a migrant worker meets immigration health and character requirements. We carry out these checks when we assess the visa application they submit.

Employing migrant workers — what is changing

Some visas and employer schemes will be replaced

From 2021, a new temporary work visa will replace 6 existing visas:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa

  • Essential Skills Work Visa — approved in principle

  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa

  • Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa

  • Silver Fern Job Search Visa, and

  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa.

At the same time 2 employer schemes will be removed:

  • approval in principle (AIP) before an employer hires workers on an Essential Skills Work Visa

  • accreditation as a Talent Accredited Employer.

Visas and employer schemes that are not affected

Other work visas and employer schemes such as the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme and working holiday visas are not impacted by these changes. We have provided a full list of visas that are not affected with our more detailed information for employers.

Skill-levels and wages

Currently, jobs under the Essential Skills work visa policy are assigned a skill band based on a combination of the pay and the categorisation of the job on ANZSCO. The skill band determines:

  • whether an employer needs to engage with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD)

  • the duration of the visa

  • whether the visa holder is limited to a maximum of 3 years in New Zealand, and

  • if the visa holder can support family to come to New Zealand.

From mid-2020, we will not use ANZSCO in this assessment and instead use only the rate of pay. High-paid jobs will be defined as those that pay at or above the median wage, and low-paid jobs are those that pay below the median wage. High-paid jobs will receive the same benefits as jobs that are currently categorised as mid- or high-skilled, and low-paid jobs will be treated the same as low-skilled jobs.

 

When the changes take effect

The changes will be happen in stages over the next 18 months and be completed in 2021. There is nothing you need to do now to change the way you hire migrants unless you are a Talent Accredited Employer.

Changes to Talent Accredited Employer:

From 7 October, there are changes for Talent Accredited Employers, including to the salary you must offer your employees before they can apply for a Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa. The Salary you must offer your employee is increased to NZD 79,560.00 Annually or $38.254 per hour.

Changes in 2020

In mid-2020, the current system of assessing jobs based on skill-bands will change. We will classify jobs as low- or high-paid based on whether they are paid above or below the median New Zealand wage, instead of using a combination of the ANZSCO classification and pay to determine skill bands.

 

From the end of 2020 we will start to negotiate sector agreements for employing migrant workers with 2 industries that hire large numbers of migrant workers: residential care (including aged care) and meat processing. There are 4 other sectors which have been identified for negotiations so far.

If you work in one of these sectors, in the future you will need to hire migrant workers under the terms of your sector’s agreement with us.

Changes in 2021

From 2021, the way you employ temporary migrant workers will change.

We are:

  • introducing a new visa which replaces 6 current visas

  • bringing in accreditation for all employers hiring migrant workers on the new visa

  • removing 2 existing employer schemes, and

  • tailoring visa policies to recognise 3 distinct labour market situations across New Zealand.

Employing migrant workers under a sector agreement

Introducing sector agreements

Over the next 18 months we will be making changes to the way employers hire migrant workers. This includes introducing sector agreements for some industries.

If you are an employer, there is nothing you need to change now in the way you hire migrants, even if you are in a sector that will be negotiating a sector agreement.

The benefits of sector agreements

Some industry sectors rely on temporary migrant workers, particularly workers that are low-paid — that is, workers who are paid below the median wage, currently NZD $25 an hour. These employers and their workers can benefit from agreements that apply across the whole workforce.

Under a sector agreement, employers will have more certainty about hiring migrant workers and the compliance costs are likely to be lower than for the normal recruitment process .

What a sector agreement covers

A sector agreement will include:

  • information about the sector and its workforce such as labour supply and demand forecasts

  • a workforce plan that would show how the sector plans to place more New Zealanders in jobs

  • details about how migrant workers will be employed in the specific occupation covered by the sector agreement over the duration of the agreement.

Employers who must comply with a sector agreement

Employers who are recruiting migrants for occupations covered by a sector agreement must:

  • be accredited, and

  • comply with the agreement if their workers are paid below the median wage.

Sectors we will negotiate with

We have identified the following sectors that we will negotiate with initially:

  • residential care (including aged residential care)

  • meat processing

  • dairy

  • forestry

  • road freight transport

  • tourism and hospitality.

The construction, and horticulture and viticulture sectors are also likely candidates.

We will negotiate with 2 sectors at a time starting with the residential care and meat processing sectors from October 2019. We expect these 2 agreements to be completed in 2020.

What is changing in Main cities and Rural New Zealand

We are bringing in a system for categorising the labour needs of New Zealand cities and the regions outside our main cities.

Some of the changes include:

  • replacing the regional skill-shortage lists, but keeping them for Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin

  • helping employers attract high-skilled migrants to work in the rural areas, and smaller towns and cities

  • making agreements with industry sectors that employ a large number of migrant workers.

In the future policies for temporary work visas, will be informed by advice from new Regional Skills Leadership Groups that will provide information to us about the skills needed in their regions.

 

Until the above changes are introduced- Please follow the below:

As an Employer it can be daunting and a confusing process to hire overseas skilled labour. However, you can employ overseas employees provided you comply with all relevant employment and immigration laws in force in New Zealand.  This includes: 

  • paying employees the appropriate statutory minimum wage or other contracted industry standard; and 

  • meeting holiday and special leave requirements or other minimum statutory criteria, e.g. health and safety obligations; and 

  • only employing people who have authority to work in New Zealand; and

  • living and running a business in New Zealand lawfully yourself

 

Also, before your employee can commence work, they must obtain a work or resident visa. CONTACT US to determine relevant visa options. 

If the Employee is in New Zealand the same information applies as above, although the process for obtaining a work visa may be slightly different.

As an employer you’ll need to show Immigration NZ that you meet all of the criteria for accreditation – you can do this by providing the evidence we ask for. Before we make a decision about your accreditation application, we may consult with relevant New Zealand unions and other government agencies.What you need to do is stated as follows : 

Financial position

Your company must be in a sound financial position. If available, you must provide the following business records covering at least 2 financial years:

  • annual reports

  • financial statements

  • business plans

  • company profile and registration details.

Human resources

You have good human resource practicesand you need to provide information about the structure of your business and how you manage your employees, including:

  • an organisation chart showing how many people you employ and the areas they work in

  • documents outlining your human resource policies and processes

  • health and safety documents

  • copies of standard employment agreements

  • details of any redundancies in your business within the last year.

Workplace practices

You must have good workplace practices. When you complete your 'Employer Accreditation Application', we’ll ask you:

  • about your compliance with employment and immigration law

  • for your authority to contact other New Zealand government agencies to assess if you meet this requirement.

Training and employing New Zealanders

You must be committed to training and employing New Zealanders. Evidence of your commitment can include:

  • proof of any in-house training or development programmes

  • proof of your involvement with New Zealand Industry Training Organisations

  • invoices for your employees to attend external training courses

  • apprenticeship or graduate programmes

  • any other documents you think show that you’re committed to training and employing New Zealanders.

You apply for employer accreditation

You need to Complete the 'Employer Accreditation Application' and send it to Immigration NZ together with your application fee and supporting documents.

To make sure your application is processed in time, it’s a good idea to apply 3 months before you need to start recruiting.

INZ will make a decision about your application

INZ will assess your application as soon as possible and before making a decision they may ask you to 

consult with unions and other government agencies, ask for you more information, ask to visit your worksite or ask you to attend an interview.

Once your accreditation application is approved, your accreditation will be valid for 12 months and your name will be added on the 'Accredited Employers List'.