New Zealand

Accredited Employer Work Visa

The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) was introduced in July 2022. It replaces six different temporary work visa, most notably the Essential Skills and Work to Residence visa.

AEWV temporary work visa – Requirements

An AEWV visa application is based on a job offer from a New Zealand employer. The job offer must be for a fulltime job (at least 30 hours per week). An important condition is also that the salary offered is higher than the median income in New Zealand. The median income is NZ$27.76/hr per July 2022, approximately NZ$58k on an annual basis. There are limited exceptions to this requirement for a list of jobs in the Hospitality & Tourism, Construction & Infrastructure and Care Workforce sectors. A different option for jobs with a lower salary could also be the Working Holiday visa.

Before applying for an AEWV work visa, the employer must be able to demonstrate that there are no people in New Zealand who can be hired for the position. There are two exceptions to this requirement: jobs that pay more than twice the median wage and jobs that are listed on the ‘green list’.

AEWV Application procedure

The application process for an AEWV visa is comprised of three steps:

  • Step 1: Employer Accreditation
    The employer must first be accredited by INZ.
  • Step 2: Job Check
    After accreditation, the employer must apply for a job check with INZ. Most jobs will have to be advertised first in New Zealand and employer must genuinely consider any New Zealanders who apply.
  • Step 3: Applicant Check
    The visa application by the migrant is the last step in the procedure. The application can only be lodged after INZ approval for the first two steps of the procedure.

1 – Employer Accreditation

The purpose of employer accreditation is to verify that:

  • the employer has a valid New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) and is registered with Inland Revenue.
  • The company is a ‘genuinely operating business’ that:
    • is profitable (before depreciation and tax over the last 24 months
    • has positive cash flow for each of the last 6 months
    • has sufficient capital and external investment or funding
    • has a plan to ensure the business remains viable
  • The employer has complied with all relevant immigration and labor laws.
  • Everyone making recruitment decisions at the company must complete Employment New Zealand’s online modules on employment rights. The new migrant hire must also complete mandatory modules on employment rights.
  • The employer makes a commitment so provide ‘Settlement Support activities’ to the migrant, which includes both work-related information and community-related information.

Most applications will be assessed based on declarations by the employer and automated checks against publicly available information or information held by MBIE. Companies that have been in business less than 12 months will be asked to provide evidence to INZ. Additional requirements are also placed on franchisees and employers who place migrants with a controlling third party.

2 – Job Check

After accreditation, the employer must apply for a ‘job check’ with INZ for each job they want to offer to a migrant. The most important condition during the job check is that the employer has advertised the position and has genuinely considered all New Zealanders or residents that have applied.

There are two exceptions to the condition that a job must have been advertised before it can be offered to a migrant:

  • Jobs with a salary higher than twice the median wage. That’s an annual salary of approximately NZ$115,000.
  • Jobs that are on the so-called ‘green list’.

It has also been announced that a relatively easy path to a Resident Visa will be created for these two groups of applicants. These migrants can apply for a Resident Visa after having worked in New Zealand on an AEWV temporary work visa for two years.

3 – Applicant Check

The actual visa application only takes place in the third step of the procedure. The employer must have successfully completed the first two steps of the procedure before migrants can submit their visa application.

Applicants will be asked about their education, work experience and ‘Health and Character’ information such as a Police Certificate or Medical. In addition, information about their partner and/or children must be included.

Other visa conditions

  • A visa in the AEWV category is generally issued for 3 years. Applicants can apply for an extension if they still meet the requirements of the visa category after this period.
  • An AEWV work visa will be issued for 1 year if the job pays less than median wage. These applicants can only extend their visa for another year before they are required to leave New Zealand. Only after a ‘stand-down period’ of 1 year can they apply for another AEWV work visa, unless the salary has been increased to median wage or above.
  • A temporary work visa is linked to the employer and the job as described in the ‘job check’. The applicant must apply for a new visa if this changes.
  • Partners can apply for a partnership-based work visa at the same time as the primary applicant’s visa application. This will change after december 2022: partners of AEWV temporary visa holders will lose their ability to apply for an open work visa.
  • Dependent children are eligible for a study visa so that they can attend school.