New Zealand border reopens this year – how will that affect recruitment?

Airport international arrival sign

As many employers are aware, visa applications for skilled migrants all but stopped being processed during Covid. 

This has created a massive strain for many businesses, but there is good news. The New Zealand borders are reopening and a new visa is coming, the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) aimed at streamlining and simplifying the visa application process. 

In the past, we have helped many companies bring in migrants to fill roles in New Zealand. We scour the globe to find exceptional people and we have a full book of talent waiting for you once the New Zealand border reopens.

This post is designed to give an overview of the new visa application process and we will provide more information in the coming weeks to help you navigate the application process – stay tuned! 

What visas does the AEWV replace?

The Essential Skills Work Visa, Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa, Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa, Silver Fern Job Search Visa and Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa will be replaced and all applications for these will close on 3 July 2022, replaced by the AEWV from 4 July 2022. 

What is the AEWV application process?

There are three steps to hiring a migrant on the AEWV; accreditation, job check, and AEWV application. Applications for accreditation open on 23rd May 2022, with the job checks open on 20th June 2022. As this is a new type of accreditation, all businesses that are looking to employ migrants must apply, even if they are currently accredited. 


To apply for accreditation, all employers must meet minimum accreditation requirements and these vary depending on your business model and the number of migrants you wish to employ. 

Employers must also complete online learning modules through Employment New Zealand. There is a fee for accreditation, standard accreditation (up to 5 migrants at any one time) is $740, and high-volume, 6 or more migrants at any one time, is $1220. There are different fees for other arrangements, or to upgrade from standard to high-volume. 

Job Check

Once a business gains accreditation, it will need to apply for a job check for each role it wishes to fill with a migrant worker. If you wish to hire multiple workers in the same job this can be done in one job check, provided the jobs are all the same and are covered by the same advertisement and employment agreement. There is a fee of $640 per job check and each job check is valid for six months.

Visa application

Once the job check is completed the migrant worker can apply for a visa through Immigration New Zealand, where they will need to show they have the skills and experience for the job.

Once all of these processes are completed the migrant can immigrate once the New Zealand border reopens.

A pathway to residence will be introduced in the future for migrants who have held an AEWV for two years and are paid at least 200% of the median wage.

What is the time frame for application?

Immigration New Zealand has estimated the time frames for the visa application as follows:

Accreditation: 10 working days

Job check: 10 working days

Accredited Employer Work Visa: 20 working days.

When will the New Zealand border reopen?

‘Normal business’ will resume in October, subject to confirmation, for all other work visa applicants.

Employers who want to bring migrants into the country before the New Zealand border reopens in October 2022 must first apply for a border exemption on behalf of the critical worker (and meet the criteria), followed by a visa application for the candidate if the border request is successful.

Critical workers who earn twice the median salary, and arrive in NZ before 31 July 2022, are eligible to apply for the one-off 2021 Residence Visa, provided they are onshore when they apply, and submit their application no later than 31 July 2022

Are there any further requirements?

Once the New Zealand border reopens and the migrant starts work in New Zealand, their employer must provide them with paid hours to complete all the latest employee modules on employment through Employment New Zealand within one month of starting. 

Where can I find help with the process?

We have many years of experience bringing in migrants to fill roles in New Zealand. We have our own personal immigration consultant and a dedicated team of professionals scouring the globe to find the best international candidates. 

Get ahead of the inevitable rush once the New Zealand borders reopen and get a jump on accreditation. We can partner with you in the visa process, providing assistance and guidance, as well as taking care of the paperwork with the job checks, including the proof that the role has been advertised and not filled. We also provide resources to assist migrants to settle in New Zealand.

Contact us today and work alongside us to gain your accreditation.

40 Foot have got you covered!

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