The New Zealand border has reopened – immigration update

open for immigration

In April, we wrote a blog about the new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV), in anticipation of the border reopening. We shared how to apply and what it means for employers. Two months after its implementation the border has reopened and it’s time for an update.

How do you apply for a working visa in New Zealand?

This new visa system has replaced six other work visas within New Zealand. It is a three-part process, Accreditation, Job Check and Migrant Visa Application.

Any employer wishing to employ migrants must apply for and be granted accreditation.

Job Check
Once a business gains accreditation, it completes a job check for each role it wishes to fill with a migrant worker.

Visa application
Once the job check is approved, a migrant worker can be recruited and must apply for a visa.

How many businesses have become accredited?

On the 4th of July, the AEWV came into place, and employer applications for accreditation flooded in.
As of the 10th of August, 8,723 applications for employer accreditations were made, with 7,883 being approved. These numbers are consistent with what we are finding; Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has approved most employer accreditation applications within 20 working days.

How complex is the job check process?

We have found that the second part of the process, the job check applications, is not running smoothly, with three out of five applications not being approved.

The main area where we have seen applications falling over is their employment agreements. Numerous businesses have found that their perfectly reasonable and legal employment agreements are not compliant with immigration requirements. Advertisement requirements are also catching employers out, with minor omissions causing applications to fall short.

One of the common frustrations we hear is people being unable to find a definitive list of everything they need to do or achieve to complete the process.

This is not surprising when you consider that visa processing all but stopped for two years during COVID.

Now there is an entirely new visa in place, with a fresh and relatively untrained workforce processing applications, add to this average waiting time of over 45 minutes to get through to anyone in INZ on the phone and it is a recipe for delays and frustration.

INZ has undergone an internal review of the new work visa system, intending to simplify and streamline the process in response to issues identified since the border reopened.

“The AEWV policy is an employer-led work visa approach, which is new to employers and requires different behaviours,” said INZ general manager of border and visa operations Nicola Hogg. “Not only are employers learning how to navigate the new technology and AEWV policy, but our staff are also learning how to process this new visa category while helping to educate employers on what is needed.

How many AEWVs have been issued?

As of the 10th of August, of 4,312 job check applications, 1,687 applications have been finalised. Out of those, 675 migrants have applied for a visa, and 3% have one. This means roughly 20 AEWVs have been issued in the first six weeks of the border reopening.

What do we recommend?

If you want to employ a migrant worker, get professional assistance. The landscape of the application process is shifting and evolving as new requirements come to light.

Immigration advisors are professionals who deal with and talk to INZ and other professionals in their field daily. It is their job to stay on top of the latest developments and use their knowledge to get you the best outcome.

Please don’t wait until the last minute; get in touch with us today so we can help you with your recruitment and immigration needs.

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