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Contributed by:
Arunima Dhingra – Director & Licensed Immigration Adviser at Aims Global and Chair of NZAMI

Immigration in New Zealand has recently undergone significant changes, some of which are likely to have lasting impacts. Read on for the most important updates your business needs to know, including changes to the Accredited Employer Work Visa scheme and re-accreditation.


1. AEWV policy updates

The government announced major changes to the AEWV scheme on 7 April 2024. Here is an overview:

Ensuring a worker meets the skill requirements
Before employers ask a migrant candidate to apply for an AEWV, they must check that the migrant meets the two requirements outlined below. INZ expects the employer to maintain accurate records and will hold them responsible for this, regardless of whether they do this directly or through a third party, such as a recruiter. Failure to comply can lead to the suspension of the employer’s accreditation.

These 2 requirements are:

  • Meeting the AEWV skill requirements set by Immigration NZ (INZ), i.e., minimum of 3 years’ relevant work experience or a relevant qualification at level 4 or above of the New Zealand Qualifications and Credentials Framework (NZQCF), and
  • Having the skills and experience specified in the Job Check

All qualifications below a bachelor’s degree must be relevant and be accompanied by an International Qualification Assessment (IQA). Those degrees at or above Bachelor’s are relevant for any job.

These requirements are not applicable to roles that meet the Green List requirements or are paid at least twice median wage.

ANZSCO assessment becomes the norm
While this was always a field in the Job Check form, INZ did not previously assess against an ANZSCO code. Since the new policies are significantly indexed to ANZSCO skill levels, this assessment is expected to deepen, and ANZSCO will now be an integral part of AEWV applications. Read more here.

Extra Job Check rules for ANZSCO Level 4 and 5 jobs
Employers who want to fill jobs at ANZSCO level 4 and 5 now need to:

  • Advertise for 21 days, rather than 14, and
  • Engage with Work and Income, and
  • Declare in the Job Check why any New Zealanders who applied were not hired

Suitable and available New Zealanders
There is now a definition of ‘suitable and available New Zealanders’. Employers will be required to declare that nobody who applied for the job met this definition. If an employer indicates that there were suitable New Zealanders available, the Job Check will be declined.

New process for informing INZ when a migrant leaves their job
If a worker on an AEWV leaves employment a month or more before their visa expires, employers must inform INZ within 10 working days. Failure to do this can impact accreditation. This change will apply to any employer that is accredited or re-accredited from now on.

Minimum English requirement for AEWV
Workers applying for ANZSCO skill level 4 or 5 roles must now meet English language requirements to get an AEWV. This can be met through their citizenship, where they were working and studying, or through English testing.

Work to Residence changes for Bus and Truck Drivers
Any bus and truck drivers who apply for their AEWV from 7 April 2024 onwards won’t be able to apply for a Transport Sector Work to Residence visa. However, there is an exception. Those who were already on the Transport residence pathway (on any work visa) prior to 7 April and are working towards completing their 2-year work experience requirement will retain the ability to apply for residence under this pathway.

Our e-book – ‘A Guide to Accredited Employer Work Visa System’ is a handy resource for businesses, recruiters and HR managers to understand the immigration framework and learn how to successfully hire and retain migrant talent. Access your copy here.


2. Re-accreditation requirements

With Employer Accreditations starting to expire from July 2024, INZ is now processing re-accreditation applications. For initial accreditations, INZ’s approach was minimal to low touch, as businesses had simply promised to meet their obligations once approved as Accredited Employers. However, with the re-accreditation applications, INZ now expects upfront evidence that your business has met the obligations it promised to fulfil.

These include proof of completing Employment NZ’s employer and employee modules, of providing AEWV employees with settlement support information, and of the genuineness and viability of your business. You can find a detailed guide on what your business should know before applying for re-accreditation here.


3. Prioritising of Green List roles

Effective 14 May, INZ has started giving priority to the allocation of Job Checks and AEWV applications for roles on the Green List. The objective behind this is to expedite the process of filling skill shortages in the country’s labour market.

Processing timeframes for non-Green List AEWV applications will not be impacted. However, it is recommended that employers and candidates keep allowing a minimum of 6 weeks per AEWV application stage.


4. Franchisee accreditation category to be discontinued

The franchisee accreditation category will be removed on 16 June 2024.

After this date, franchisee employers can apply for either standard, high-volume or triangular employment, based on their circumstances. This change will not impact the accreditation of current franchisee employers.


5. Reduced advertising requirements for dairy cattle farm roles

The Government has made a temporary change to reduce the Job Check advertising requirement for ANZSCO level 5 dairy cattle farm roles. Employers only need to advertise these roles for 14 days nationally and with Work and Income, instead of 21 days.

To utilise this reduced advertising timeframe, employers must submit Job Check applications before 14 July 2024.


6. Updates to Green List

6 new roles were added to the Green List on 8 April 2024. These are:

  • Aviation Engineer (Avionics, Aeronautical, Aerospace Engineer)
  • Naval Architect (aka Marine Designer)
  • ICT Database and Systems Administrator
  • Mechanical Engineering Technician
  • Aircraft Maintenance Engineer
  • Corrections Officer

Secondary School Teachers were added to the Green List on 1 May 2024. They now have a Straight to Residence pathway.

If you’re wondering how these changes affect your business, me and my team can expertly guide you through understanding the implications and offer solutions tailored to your specific needs. Reach out to us here.

Arunima Dhingra is an established immigration adviser in New Zealand. As the Founder and Director of Aims Global (, she has been providing immigration advice and support to businesses and migrants for over 19 years. She is also the Chair for NZ Association of Migration and Investment (NZAMI), NZ’s longest standing professional body for the immigration industry. She is the founder of GratitudeNZ, a charity aimed at empowering the next generation and breaking the cycle of child poverty in NZ.


Upcoming Webinars & Events

Aims Global runs regular webinars for employers, HR professionals, and recruiters throughout the year where we simplify immigration policies, relay key updates and provide handy tips to help better navigate the world of immigration. Register here for our upcoming webinar or the entire series and stay up-to-date with immigration policies.

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