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The Transition of New Zealand’s Immigration System

By 26 October 2021No Comments

Resumption of new Employer Accreditation and Work Visa framework

The Government has set a new date for the introduction of the New Zealand Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) and associated framework. The intention is for the new framework and associated requirements to be effective from 4 July 2022.

Applications for accreditation under the new framework will open on 9 May 2022 and, under the new framework, employers will need to be accredited in order to support migrants to obtain employer supported work visas.
The intention of the new framework remains to encourage businesses and regions to train, upskill and hire New Zealand workers while continuing to support the use of migrant workers where a genuine skill or labour shortage exists.

Key dates

  • 31 October 2021: Closure of Talent (Accredited Employers), Long Term Skill Shortage List and Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa categories to new applications
  • 9 May 2022: Applications open for Employer Accreditation under new framework as well as submission of Job Checks
  • 3 July 2022: Applications close for Essential Skills Work Visas under current system
  • 4 July 2022: Applications open for Accredited Employer Work Visas and full launch of new framework

Employers can continue to employ new onshore temporary migrant workers on an Essential Skills Work Visa, without employer accreditation, until 3 July 2022 and the launch of the new Accredited Employer Work Visa.

Closure of three existing visa categories
The Talent (Accredited Employers) Work Visa and the Long-Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa categories will close to new applications on 31 October 2021 in preparation for the new immigration framework. The Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa category will also close on the same day.

Existing Work to Residence visa holders are able to continue on their pathway to residence.
Applications for the Silver Fern Practical Experience work visa will not be accepted after 31 October 2021.

Applications submitted by 31 October 2021
People who have made an application for a Talent (Accredited Employers) work visa or Long-Term Skill Shortage List work visa on or before 31 October will have their application processed and, if approved, will also maintain a pathway to residence.
To ensure that visa holders and applicants are not disadvantaged by the diminishing number of employers who hold accreditation status, Talent (Accredited Employers) work visas may be granted if an employer’s accreditation has expired between the time the visa application was made and it being decided.

The closure to new applications is effective 1 November 2021. However, all other transitional instructions are effective now and can be applied to applications that have already been submitted to Immigration New Zealand but have not yet been decided.

First time applications for the Talent (Accredited Employers) work visa and Long-Term Skill Shortage List work visa will not be accepted after 31 October 2021.

Changing employers
Greater flexibility has also been introduced for existing Talent (Accredited Employers) work visa holders.

The conditions of a Talent (Accredited Employers) work visa may now be varied to allow work for an employer who held accreditation status after 31 March 2021, even if the accreditation has since expired.

Submitting a Residence from Work application
Changes have been made to ensure that the residence pathway for Talent (Accredited Employers) work visa holders is maintained.

Talent (Accredited Employers) work visa holders can apply for Residence under the Residence from Work instructions beyond 31 October 2021 on the basis that they:

  • Hold a valid Talent (Accredited Employers) work visa; and
  • Have held a valid Talent (Accredited Employers) work visa for at least 24 months; and

One of the following:

  • Have been employed by an Accredited Employer for a period of at least 24 months; or
  • Have been employed by an employer that is no longer Accredited but who held Accreditation at the time the Talent (Accredited Employers) work visa was granted and the terms of employment continue to meet all other requirements.

Awaiting a Residence from Work application decision
Migrants who have a current Talent (Accredited Employers) or Long-Term Skill Shortage List work visa will not be affected by the closure of these categories as long as they continue to meet their visa conditions and their visa remains valid.

Work to Residence visa holders who have applied for a Residence from Work visa may apply for a subsequent Work to Residence visa after 31 October 2021, if they meet the requirements under the relevant visa category and their application for residence under the corresponding Residence from Work instructions has not yet been decided by Immigration New Zealand.

Offshore Work to Residence Visa holders
Applications for subsequent Talent (Accredited Employers) or Long-Term Skill Shortage List work visas will remain open for people who had begun employment in New Zealand on one of these visas but departed New Zealand before 19 March 2020, when the borders were closed, and who return to New Zealand after 31 October 2021.

If you have any questions on the updates provided, please do not hesitate to contact us.

DISCLAIMER This information is current as of date of publication and subject to change. The information contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It should not be used as legal advice. To the extent permissible by law, Ajuria Lawyers and its associated entities shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, defects or misrepresentations in the information or for any loss or damage suffered by persons who use or rely on such information. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Have more specific questions about your visa? Get in touch with Ajuria Lawyers today.

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Author Aidan Kinsella

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