NZ Work Visas for overseas workers



NZ Employer Accreditation

why accreditation



Updated 22 March 2021

Employer Accreditation applications under the new accreditation requirements 2022 will open on 23 May 2022.

The cost for this (as at 22 March 2022) will be:

  • Standard Accreditation (up to 5 migrants) $740;
  • Higher Volume Accreditation (6+ migrants) $1220.

Applications for the new AEWV (accredited employer work visa) will open on 4 July 2022.

Applications for Essential Skills Work Visas will close on 3 July 2022 & these visa types will not be continued.


Update dated 16 July 2021, the deadline for Employer Accreditation is now set for mid year 2022. Firm date will be confirmed soon.

Employer Accreditation becomes mandatory from the 1st of  November 2021. All employers wishing to support a work visa application will need to be accredited to apply for work visas.

Current Skilled Worker Visa Types

Immigration NZ employer accreditation

Accredited Employer Work Visa [AEWV]

Applications for the new AEWV will open on 4 July 2022. This visa type will require 2022 accreditation and will replace six visa types at that time. Initially, employers will be required to undergo essential accreditation checks for accreditation, which are expected to change and evolve later in 2022. 

Immigration NZ employer accreditation

Workers Paid Less Than Median Wage

Workers paid less than the median wage in NZ will be able to apply for 1 year visas only, with a number of reapplications – being a maximum of 36 months stay in New Zealand before they will be required to leave the country for 12 months.

essential skill worker work visas nz

Workers Paid more Than Median Wage

Workers paid more than the median wage in NZ will be able to apply for 3 year visas, which can be reapplied for.

Work to residence visas

Highly skilled workers can be offered Work to Resident Visas in some situations where employers qualify.

Application For Accreditation

What is Involved?

Immigration NZ employer accreditation

hr process evaluation

The first step in the accreditation process is to evaluate current HR processes. VisaAide works closely with the team at ConsultingHQ – HR Consultants who are able to take care of this process for you and who have plenty of experience in HR for Accreditation.

essential skill worker work visas nz

HR Roadmap planning

The team at ConsultingHQ will also ensure you understand the roadmap for managing a business with a view to reapplying and re-achieveing Accreditation every two years. It is a condition that Accredited Employers maintain a high standard of excellence in the area of HR Management.

visa processing

Once accredited, VisaAide’s team of New Zealand Licensed Immigration Advisers can manage your work visa requirements on your behalf, ensuring you navigate the sometimes fluid system without delays due to lack of compliance with changing requirements.

Your VisaAide Employer Accreditation Team


Cameron Gray

New Zealand Licensed Immigration Adviser & Australian Registered Migration Agent

NZ LIA 201301155

MARN 1791879




Sadhana Imran

New Zealand Licensed Immigration Adviser

NZ LIA 201700390



Deborah Reid

New Zealand Licensed Immigration Adviser

NZ LIA 201800808




Lesley Burke

VisaAide Office Manager


ConsultingHQ Team to Manage HR Accreditation Processes

Employer Accreditation Advice

Tanya Gray

Employer Accreditation Expert and HR Consultant.


HR Advice for employer accreditation

Vanessa Jenner

Employer Accreditation Advisor, Senior HR Consultant.


HR Advisor on Employer Accreditation

Pat Patterson

HR Advisor & Accreditation Process Expert



Cathy Cooper

HR Administration for Employer Accreditation Processes



Updated June 2021.


Why does my business need to be Immigration NZ Accreditated?

Immigration is bringing in a new accreditation and single work visa on 1 November 2021 with applications for new and renewing applications in the current Accredited Employer (Talent – Accredited Employer) policy ending on 30 June 2021.  The new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) application process is a 3-check process, led by employers.

It means that before hiring a migrant on the AEWV employers will need to:

  1. Apply for accreditation under the new system
  2. Apply for a job check to make sure the role they want to fill cannot be done by New Zealanders
  3. Request a migrant worker to apply for a visa

The migrant will need to meet the skills and experience stipulated as part of the job check.

So, if your business needs skilled migrants, you must become accredited under the new system.

Employers that do not become accredited will not be able to even start the process to employ essential skill workers on working visas.


Are there different levels of accreditation for small and large employers?

The new accreditation levels are:

  • Standard accreditation — for employers who want to have up to 5 migrant workers on Accredited Employer Work Visas at any one time
  • High-volume accreditation — for employers who want to have 6 or more migrant workers on Accredited Employer Work Visas at any one time.

Migrants on other types of visas (e.g. working holiday visas) are not included in the total numbers above.

Labour-hire companies, and companies that want to place migrants on Accredited Employer Work Visas with third parties are required to meet further criteria for accreditation.  

How long will the accreditation approval last?

Accreditation approvals last for 12 months.  However, at renewal, franchisees and employers that want to place migrants on Accredited Employer Work Visas with third parties (including labour hire companies) will be granted accreditation for a further 12 months, and all other employers will be granted accreditation for 24 months. 

What evidence does my business need to provide in its application?

To employ migrants on Accredited Employer Work Visas, employers must meet the standard accreditation requirements.

These requirements are intended to ensure all employers hiring migrants meet the minimum requirements to support and settle migrants and comply with employment and immigration laws.


Criteria for standard accreditation

1. Must be a genuinely operating business

The employer must be registered as an employer with IRD and hold a New Zealand Business Number (NZBN).

Some employers may need to provide evidence showing they are in a sound financial position.

This means the business must prove it has one or more of the following:

  • be profitable (before depreciation and tax).
  • have positive cash flow.
  • have sufficient capital or external investment or funding, for example from a founder or parent company.
  • a plan to ensure the business remains viable and ongoing.

If the employer is a partnership or sole trader, the business owners must not be bankrupt or subject to a No Asset Procedure (automated checks with Insolvency Register).

2. Must not have a recent history of regulatory non-compliance 

Immigration NZ will check:

  • the employer and key office holders are not on the Labour Inspectorate stand down list;the employer and key office holders are compliant with immigration law and requirements, and are not subject to a permanent ban following conviction for immigration related offences
  • key office holders are not prohibited from acting as a director or have a pattern of immigration offences in other businesses they have been involved in; and the employer is not a phoenix company — a business re-established under a new legal entity and NZBN, that is essentially the same as another business that does not meet the accreditation requirements, set up to avoid accreditation being declined.

3. Must take steps to minimise the risk of exploitation

This includes:

  • allowing migrant workers time to complete online employment rights modules during paid work hours
  • paying all recruitment costs in New Zealand and outside New Zealand, including advertising, agency fees, employer and job check applications, training and induction, health and safety equipment, and branded uniforms. This does not include migrant worker airfares (although this may be a requirement by the authorities in some countries).

Employers must ensure that everyone who makes recruitment decisions completes online employment modules. Employers should keep records to show they have met the requirements.

Employers must also provide migrant workers with:

  • work-related settlement information like how to get an IRD number
  • relevant industry training and qualification information and options, and specific job or industry hazards
  • local community and services information including accommodation options, transport, cost of living, how to access healthcare services, Citizens Advice Bureau services and relevant community groups, like religious or migrant groups

Employers must not charge fees outside of New Zealand which would be unlawful if charged in New Zealand, including:

  • payment to secure a job
  • bonding agreements for an unlawful purpose
  • deductions not agreed in writing

Criteria for high volume accreditation

In addition to meeting the standard accreditation requirements outlined above, employers hiring 6 or more migrants on Accredited Employer Work Visas at any one time will also need to show a commitment to improving pay and conditions for all employees over time.

To meet this commitment, employers will need to ensure all jobs submitted at the Job Check either meet a minimum pay requirement of 10 percent above the minimum wage or are covered by a collective agreement.

If a high-volume employer submits a Job Check for a job paying less than 10 percent above the minimum wage, and is not covered by a collective agreement, the Job Check will be declined.

The Government has previously signalled there would be a requirement to make a commitment to training and upskilling New Zealanders.

The detail of this requirement is being considered for addition to the standards at a later date.

NB: The above information has been summarised from Immigration New Zealand’s website.  Full information can be found on Immigration New Zealand’s website

What is the time frame involved for Employer Accreditation?

INZ will accept applications for accreditation under the new policy from late September 2021, ahead of the 1 November 2021 introduction date.

Employers accredited under the current system will also need to apply and meet the policy requirements of the new accreditation system.

However, employers of current Talent and Essential Skill visa holders do not need to be accredited in the new system until they need access to migrant labour on the new Accredited Employer Work Visa.

The timeframe for the preparation of your application depends on the documentation and evidence that you have, to meet the criteria.

Evidence that you have conducted appropriate labour market advertising for NZ citizens or residents to fill the role(s) that you want an immigrant worker for, as well as details of what you are doing to train and develop NZ citizens or residents.

Prior to, and when the new employer accreditation policy commences on 1 November 2021, you could expect to see processing times increase due to the sheer number of applications.

Therefore, we recommend that employers who want to start hiring migrants on Accredited Employer Work Visas soon after 1 November 2021 should consider getting the process underway as soon as possible.