NEW ZEALAND – Changes Introduced to Accredited Employer Work Visa

April 16, 2024

This article was originally published on April 16, 2024. It was updated on May 9, 2024 with FAQs.

By: Patricia Clarino

The following changes have been introduced by Immigration New Zealand with effect from April 7, 2024, specifically for positions categorized at Skill Levels 4 and 5. The authorities will now rely more on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) for skill level determination, with stricter criteria introduced for roles at these levels.

English test requirement

English language testing is now required for applicants to positions in Skill Levels 4-5. This new English test requirement can be fulfilled through various means, including citizenship, qualifications obtained, or specific English language tests.

Minimum skill threshold

There is also a minimum skill threshold that has been established for all applicants, requiring either three years of relevant work experience or a qualification at Level 4 or higher, with New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) assessment required for qualifications between Levels 4 and 6. The NZQA assessment and the degree relevance to job offer will not apply for degree level qualifications.

Shortened visa validity

AEWVs for Skill Levels 4 and 5 roles will now be valid for three years, extendable by one year, after which applicants must leave New Zealand for 12 months or apply for a higher skill level AEWV.

Labor market testing

Advertising for Skill Levels 4 and 5 is now required to be posted for 21 days instead of the previous 14 days. Employers aiming to recruit for Skill Levels 4 and 5 roles must coordinate with Work and Income (New Zealand’s social welfare and employment agency) for labor market assessments. Employers are obligated to verify applicants’ qualifications, report AEWV holder departures to Immigration New Zealand within 10 days, and bolster evidence of labor market shortages for lower-skill level roles. 

Newland Chase Insights

The introduction of new requirements for lower-skill level positions signals the reduction of the reliance on overseas workers for addressing the gap in the labor market. Employers are urged to collaborate closely with the authorities to enhance their recruitment strategies.

The announced updates are complex and fact-dependent. We recommend seeking specific advice in relation to these changes, particularly if you employ AEWV holders in ANZSCO Level 4 or 5 positions.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Newland Chase dedicated contact or submit an inquiry here should you have any specific questions regarding this announcement.

This immigration update is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal or scenario-specific advice. Furthermore, it is important to note that immigration announcements are subject to sudden and unexpected changes. Readers are encouraged to reach out to Newland Chase for any case- or company-specific assessments.