SOUTHERN MAN IMMIGRATION BLOG

Accredited Employer Work Visas

April 29, 2022
Iain MacLeod

In four weeks time any employer that wishes to employ migrants will be required to become accredited.

Perhaps confusingly, from 23 May ‘accreditation’ has a different consequence and process to what it has had historically. You might think the bureaucrats could have come up with a new name to lessen the confusion.

Obtaining accreditation historically for employers was a fairly onerous affair and they had to present lots of information about their business, financials, business processes and practices.

With a little under one month before this new policy goes live we are still waiting on government to release the actual rules about what precisely employers will have to provide.

Here’s what we know

• There will be an online application form – presumably requiring companies to provide answers about the legal structure, history, numbers of staff, profitability of the business and to make various declarations about being good employers with no history of non compliance with labour and immigration law.

• No supporting evidence will be provided to the government at the time the accreditation application is submitted.

• The government will want satisfaction that the business is viable, has a history of compliance with employment and immigration law and that the key people in the organisation are a good character and standing.

• There will be a fee which will most companies employing five migrants or less will be $740 and for those companies wanting to employ six or more migrants, the fee will be $1220.

• The immigration department says it’ll take two weeks to process the accreditation application.

• Initial accreditation will be valid for one year

Here’s what we don’t know

What will trigger a request for further information?

What sort of information will be required if it is requested in terms of for example the character of the owners?

There are two schools of thought about how this process will play out.

One says that it will be relatively painless and a very short form because the view is government wants to accredit everybody as quickly as possible upfront and weed out the transgressors later. That would appear logical because there may well be tens of thousands of businesses wanting to be accredited at the same time given the acute skills shortages in New Zealand.

The second school is that there will be some form of triaging system whereby some applications receive a very “light touch” which will see them being accredited without any request for any information or proof of the claims. That may well apply to publicly listed companies, medium to large private businesses, schools, hospitals (yes they too have to be accredited even though they are government entities) where size and scale will suggest that the employer is financially viable and likely to be complying with employment and immigration law.

It is possible at the other end of the spectrum that those small employers (and I’m thinking liquor, small retail or convenience stores) and the like may well be flagged and asked to present an awful lot of information if for no other reason than to discourage them from becoming accredited. We already know that Franchisees are in for a grilling. As I suspect are labour hire companies.

I really don’t know which it is going to be but the fact the government is claiming to be able to process an application for accreditation within two weeks suggests it will be quick and relatively painless. Call me a cynic but I have yet to see the (short staffed) immigration department deliver anything in even twice the time they suggest that they can.

We already have a number of employers have approached us to get accreditation and at this point our advice to them is to get the supporting documentation that we believe is likely to be required if called upon so that it is ready. Just in case. This extends to preparing for stage two of the new Employer Accredited Work Visa process which is the “job check”.

Job check

What we know:

You can’t file this until you have your accreditation

What we don’t know:

What evidence will be required

I don’t expect the immigration department to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the evidence they will require to satisfy itself that no New Zealander can fill the vacancy.

This would almost certainly extend to evidence of recent advertising (currently within the past three months) and advocacy as to why they cannot fill the vacancy with someone who is suitably qualified by training and experience and why they cannot train a New Zealander for it. That last part about training has always been in the policy but has for the most part being overlooked in the assessment of work visas. Employers I believe should be prepared to demonstrate that they are making concrete steps to train and potentially have programs in place to do so. Government has made clear they want more pressure brought to bear on employers to up skill and train.

Exceptions will be made I am sure in particular for those who are advertising roles in areas of local or national skill shortage.

I do find it incredible but here we are four weeks out from D-Day and the government still hasn’t released any of this information. I cannot say I am surprised.

Naturally when we hear more we will let you know but if you are an employer who believes they may need to recruit someone from overseas in the next few months we would urge you to get in touch so that you are well prepared and don’t get stuck in the pack.

And if you are coming to NZ to find a job be prepared for work visas to take longer than the current 3-4 weeks to process from once you’ve got the job (if you know what you are doing, far longer if you don’t).

Until next week

Iain MacLeod

Southern Man

Leave a Reply

There are currently no comments. Why don't you kick things off?