New Measures Enhance Immigration Law Enforcement

Starting April 11, 2024, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will be empowered to issue employer infringement notices. This move aims to tackle lower-tier immigration non-compliance and deter the exploitation of migrant workers, thereby fostering a more equitable and mutually beneficial employment environment.

The penalties for non-compliance are not to be taken lightly. They can include a minimum fine of $1,000, the revocation of accredited employer or Recognised Seasonal Employer status, and a ban (stand-down) on supporting further visas for migrant workers. The duration of the prohibition is directly proportional to the number of infringement notices an employer accumulates. In more severe cases, criminal charges may be filed.

Employers are barred from regaining accreditation or sponsoring visa applications during a stand-down period. Stand-down durations are structured as follows:

  • A six-month stand-down for a single infringement notice
  • An additional six-month stand-down for each subsequent notice
  • A maximum 12-month stand-down for multiple simultaneous notices

During the stand-down period, employers can still hire migrants on open work visas. However, they may wish to regain their accreditation. In that case, they must demonstrate remedial action and implement preventive measures to avoid a recurrence of the violation. This process is part of the reinstatement requirements for the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV). It provides a clear path for employers to rectify their non-compliance.

Stephanie Greathead, National Manager of Immigration Compliance, notes that most employers adhere to regulations, fostering a mutually beneficial employment environment for employers and migrant workers. Nonetheless, a minority of employers flout the rules.

Greathead underscores the significance of new measures, emphasising that while criminal prosecution remains an option, the ability to levy infringement penalties allows for swift action against non-compliant employers.

Moreover, INZ will publicly disclose a stand-down list on its website, enhancing transparency and accountability.

Infringements may be issued for various violations, including employing individuals in contravention of visa conditions, employing individuals unlawfully in New Zealand, or failing to comply with a 10-day information request.

Greathead asserts that the immediate consequences attached to non-compliance ensure a proactive approach to preventing future exploitation of migrant workers. These measures fortify enforcement mechanisms for employment and immigration standards, promoting equity among employers in New Zealand.


About ICL Immigration

ICL Immigration, based in Auckland, is an established licensed immigration adviser with over 20 years of experience and a remarkable 97% approval rate. We’ve helped over 1,000 immigrants realise their New Zealand settlement dreams.

We specialise in a broad spectrum of visa services, including work, residency, student visas, and business-related services like employer accreditation, ensuring personalised solutions for individuals and businesses aiming to navigate New Zealand’s immigration landscape successfully.

Do You Have Any Question?