Significant Changes to NZ Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV)

Effective April 7, 2024, New Zealand’s government has instituted comprehensive reforms to the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) program. These modifications are poised to impact current visa holders and prospective applicants significantly.

Critical Changes for Existing AEWV Holders:

Visa Duration and Renewal Adjustments:

  • Impact on Current Holders: Those who applied for their AEWV before June 21, 2023, and are in ANZSCO level 4 and 5 jobs will see a change in their potential stay duration. Previously eligible for up to five years, they now face restrictions.
  • Exemptions: Individuals in similar roles on a pathway to residence are not subject to these new restrictions, maintaining their eligibility for extended durations under the AEWV.
  • Renewal Criteria: For renewals post-April 7, 2024, applicants must meet revised criteria, which may affect their ability to secure a visa for the maximum duration previously available.

Revised Criteria for New AEWV Applications:

The government has raised the bar for eligibility under the AEWV, introducing more stringent requirements to ensure migrants possess the necessary skills and qualifications.

  • Enhanced Work Experience and Qualification Requirements:
    • Applicants must now demonstrate at least three years of relevant work experience or qualify for level 4 or higher on the NZQCF.
    • Applicants must now demonstrate at least three years of relevant work experience or qualify for level 4 or higher on the NZQCF.
  • English Language Proficiency:
    • Jobs classified at ANZSCO levels 4 and 5 now require proof of English language proficiency, ensuring that migrants can effectively communicate in their roles.
    • This requirement is waived for current applications and dependents of AEWV applicants.
  • Adjusted Visa Length for Specific Jobs:
    • The maximum visa term is two years, with a potential one-year extension after a new Job Check.
    • The new limit on an AEWV is a cumulative three-year stay, after which applicants must spend 12 months outside New Zealand before reapplying.

Implications for Employers:

Employers looking to hire under the AEWV program must navigate the enhanced criteria, ensuring compliance and fulfilling labour market needs.

  • Employment Verification and Hours:
    • Employers are required to thoroughly verify an applicant’s skills and qualifications beyond the basic requirements for the job.
    • A new stipulation mandates a minimum of 30 work hours per week for migrants, with accreditation at risk for non-compliance.
  • Job Check and ANZSCO Levels:
    • The process now includes using ANZSCO skill levels to assess applications, demanding a more detailed examination of an applicant’s qualifications.
    • Employers must prove the absence of suitable New Zealand candidates before proceeding with a Job Check application.

Navigating the Changes:

These changes represent a significant shift in New Zealand’s approach to skilled migration, aiming to refine the quality and integration of overseas workers into the national workforce.

  • For Potential Applicants: It’s crucial to understand the new eligibility criteria, especially regarding work experience, qualifications, and language proficiency. Prospective migrants should ensure they meet the revised requirements before applying.
  • For Employers: Employers are responsible for diligently verifying potential hires’ credentials and skills. Adhering to the new employment conditions, including the minimum hours of work, is essential for maintaining accreditation status.


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 student, residency, and work visas, and business-related services like employer accreditation. We ensure personalised solutions for individuals and businesses aiming to navigate New Zealand’s immigration landscape successfully.

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