Calling All Businesses Seeking Talent: The New AEWV Accreditation Scheme

The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) is a positive move for New Zealand’s employment sector and economy overall. To put it simply: Employers can become accredited to hire migrants under the new regime for up to three years, improving opportunity for both business efficacy and migrants seeking employment. However, the new regime does not come without its complexities. Employers are required to comply with a strict process to become accredited. This three-step process is carried out by Immigration New Zealand and is designed to check that you comply with all the necessary steps to offer employment to migrants under the scheme. These three steps are as follows:


  1. What is an “accredited” employer, and how can you become one?

The accreditation screening process is designed to ensure that you are a suitable employer for migrants. The criteria depends on your individual business model and revolves around the central pillars of viability and genuine business practice. There are also stringent financial requirements, such as:

  • Your business not having made a loss over the last two years;
  • Your business having a positive cash flow each month for the last six months; and
  • Your business having a credible two-year plan to protect your business’ viability.

The application is processed through RealMe® and Immigration Online and is one of the most important steps in your journey to employing migrant workers.


  1. You must pass the Immigration “Job Check” and meet the “pay threshold” of your industry

Accredited employers must offer the New Zealand median wage of $27.00 per hour to migrant employees. This is referred to as the “pay threshold”. That said, some jobs are exempt from the pay threshold, and can be advertised with an hourly rate that falls below the median wage. One example includes some jobs in construction and infrastructure, which only require employers to pay $25.00 per hour. Others include:

  • Fitters;
  • Fitter-welders;
  • Metal fabricators;
  • Welders;
  • Solid plasterers; and
  • Painters.

There is an extensive guide which explores the pay thresholds of these industries, and therefore it is important to gain an understanding of which pay threshold may apply to you in your specific area of work.


  1. Show that you attempted to employ a New Zealand citizen to do the job but were unsuccessful.

Before you undertake to hire a migrant employee, you need to have advertised the job within New Zealand and have failed to find an employee from within New Zealand.

Do not be fooled. A simple advert on TradeMe won’t suffice. To comply with this aspect of the process, you must follow the list of mandatory requirements, such as:

  • The advertisement must have run on a job listing website for a minimum of fourteen calendar days; and
  • The minimum and maximum salary for the job must be included in the advert; and
  • The skills and qualifications required to be a successful candidate must be clear.


But these specifics are only the tip of the iceberg. There is a plethora of other niche details you must be sure to comply with, should you wish to pass your job check and become accredited under the scheme.

Once you have successfully completed all of these, you will be eligible to offer employment to a migrant, who then accepts this employment through New Zealand Immigration.

Becoming an accredited Employer is a complicated process, but one that opens the doors to thriving business growth. Engaging overseas employees is a fantastic opportunity to improve business’ productivity and deal with domestic shortages of workers in a range of sectors. Should you wish to explore your options to become a potential Accredited Employer, we recommended coming in to speak to one of our employment team to investigate how you can operate under the new scheme.

Our experts in this area are:

Edward Bostock (Director) – [email protected]

Christine Symes (Director) – [email protected]

Tayla Westman (Solicitor) – [email protected]