The Government has recently changed the law regarding immigrant workers. Any Kiwi business that wishes to hire immigrant workers must be accredited first.

This means Immigration New Zealand needs to approve you before you can employ migrant workers.

This short post will explain how why you need to get accredited, how to go about it, and how long it will take.

Why do companies need to be accredited now?

Employers can apply for accreditation from 23 May 2022 and for a job check from 20 June 2022.

The reasons for these changes are threefold:

  • To reduce the exploitation of temporary foreign workers
  • place emphasis on employing and training more New Zealanders
  • and ensure that temporary foreign workers are only recruited for genuine shortages in New Zealand.

Requirements for accreditation

There are three levels of accreditation.

Standard Accreditation

Standard accreditation for employers who hire 1-5 migrant workers in a year.

Any business wanting to get standard accreditation must not be on a non-compliant stand-down list – that is a list of employers who have broken employment law before.

Any company applying must have practices in place to reduce the exploitation of migrant workers. This includes allowing work visa holders to complete online employment rights modules during work hours; paying all recruitment costs, even those incurred offshore, and have a pastoral care package available to assist settlement.

They must also not be a phoenix company established to avoid accreditation being declined, and be in a financially sustainable position, namely in profit or have positive cash flow.

High-Volume Accreditation

High-volume accreditation for employers who hire 6 or more migrant workers in a year.

As well as meeting the requirements for Standard Accreditation, high-volume employers will need to make and demonstrate commitments to training and upskilling New Zealanders and ensure that all jobs submitted to the job check are paying 10% above minimum wage or a covered by a collective agreement.

Under the new rules, franchises will be subject to additional requirements, including having been operating for at least 12 months with a proven history of hiring local staff.

Labour Hire and those placing employees with third parties

To hire migrants for a third party, the company must ensure that the third party is compliant with all employment laws. This includes ensuring the third party is not on a stand-down list for breach of employment standards and they do not have any past non-compliance issues.

Basically, if there’s anything that would stop the third party from being granted accreditation on their own, then the third party won’t get it either.

Employers must have a history of contracting out labour for the previous 12 months before applying for accreditation status and show that 15% of the workforce placed with third parties are New Zealanders.

How to get accredited

Immigration New Zealand needs to approve you to employ migrant workers. To do this, they will look at four things:

  1. Be in a sound financial position
  2. Have a high standard of human resources policies & processes
  3. Have good workplace practices
  4. Demonstrate a commitment to training and recruiting locals

To prove you are in a sound financial position, you will need to provide thorough business records including annual reports, financial statements and business plans; ideally two years worth.

To show you have a high standard of human resources policies & processes, you will need evidence that you actively comply with current employment standards and have good workplace practices and policies in place, making the work environment safe and free from discrimination.

Good Workplace Practices include a history of compliance with all immigration and employment New Zealand laws.

Laws such as the Immigration Act 2009, the Minimum Wage Act 1983, and the more recent Privacy Act 2020 are all examples of laws that you must have complied with.

For High Volume and Labour Hire accreditation, you will need to show you actively train New Zealand citizens or residence class visa holders when possible, AND that they make up the majority of your workforce.

You must also be able to demonstrate that you have a commitment to recruiting from the local labour market, usually by showing evidence of advertising vacancies in the previous 24 months.

How long will it take to get Employer Accreditation?

This is a “how long is a piece of string” question.

There is no set time for an application to be processed as every application is different.

All you can do as an employer is make sure all your paperwork is in order so that doesn’t hold the process up.

Immigration New Zealand will also have to contact external agencies for verification, which can add to processing times.

The current advice from INZ is to leave 3 months lead time to be safe.

Once you’re accredited, come see us

Both Standard and High-Volume Employer Accreditation will initially last for 12 months – and then upon renewal, 24 months.

Employers with Labour Hire Accreditation will need to renew this annually.

Once you have your accreditation, then come back to us and we’ll help you find the perfect employee for the role.

if you have any questions or concerns about the new rules or more information you can read more here: 

You can contact New Kiwis here. We will not only help you in your job search, but we can also provide advice on the immigration process as a whole.

We are not certified Immigration Consultants, but we can direct employers or candidates to someone who can help.