WHAT MIGRANT WORKERS CAN DO BEFORE THE NEW AEWV SYSTEM COMES INTO EFFECT

June 1, 2021

From 1 November 2021, a new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) system will be introduced affecting all migrant workers and their employers. Put simply, the new work visa system means that migrant workers wanting to apply for, or renew their work visa after 31 October 2021, can only do so if their employer is accredited under the new AEWV system.

However, migrant workers are still able to apply for a new Essential Skills work visa or a Talent (Accredited Employer) work visa or a Long-Term Skills Shortage List work visa until 31 October 2021. We recommend that migrant workers should consider making a new work visa application before that date, in the following situations:

  • If the migrant hold a Talent (Accredited Employer) work visa expiring in the next 12 months and their employer holds valid accreditation; or

  • If the migrant holds a Long-Term Skills Shortage List work visa expiring in the next 12 months; or

  • If the migrant works for an accredited employer and the migrant has received a wage increase that now meets the income threshold ($79,560 per annum for a 40-hours week) for a Talent (Accredited Employer) work visa; or

  • If the migrant is on an annual income of at least $79,560 per annum for a 40-hours week and their employer has recently gained accreditation with Immigration New Zealand; or

  • If the migrant is on an Essential Skills work visa but can apply for a Long-term Skills Shortage List work visa.


As a work to residence work visa offers a straighter pathway to residence than under the Skilled Migrant category, it is in the best interest of migrants (and their employers) to move any eligible employee onto a work-to residence work visa before the new system takes effect on 1 November 2021.

It may also be prudent for Essential Skills work visa holders, whose visas expire in the next 12 months, to apply for a new 3-year Essential Skills work visa. This is especially important for migrants who have submitted an EOI application but are still waiting for the EOI pool to open again.

Contact BK Immigration Law NZ to discuss what options you may have to position yourself better before the new AEWV system takes force on 1 November 2021.