Immigration New Zealand have announced that a new employer-led work visa will be introduced in the second half of 2021. This will replace six streams of work visas, including the accredited employer policy as it currently stands.

The new process for employer-assisted work visas will involve 3 steps via a new online application platform.

The new 3 step process

When employers are seeking to obtain a visa for a potential candidate or employee, the following three steps will need to be undertaken:

  1. Employer check - All employers will be required to meet an accreditation level based on how many visa holders they support. The detail has not yet been provided in full and may be subject to change, but we understand that the intent is to introduce three levels of accreditation for employers based on the number of visa holders they support. We also understand that existing accredited employers will maintain a level of accreditation.
  2. Job check - The conditions of the job role to be filled needs to be checked against the labour market (where applicable) to ensure that requirements are met.
  3. Migrant worker check - Once a job is approved by Immigration New Zealand, then under this third step the migrant worker will be checked to ensure they meet the requirements for the visa. The details regarding what the requirements are and how they are to apply have not been released by Immigration New Zealand.

Changes to the existing visa work streams

This six visa work streams that will be replaced are:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa — approved in principle
  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa
  • Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa
  • Silver Fern Job Search Visa (closed 7 October 2019)
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa

Any current visas held under the above are not impacted and remain valid until their expiry. Other work visas will not be impacted by these changes.

If you are an accredited employer and need to renew your accreditation or you are considering applying for accredited status, we recommend that you proceed as normal under the existing rules.

Until the changes take place we will continue preparing and processing work visas under existing visa categories.  The above change comes into effect in the second half of 2021.

Help understanding the visa changes and what your obligations are as an employer

There have been so many changes to immigration policy in the last few months - it has been challenging keeping up.  We hear from so many employers who have questions on what their obligations are, how they can help their employees understand and navigate the changes to policy, and most importantly how they will be able to employ visa holders in the future.

Our team are here to help – please feel free to contact Caren Donald and our team on