There has been some widespread confusion regarding Immigration New Zealand’s deferred work visa policy that was due to come into place on 1 November 2021.  Based on our discussions with clients and advisors, the lack of clarity extends to what policies will or won’t be available to applicants after 1 November this year. 

The background

We have been expecting this new work visa policy since May this year – here is the link to our newsletter on this matter. Subsequently, on 19 July, Immigration New Zealand announced that this new policy was being deferred – read our previous newsletter here.

We are aware there are consultations in process at government level and we anticipate there will be further communications as they try to resolve some of the issues.  We will keep you updated as this happens.

What we know now

  • The planned new work visa policy (the accredited employer work visa or AEWV) has been deferred to mid-2022.
  • The following work visa policies will be closing on 31 October 2021  
    • Work to Residence under Talent or Accredited Employer policy, and
    • Work to Residence under the Long-Term Skills Shortages list policy, and
    • Silver Fern Job Search Visa, and
    • Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa.
  • From 1 November 2021 the only work visa policy available to applicants applying with a job offer is the Essential Skills Work visa policy (until further notice following consultation by government).
  • The ability to renew your (old) Employer Accreditation is no longer possible and closed on 30 June 2021.

What this means for you as the employer

  • If you are an accredited employer then your employees can continue to use this accredited employer work visa policy (that provides them with a pathway to residence) until 31 October.
  • From 1st November until mid-2022 and when the anticipated AEWV policy comes into effect, all 'employer-led' work visas will need to be applied for under the Essential Skills policy.  These requirements have been slightly eased – further details below.
  • If you are an accredited employer and your accreditation is going to expire before 31 October, the ability to renew it has been closed – meaning that this policy will no longer be available to your employees from then.

Essential Skills Work Visa policy requirements eased

If your employee is applying for a work visa under Essential Skills to work for the same employer in the same role, then no 'labour market check' evidence is required. cIf the employee has previously provided police clearances and medicals, then they will not need to provide these again for this work visa application. This could speed up the application process and remove some stress for these applicants.

For further assistance, please contact Caren Donald, Immigration Manager.