So just 3 days out from this big set of changes.
What does it all mean for you/your employees on Accredited Employer Work Visas?
On this day of receiving a new government, it feels slightly funny to be reporting on changes from the outgoing government. Such is life at the immigration coalface. We know as of today, we will be having more changes in the future. We do look forward to greater industry input to what gets cooked up in future.
Here we go, though, for now, on what's happening from Monday.
From 27 November, 4 important things will happen:
Fresh applicants for AEWVs will receive 5-year visas instead of 3;
Holders of existing 3-yr AEWVs will be able to apply for a 2 yr extension;
Some (sector agreement) 2-year AEWVs will be able to be extended to 3 years;
A new "maximum continuous stay" of 5 years comes into force for ALL AEWV holders.
I thought it easiest to set this out in a Q&A format. Just click on each question and up will come your answer.
What's this all about?
So, to date, there have been 2-year and 3-year Accredited Employer Work Visas or "AEWVS". From 27 November, instead of 3 years for those being paid median wage or above, it will be 5 years. The Maximum Continuous Stay means that a migrant can only hold an AEWV (or combination of AEWVS) for a total of 5 years unless when the 5 years is up, they can show they are on a demonstrable pathway to residence. Someone who reaches their 5 year limit who does not have such a pathway must leave NZ for at least 12 months before they can reapply for an AEWV. The idea came about to try to stop people becoming settled in New Zealand while on forever renewable temporary visas, without having a pathway to residence.
Is this the first time we've had 5-year work visas in New Zealand?
If I have applied already for my AEWV but it is decided after the 27th November, what length visa will I receive?
If I am already on a 3 year visa do I get an automatic extension for the balance of 5 years?
Is there a fee that applies to an extension application?
So when should I apply?
If I get an extension do my dependents get automatic extensions?
What if I am going to apply for residence during the life of my current 3 year visa - do I still need to extend?
Will my Employer need to re-advertise my job if I am going for an extension?
How do I apply for an extension? How, as an employer can we help our employee apply?
What if my Employer is no longer Accredited?
Will I need to be paid the new median wage when I apply for an extension?
What if I reach the end of my 5 years and I have managed to get onto a pathway to residence, what then?
What if I'm part of the Care Workforce Sector Agreement? Can I extend my visa even if not paid the median wage?
What if I am on a 2 year visa being paid under the Median Wage?
The advice to Employers wanting to support workers to apply for their balance:
Your employee must:
be paid at least what is on their existing visa
be in the same job in the same region
That all being so, you can:
Log in to Immigration Online:
Go to 'Employ migrants'.
Find the accreditation on the list of 'My granted accreditations'.
Open the 'Options' menu for the accreditation and click 'View accreditation'.
Find the employee on list of 'Migrant workers with visas'.
Open the 'Options' menu for the employee and click 'Send request'.
Complete and submit the form 'Send request to apply for a further AEWV'.
Turning to what might happen within your 5 year maximum continuous stay...
Now, given the 5-year limit on being in NZ on AEWVs:
Here at Into NZ, we have a dedicated Team of seasoned Advisors at your disposal. We are well-versed in all the skilled categories & can provide you with all the advice you need.
If you don't have a clear-cut pathway now, be sure to seek advice on whether you may be able to develop one. If ever there is a pathway for you (and assuming you want to stay in NZ) we'll be sure to find it - we are true lateral thinkers!