Immigration New Zealand (INZ) have released a full draft policy surrounding the criteria for employer accreditation.

This most recent update outlines some essential information, including penalties for non-compliance by employers. We have summarised several of the key points below;

Key points to note

  • Estimated processing time frames
    • Standard and high-volume - 10 working days
    • Job check - 10 working days
    • Accredited Employer Work Visa - 20 working days
  • INZ have specified requirements for employers, which include the requirement to be a viable and genuinely operating business or organisation. This includes but is not limited to demonstrating that they:
    • Have not made a loss before depreciation and tax over the last 24 months, or
    • Have a positive cash-flow for each of the last 6 months, or
    • Have sufficient capital and/or external investment (for example funding from founder or trust) to ensure the employer's business remains viable and ongoing; or
    • Have a credible 24 month plan (for example contracts for work) to ensure the employer's business remains viable and ongoing.
  • The following settlement support information must be provided to employees within one month of employment commencing:
    • Accommodation options
    • Transport options (including licencing information)
    • The cost of living
    • How to access healthcare services
    • Citizens Advice Bureau
    • Relevant community groups
    • How to obtain an IRD number from Inland Revenue
    • Any specific industry training and qualification information and options
    • Specific job or industry hazards
  • Employers placing workers with third parties must only place employees with organisations who have consented to INZ conducting a site visit to their organisation, and who meet additional requirements including health and safety
  • Interim employer accreditation may be granted where an accreditation application has been accepted for processing, and the employer's accreditation has expired before the renewal was approved
  • Fines and stand down periods due to breaches of the Immigration Act 2009, for the purpose of the employer accreditation policy (for example, employing a migrant worker who does not have the appropriate visa)
Fine imposed on employer or key persons Stand down period where accreditation will not be granted, or will be revoked
Up to and including $999.99 6 months from the time of the penalty
$1,000 - $9,999.99 12 months from the time of the penalty
$10,000 - $24,999.99 18 months from the time of the penalty
$25,000 and above 24 months from the time of the penalty

Our thoughts

This policy update provides welcome clarity for employers who are anticipating applying for accreditation as soon as the scheme opens on 23 May 2022 and the wider industry. Our initial opinion is that there are several hooks in the policy that has been announced (a copy can be found here). We envisage that employers will need to invest time to ensure that their policies and practices are in line with requirements to avoid fines and accreditation status stand down. This is especially so given that INZ appear to be increasing verification and compliance monitoring.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.