The Government has released detailed policy for the Job Check application component of the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) process. Policy for AEWVs has also been released. This information has been long awaited and sheds light on the process employers can expect to follow from 20 June 2022.
We have outlined some key points of this policy below.
Accredited employers will have the ability to make a Job Check application from 20 June 2022.
Employers holding standard accreditation may have a maximum of 5 jobs associated to them at any time. Employers with high volume accreditation will have no limit on the amount of job checks associated to their business.
A Job Check must be approved before a migrant worker can apply for the associated AEWV, and must be made using the approved online form provided on the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) website.
Employers must submit evidence to show that the requirements of the Job Check have been met. This will include:
- A job description
- A proposed employment agreement
- Evidence of advertising the position (if a labour market test is required)
Multiple positions may be included in a Job Check application if the substantive details of the role are the same for all jobs i.e occupation, location, salary band, type of agreement etc.
The policy requires that employment must be paid at least the median wage ($27.76 per hour) and for at least 30 hours weekly. In addition, the remuneration must not be less than market remuneration for the occupation and the pay period frequency must be no longer than one month.
Labour market test
All Job Check applications for a position paid less than $55.52 per hour must include evidence that a labour market test has been completed.
A labour market test will involve:
- Advertising the job on a national jobs website or by other means that are more likely to attract suitable New Zealand citizens or residents, for at least 14 days (before the job check application is submitted, the job advertisement must be closed)
- Assessing all NZ citizen/resident applicants to ensure that there are no suitable New Zealanders for the position
Job advertisements will be valid for 90 days after the advertisement closes.
For the purpose of a labour market test, advertisements must contain the following information:
- A job description outlining basic tasks and responsibilities
- The key conditions of employment, for example:
- The salary band for the role
- Estimated earnings if a significant portion of earnings is not guaranteed
- The minimum guaranteed hours of work
- The location of the job
- Any work experience or qualification requirements for the role including required years of work experience or a requirement to hold a qualification. The requirements will need to match ANZSCO or will need to be assessed by a case officer as being reasonably necessary to perform the Job Check role
If a Job Check fails to meet the requirements, Immigration officers may consider a waiver of specific requirements if appropriate. This provision provides INZ with flexibility to assess Job Checks that fail to meet requirements on a case by case basis and opens the door for discretion to be applied. Alternatively, employers may apply for a reconsideration of a failed job check, within 14 days of the decision.
Job checks will be valid for a duration of 6 months or until the employer's accreditation lapses or is revoked.
AEWV applications may be submitted from 4 July 2022.
This application will be made by the migrant worker using the online form on the INZ website.
Applications must include:
- Evidence the applicant meets health and character requirements
- An offer of employment which meets the requirements of the job check
- A job check number (linked to an approved Job check)
- Evidence that they are suitably qualified for the role (This will be assessed using the requirements outlined in the job check, and tasks listed in the ANZSCO and the requirements set in the job advertisement)
An approved AEWV will be granted for a maximum duration of 3 years.
The new AEWV process has several more hooks when compared to the predecessor policy. Positive aspects of this new policy and announcement include no age cap and clear labour market test requirements set in INZ policy. The negative aspects of the policy and announcement include a void for skilled workers with health conditions which render them not of an acceptable standard of health. These skilled workers will not have a clear pathway to travel to New Zealand for employment. The predecessor Work to Residence instructions provided a pathway for these workers to be considered for a medical waiver. We anticipate that this void will be patched up by INZ in future policy.
There is also another area that the policy may not have the flexibility to cater for, which is to allow employers to support workers paid below $27.76 per hour for AEWVs. We anticipate that the policy will be modified in future to accommodate for this or wider discretion will be deployed in policy to waive specific requirements at the Job Check stage using Instruction WA3.45(c). We understand that the current position is that it is highly unlikely that the requirement to pay at or above $27.76 per hour would be waived. Any decision to waive the requirement to pay at or above $27.76 per hour under current policy will require exceptional circumstances and lobbying at an operational level.
In our opinion the policy will hopefully be amended in future to cater for certain industries and labour market demands.
There has been discussion about exceptions to the wage requirement, based on a skills shortage/job shortage list. INZ has previously used this mechanism, which enables the Government to react to a fluctuating job market. There has also been discussions to provide AEWV holders a pathway to residence. We are hopeful that these mechanisms will be adopted in future. Unfortunately, the current iteration of the policy does not accommodate for this.
With the introduction of the new AEWV system fast approaching, we recommend that employers start preparing now. INZ had announced that the streamlined Essential Skills work visa category will close on 3 July 2022. Employers will now need to start preparing for the use of AEWVs to support workers after 4 July 2022. Employers need to be aware that after accreditation has been secured, at least another 4/5 weeks preparation time will be required to navigate the Job Check stage before a prospective AEWV employee can submit an AEWV application.
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.