Immigration Update – Accredited Employer Work Visas

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Special Counsel

From Monday, 27 November, many work visa holders can apply to extend their three year Accredited Employer Work Visas (AEWVs), so that they are five year work visas.  However, at the same time, the government has confirmed that most AEWV holders will only be able to stay for a maximum of five years.

Below, we have set out some answers to common questions that employers and their employees have been asking.

1. My employees’ have three year AEWVs, which are due to expire in 2025. Can they now apply for their visas to be extended to five years?

Yes.   However, Immigration New Zealand will generally only start processing these applications when the current AEWV will expire within nine months.

2. Do I need to provide the employees with a new Job Check number to extend their visas to five years?

You don’t need to provide each employee with a new Job Check number if:

  • Each employee has an AEWV that was granted before 26 November 2023;
  • That AEWV was granted because of employment paid at or above the median wage in place at the time their current AEWV was applied for, or as part of the Care Workforce sector agreement.
  • The job is the same. This means that the job location, the job itself, and employer are all the same.  Also, the wage/salary must be no less that what was offered when the current AEWV was approved.

If the situation doesn’t meet all those requirements, then you will need to apply for a new Job Check approval before your employees can obtain further visas.

3. Can my employees’ partners and children extend their visas too?

Yes.  Of course, the couple will need to prove that they are still living together, in a genuine and stable relationship.

4. My employees were granted two-year visas as an exception to the median wage requirement. If I now increase their wage to match with the median wage, can they apply for their visas to be extended to five years?

No.  The employees’ current visas must have been granted because they were being at or above the median wage at the time they applied for their current visas, or as part of the Care workforce sector agreement.

5. Is it correct that my employees can only stay a maximum of five years in New Zealand?

Yes, an employee can only hold an AEWV for a maximum of five years.   The five years starts when the visa was granted or, if the employee was offshore when the visa was granted, when they first arrived.

Immigration New Zealand has previously indicated that if someone with an AEWV had a pathway to residence (e.g. needed a year of work experience to qualify for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category), they may be able to stay longer than the five years.   However, this has not yet been confirmed, so please do keep in touch with us for updates.   

If you or your employees have any questions or need any help with their or their families’ visa applications, please contact a member of our immigration team.


Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and not intended as a substitute for specific professional advice on any matter and should not be relied upon for that purpose.

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