The Government is proposing changes to employer-assisted temporary work visas. These include introducing a new framework for assessing all employer-assisted temporary work visas, and compulsory employer accreditation for those hiring from overseas.
These changes will affect all businesses who wish to employ migrant workers, particularly across the hospitality, construction, and IT industries.
One of the most notable changes to the policy is the legal requirement for all businesses to be accredited before making a migrant hire. The intent is to streamline the visa process, allowing for an employer-led work-visa system, and to decrease migrant exploitation.
While this may ultimately benefit both workers and employers, the process for accreditation isn’t a quick one.
The sudden surge in businesses needing accreditation, coupled with Immigration New Zealand’s current backlog of work (and resulting snail-paced turn-around) is, as RNZ reports, set to “compound existing delays to hiring foreign labour”.
For employers who don’t already understand the system, the accreditation requirement will simply make the process more complicated.
Becoming accredited means that businesses must prove their “trustworthiness” across several areas. There will be several different types of accreditation, but all businesses will have to show evidence of:
- compliance with labour laws
- high-practice human resource processes and policies
- financial stability
- commitment to increasing worker benefits and pay.
- Commitment to training and hiring local workers
For roles other than those above a certain wage threshold (above $78,000pa) or on a regional shortage list, labour market testing will also be required. This is to show the company has made an honest attempt to recruit locally.
Employers will also need to prove they have training systems in place to transfer knowledge from migrant workers to local staff, as well as systems to avoid their business becoming reliant on migrant workers.
Then, of course, will be the migrant’s own visa application process.
Now is the time to act. Businesses that want to make a migrant hire in the next 24 months must begin the process now, to avoid the inevitable visa-application log jam.
For more details on these changes, see our article “Employer-Assisted Work Visa Changes Proposed By Government”.
If you’d like to read about a client who has gone through the employer accreditation process, check out their story here.