Moving the Goalposts… Again for Employers

Immigration New Zealand are once again changing the rules for employers before they have been implemented.

Several changes were recently made to streamline the employer accreditation process in response to the Government’s 5-step plan for reconnecting New Zealand to the world.  We explain the changes and what they mean for employers.

On 22 March INZ announced that there will be no difference in the accreditation requirements between standard and high-volume accreditation.

Yet it appears that what they’ve done is apply some of the high-volume accreditation requirements they previously announced and now indicate these will apply across the board. That includes providing pastoral care type information; ensuring that employees and the employer have completed employment rights modules.

INZ indicated to employers that gaining accreditation would be a “light touch application” but in the same breath impose quite significant requirements of record-keeping.

This suggests the initial application will be declaration-based. Which will rely on businesses making a statement that they meet the criteria and intend to meet the standards indicated to maintain accreditation.

That’s great for fast tracking applications, but essentially what that means is that INZ doesn’t have the resource to process applications that have a high level of documentation because of competing HR demands on their staff to process the 2021 one off residence visa.

I suspect at the 12-month renewal stage they will do an audit to ensure declarations made the previous year were true and correct. Read about all of the changes in detail here:

Other important takeaways

  • Jobs paid 200% above median wage (@$115,481.16) won’t require a Labour Market Test and there will be a residence pathway for high income earners.
  • All employers are going to have to offer settlement support information. The employers will need to document these.
  • Advertising requirements necessitate at least two weeks of advertising on a national job listing website in order to be acceptable for a job check. It will have to include minimum and maximum pay rates, guaranteed hours of work, location of employment, as well as minimum qualifications and work experience skills rather than specifications necessary to do the job.
  • INZ appears to have backtracked on the plan for regional skill shortage lists. The Labour Market Test is no longer going to be regionalised and all employers need to advertise their vacancies except where that job carries a pay rate at least twice the median wage. This means employers are not likely to get a Work Visa for a position that pays below $26.76/hr after July. Job advertisement content is going to be more closely examined by INZ and there are prescriptive advertisement requirements that employers need to be aware of.

Simplifying… with a sting

This seems to be an effort at simplification to try and get the system operational at a time when INZ is struggling under its workflow (as usual).

I think INZ have also realised the complex plan they had in place is simply not able to be executed given those demands. But more importantly, delays in processing accreditation status applications and hindering employers’ ability to get workers through the border at a time of chronic skill shortage would make the government even more unpopular than it is with the business community. So, they have developed a model that will allow a quick turnaround, but with the sting in the tail that allows them to audit and penalise at the renewal stage.

It’s going to be important for employers to ensure they are set up correctly so that in future they don’t have any issues with “compliance” and run the risk of losing their accreditation status at the renewal stage in 12 months’ time.

Read more about the accreditation process here.

If you need help with accreditation or would like more information about how the changes affect you, contact us today.


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