New Zealand Modifies Accredited Employer Work Visa Rules: Key Changes Explained

Effective June 26, 2024, New Zealand's new AEWV regulations restrict lower-skilled workers from supporting visa applications for their partners and dependent children. However, certain exemptions apply.
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A recent policy change by the New Zealand government affects the ability of certain Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) holders to sponsor their partners and dependent children for visas.

This change aligns with the broader reforms implemented in the AEWV scheme earlier this year. The aim is to streamline visa processes and ensure sponsors meet specific criteria aligned with New Zealand’s immigration and economic priorities.

Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) Rules

If you’re an AEWV holder or planning to apply, here’s what you need to know.

AEWV Holders in Lower-Skilled Roles Face New Restrictions

Starting from June 26, 2024, individuals holding an AEWV in roles classified under Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) levels 4 and 5 without a pathway to residency will be unable to support work, visitor, or student visa applications for their partners and dependent children.

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Key Points:

  • ANZSCO Levels 4 and 5: Typically represent lower-skilled job categories.
  • No Residency Pathway: Roles without a direct route to residency are the focus of this change.

Visa Options Remain for Independent Applications

Despite the new restrictions, partners and dependent children of AEWV holders still have the option to apply for their visas to enter New Zealand.

Available Visa Types:

  • Accredited Employer Work Visa: Partners can apply for this visa independently.
  • International Student Visa: Allows children or partners to pursue studies in New Zealand.

Govt Aligns Changes with Broader AEWV Reforms

The New Zealand government has introduced these changes to align with broader updates to the AEWV scheme made earlier this year. This move is also a step back towards the settings of the former Essential Skills Work Visa.

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Purpose of Changes:

  • Harmonization: Syncing AEWV policies with recent reforms.
  • Policy Reversion: Returning to provisions similar to those under the Essential Skills Work Visa.

Unaffected Groups: Who Remains Unchanged?

Several groups are exempt from the new AEWV restrictions, ensuring stability for existing visa holders and certain high-skilled or high-earning roles.

Groups Not Impacted:

  • Current Visa Holders: Those already holding partner or dependent child visas.
  • In-progress Applications: Applications submitted before June 26, 2024, will be processed under the old rules.
  • Residency Pathway Roles: AEWV holders in roles with residency pathways, such as those on the Green List or under specific sector agreements.
  • High Earners: Individuals earning at least 1.5 times the median wage for the Skilled Migrant Category.

Supporting Family Visas: Conditions & Requirements

AEWV holders must meet specific criteria to support visa applications for their partners and children under the new rules.

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Support Criteria:

  • Income Threshold: Must earn above a certain amount.
  • Green List Occupations: Compliance with Green List requirements.
  • ANZSCO Skill Levels: Alignment with ANZSCO skill level requirements for new applications post-June 26, 2024.

Pre-June 26, 2024, Conditions:

  • No ANZSCO Compliance Needed: For family visas supported before the cut-off date, ANZSCO skill level compliance is not required.

Navigating the Changes: Tips for AEWV Holders

To navigate these changes, AEWV holders and their families should take proactive steps to ensure compliance and successful visa applications.

Recommended Actions:

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  • Review Employment: Confirm job roles align with new visa support eligibility.
  • Early Application: Submit visa applications well in advance.
  • Seek Advice: Consider professional immigration advice for tailored guidance.

Conclusion

The latest modifications to the AEWV scheme reflect New Zealand’s evolving immigration policies aimed at balancing skill shortages with family unity. Understanding these changes and planning accordingly can help AEWV holders and their families navigate their visa applications successfully.


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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Travelobiz.com, he's passionate about writing.

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