Accredited Employer Work Visa
If you secure employment from a New Zealand company
Updated as of December 2022
Please refer to the Immigration NZ website for the most updated information.
The Accredited Employer Work visa (AEWV) requires the following:
you have an offer of full-time employment in New Zealand (at least 30 hours per week) AND
the New Zealand employer is holds Immigration New Zealand accreditation, AND
the New Zealand employer has made genuine (though unsuccessful) attempts to find a New Zealander to fill the position. Note, some waivers apply for this job check AND
You must be deemed qualified for the position offered, and paid at or above the NZ median wage ($27.76/hour as at June 2022).
You must have and acceptable standard of health and character
Can I be offered employment without holding a visa?
You can apply for jobs without holding a visa. It is perfectly fine and legal to apply for a job before you get a visa. As a matter of fact, job offer letters will often state as a condition that you obtain the right to lawfully work in New Zealand as required by immigration and employment laws.
You must be paid at or above the minimum salary threshold (or equivalent hourly rate) in order to be eligible for a 3-year visa. This is $27.76/hour as at June 2022. Applicants may also support their partner for a work visa application and dependent children for a student visa application.
There are transitional exemptions to this median wage, for certain industries and occupations.
Immigration NZ will also want to ensure you are paid at "market rate" ie you are offered what a New Zealander would be offered for the same position, based on the experience and the level of responsibility required.
Positions paid below median wage may still qualify for the grant of a 12 months visa renewable, with rights for the partner and dependent children to seek visitor visas only (no work or study rights).
How long can I stay in New Zealand for?
This visa is typically granted from 6 months to 3 years and may be renewable. You may also study for up to 3 months per year, or as part of your employment (if required by your employer).
This visa may be used as a stepping-stone towards an application for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category or the Green list.
Depending on your situation, your Essential Skills Work Visa may come with conditions. These could specify restrictions in regard to:
a specific occupation, and/or
a specific employer, and/or
a specific location, and/or
Unless your occupation features on one of the Essential Skills in Demand lists, falls under certain waiver criteria or is paid at twice the median wage, your employer will need to prove they have attempted to recruit New Zealanders before they can hire a migrant.
There are no English requirements for this visa, although INZ will expect you to have sufficient English proficiency to fulfil your work obligations.
Can I bring my family with me?
Your family may not be included in your application. However, they may be able to apply separately based on their relationship to you (spouse and dependents). The type of visas they may apply for depends on the salary you are being offered.
This visa will not allow you to be self-employed; you may want to look into the Entrepreneur visa as an alternative option.