Compulsory Immigration Employer Accreditation

In 2021, Employer accreditation with Immigration New Zealand will be compulsory for all employers who sponsor the visas of migrant workers.

This has potentially far-reaching consequences for businesses with migrant staff, or those planning to hire migrant staff in the future, particularly if you employ more than 5 migrant workers.

In addition,Immigration will be demanding much more evidence of your efforts to recruit, train and retain New Zealand citizens and residents, and your genuine need to hire a migrant.

Compliance with NZ Employment Law will be key to the future success of your business.

Why is compulsory accreditation being introduced?

Essentially, it is being introduced to weed out employers who are non-compliant with employment and immigration law, and to maintain upward pressure on employers’ training and remuneration for New Zealanders.

Currently, each time a work visa is submitted, an Immigration Officer must ensure that you, the employer sponsoring the applicant, are fully compliant with relevant employment law. This adds time and complexity to each individual visa application.

Going forward, the process will be much more stringent and centralised.

Immigration has established employer verification teams and you must obtain accreditation before being able to sponsor any work visas.

Low volume employers will have a streamlined process, but the highest level of checks will focus on the highest-risk and highest-volume employers ie those with more than 5 migrant workers.

Once accredited, you will be required to pass through a job gateway to get an approval to recruit a migrant worker.  Only once you have gained both accreditation and approval, can the individual you want to hire apply for a visa.

How does this affect your business?

Like many employers, you’d like to think your business is compliant with employment and immigration law. However, unless you’ve had an HR and Immigration Audit done, you would have no idea if the business is truly compliant, or not.

Under compulsory employer accreditation, employers will have to prove their business is compliant by handing over significant documentation, which could include:

  • time and wage records,
  • policies and procedures,
  • strategic workforce plan,
  • evidence of recruitment, retention and training,
  • remuneration strategy and evidence,
  • employment agreements,
  • job descriptions,
  • and health and safety records

This documentation will be vetted by an employer verification team at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

If your business is found to be non-compliant, you risk:

  • having your accreditation application declined, thus losing the right to hire migrant workers
  • AND leaving yourself open to compliance action up to and including prosecution.

We strongly recommend you let us look at your HR systems before you apply for Employer Accreditation.

As both HR specialists and Licensed Immigration Advisers, we are in the unique position to assess your HR systems and processes, help your business become compliant and then support you through the employer accreditation process.

Need some help?

Let’s have a no-obligation discussion to work out how we can best support your business.

How we can support you:

1. Complete an HR and Immigration Audit of your business

The HR and Immigration Audit looks at everything HR and Immigration to ensure a business is compliant with Employment Law. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Reviewing all employment agreements to ensure they are compliant
  • Checking payslips payroll compliance with the Holidays Act 2003
  • Reviewing HR policies, procedures, manuals, letters, correspondence with staff etc.
  • Reviewing the current employee visas, ensuring the visas are valid and that staff are not in breach of their conditions
  • Amending and updating employment agreement templates to be compliant with employment law
  • Advising payroll on any changes that need to be made to payroll calculations
  • Reviewing Health & Safety documentation
  • Reviewing training and development programmes
  • Producing evidence of NZ recruitment processes
  • Identifying issues that may come up with your remuneration strategy

2. Submit the Employer Accreditation Application on your behalf

Our team of highly experienced Licensed Immigration Advisers can advise you on, prepare and submit the relevant employer accreditation application to Immigration New Zealand on behalf of your business.

Successful accreditation will make employing migrant workers that much easier in future. Plus, with robust HR systems in place, your business will be well positioned for success.

You need to act now.

In our experience, it takes several months to prepare for an accreditation process like this. You don’t want to get stuck in a queue behind thousands of employers, waiting to be audited.

Also, migrant employees can only work for accredited employers. So, if your competitors get approved first, guess where your skilled employees and applicants will be going?