Workplus – Business North Harbour Feature

If you run a business (small, medium, or enormous), you will know how complicated it can be to find good staff (particularly at the moment) but also the challenges involved in keeping them. Not only are you competing with other businesses to sell your products and services, but you can also find yourself competing for the same skilled employees.

For some businesses, this means the hunt for talent has to go international, and the only way to get boots on the ground is to extend your recruitment drive offshore. If done correctly, this can actually be a really clever way to recruit and opens up a much wider talent pool of good quality skills with international experience. People looking to move here permanently are often very keen to show how they can contribute and have a wealth of knowledge and skills to bring. However, it also means that you have to go to extra lengths to ensure that your employment policies and practices are squeaky clean. Not only is this good practice generally, but it is about to become a crucial part of the visa application process.

As New Zealand’s borders open up, the process of bringing foreign nationals into New Zealand on temporary work visas is changing, and more emphasis is being placed on a business’s ability to follow both the employment and immigration rules. If you already employ staff on temporary work visas, these requirements will also apply to you from some time in 2023.

From July 2022, any business looking to bring new staff across the border on temporary visas needs to become accredited with Immigration New Zealand (INZ) under the new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) scheme. The process follows three key steps:

  • Employers become Accredited with INZ through an online application. Accreditation is valid for 12 months initially and then becomes renewable every two years, assuming the business remains compliant.
  • An Accredited business can submit individual “job checks” for each vacancy they want to fill with a foreign worker. This involves providing specific employment documentation and evidence of trying to fill the role locally (for most roles).
  • Once a “job check” is approved, the prospective recruit can file their work visa application, providing evidence they have the right skills to do the job and meet standard health and character checks.

This three-step process is a significant shift from the previous policy, which largely relied on the applicant to do all the visa heavy lifting. Accreditation involves a formal application to INZ by the business, with subsequent checks of the business’s employment documentation for each job that needs to be filled. Businesses now need to take a much closer look at their internal systems and policies as part of the visa process and to ensure they can continue to take advantage of the accreditation scheme.

Whilst there will be increased involvement from businesses and an extra layer of administration, the trade-off is hopefully a smoother, more efficient visa process to bring those new recruits in.

However, what it also means, particularly for businesses that do not have the benefit of an in-house employment specialist or someone familiar with the immigration process, is that there is a greater potential for things to become very complicated or, worse, go very wrong – for the business and the migrant.

Workplus aims to solve this problem by offering businesses of any size or industry the ability to access both sets of expertise (employment and immigration) in one place. By pairing our employment law and immigration teams, we can assist with the accreditation and visa process and ensure that your business has all the proper employment documentation in place from the start. No more messy visa applications, difficult questions from INZ, or delayed start dates for your new staff.

Workplus can quickly assess your business’s eligibility for accreditation, review all your employment-related documentation and then navigate the processes involved – leaving you to focus on your business and your customers.

If you are considering bringing in new staff from overseas or already have team members on board who hold temporary work visas, contact Workplus today to find out how we can take care of all your employment and immigration needs.

Image by Viacheslav Yakobchuk on Adobe Free Stock

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Bernadette Robert

Bernadette Robert