Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has announced changes in employer-assisted temporary work visa scheme in Rotorua today.

The Minister was visiting Cantabria Rest Home, Rotorua for making the long-awaited announcement on the employer-assisted work visa.

"The new employer-assisted temporary work visa process is more streamlined and less complex, replacing six visa categories with one temporary work visa, and it ensures there is an employer check, a job check and a worker check," Mr Lees-Galloway said.

The new system will require all employers to be accredited before being eligible to hire foreign workers. 

From October 7, employers who apply for accreditation can only be accredited for 24 months before they have to reapply.

Earlier last year in December the government has announced changes to employer-assisted work visa regime and invited public consultations till March 2019.

“There are also too few checks and balances on employers hiring migrants, leading to increased migrant exploitation as some employers with poor track records are still able to access migrant labour,” the Minister had then said at the time of releasing document for consultation.

Now the government has announced final changes asserting that it will give employers more certainty about their ability to hire a foreign worker earlier in the application process.

"These changes represent a significant shift in the way our temporary work visa system operates," Mr Lees-Galloway said.

Main changes introduced are:

  • Introducing an employer-led framework

  • Negotiating and introducing sector agreements to plan for future workforce needs and

  • Reinstating the ability for lower-paid workers to bring their families to New Zealand.

Employers will lead a new process for employing migrant workers

From 2021, employers wishing to employ migrant workers on the new temporary work visa will use a 3-step process.

  1. An employer check — it will be mandatory for all employers, including those with an existing accreditation, to be accredited under the new application process before they can hire migrants on the new work visa.
  2. A job check — this will include checking that the job is paid in line with the New Zealand market rate and, in some cases, will include a labour market test to ensure New Zealand workers are not available.
  3. A worker check — when the worker applies for a visa, they must show they meet the standard character, identity and health requirements, as well showing they have the skills to do the job they have been offered.