While the application process for most temporary work visas are currently led by the candidate, by 2021, the process will be led by you, the employer. You will want to have met all your obligations so your potential employee can start working for you as soon as possible.
There are a few things you could do to support your employees with their work visa application process.
Step 1: Become an accredited employer
From 2021, all employers must become an Accredited Employer before they can hire candidates from overseas. To become accredited, you will need to comply with the following requirements:
Sound Financial Position
You will need to show revenue, profit and equity levels that can sustain employment and the additional staff you seek to employ.
Human Resources Policies and Processes
You need evidence that you actively comply with current employment standards and have in place, good workplace practices and policies to make the work environment safe and free from discrimination; create working relations that are fair and equitable; provide opportunities for upskilling and development; ensure pay equity and pay parity.
Commitment to Training Locals
You will need to show you actively train and employ New Zealand citizens or residence class visa holders when possible.
Good Workplace Practices
This includes a history of compliance with all immigration and employment New Zealand laws.
You must already be meeting the minimum rights and obligations under both employment and immigration laws. As an employer, this means
- paying the same market rate you would pay a New Zealander to do the work
- meeting holiday and leave requirements
- providing a safe workplace
Although the requirement of becoming an Accredited Employer comes into force over the next 18-months, immigration officers can already examine a lot of these aspects of your business under the current regime. We expect that to be done more often as the start of the new system approaches.
Step 2: Clarify the job role
Identify the details of the role such as the tasks, qualifications, and experience required, as well as the pay and conditions.
You need a full, compliant employment agreement and detailed job description which generally matches the description of the position on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations or ANZSCO. This list is available on Immigration New Zealand’s website.
Please note that ANZSCO was recently ‘refreshed’ and included changes to the skill level of some occupations. For assessment purposes, Immigration New Zealand will not be using the updated version (1.3) of the ANZSCO until mid-2020 but will continue to use the current 1.2 version.
However, occupations that have been ‘upgraded’ ie have changed from skill level 4 or 5 to skill level 1-3 in the new version, will be treated as exceptions. For these occupations, they will be treated as if they are skill level 1-3 immediately, provided the role pays at least the New Zealand median income.
From mid-2020, the use of ANZSCO in assessment of skill bands under Essential Skills will be removed, and only roles paid above 100% of the median income will get the benefits associated with being mid- or higher-skilled under the current instructions.
Note that the median income is currently $25 per hour ($52,000 for a 40-hour week) but will shortly increase to $25.50 ($53,040).
Step 3: Advertise the vacancy
Some roles will have to be advertised. Some may appear on a skill shortage list, currently avoiding the need for advertising. Using skill shortage lists requires care in their interpretation, it is not just a case of matching the job title to something that appears on the list.
The evidence you provide will depend on the occupation.
For the roles not in areas of skill shortage:
- You should also advertise the role yourself locally and nationally.
- Any advertising must be for a minimum duration of two weeks for higher skilled roles (Skill levels 1,2 and 3) and at least 1-week for lower skilled roles (Skill levels 4 and 5).
Lower skilled roles will need to be advertised through Work and Income New Zealand and a Skills Match Report obtained from them. The advertising must accurately describe the role and the skills required.
Make sure you keep a copy of any advertising (and any invoices for placing that advertising). Note where and for how long you placed the advertisements, and an explanation why any applicants from New Zealand were not hired.
This evidence can later be used to support a work visa application and is valid for up to three months from when the advertisement was first posted. The same evidence can be used to support more than one visa application for the same position within that three-month period.
Step 4: Job offer
It is only after you have completed the recruitment process, that you may then offer the role to the candidate (Immigration New Zealand may have concerns if the offer is made before the recruitment process is complete). You will need to provide the successful candidate with a job offer letter, employment agreement for them to sign and return a copy to you.
You will also need to give a completed INZ1113 Employer Supplementary form to your candidate, who will need to include it with their work visa application together with their employment agreement.
For a residence application (Skilled Migrant Category), you will need to give a completed INZ1235 Employer Supplementary form to your employee to lodge with their residence application.
We can help
Pacific Legal has many years’ experience in providing excellent services to employers and applicants seeking work visas. Please contact us via email or through our website for free initial advice.