If you need to regularly recruit skilled overseas workers, you should consider becoming an accredited employer. When accredited, you can employ skilled migrant workers without first checking whether New Zealand residents or citizens are available to do the work. Similar to the RSE scheme, there is a strict eligibility criteria including that the employer must take direct responsibility for the worker they employ and that they must pay a minimum base salary of NZD 55,000.00.
Having accreditation status allows companies the flexibility to hire offshore workers. The positions to which those individuals would be recruited utilising the accreditation status, will be roles within the company which will not undermine the conditions of local workers based onshore.
The current rules outline what a case officer must consider when determining an application for accreditation. As a summary, the requirements are as follows:
• That an employer must be in sound financial position;
• That an employer must have human resource policies that are of a high standard;
• That an employer has a demonstrable commitment to training New Zealand citizens or residence class visa holders;
• That an employer has good workplace practices.
Accredited Employer – Proposed changes
Immigration New Zealand are in the process of finalizing changes to the Accredited Employer Scheme. The proposed changes are significant. All employers wishing to hire migrants will need to be accredited and this requirement alone will facilitate change in the policy surrounding accreditation and accredited employer requirements.
INZ intends to create an enhanced framework, streamlining the application process with three checks – also being referred to as the “Gateway Framework”.
Firstly, the employer gateway. Under this gateway, INZ’s intention is to determine that the employer is in fact cleared to hire migrants. This includes ensuring an employer has good quality workplace practices and procedures; that it complies with labour and employment laws; that it is committed to upskilling its workers; and that it is financially stable.
Secondly, the job gateway. Here, no labour marketing testing would be required for jobs that meet a higher remuneration threshold. As it currently stands, the remuneration threshold is $55,000 annually; the intention is to increase this to $78,000. Alternatively, if the employment falls under the new proposed Regional Skilled Shortage List, the labour market test requirement is exempt. However, in all other instances, a labour market test will be required.
Finally, the migrant gateway. This is the application process the applicant must go through. In this stage, the applicant’s health, character, identity and capability (ie, training and experience) will be checked.
It is envisaged that the proposed changes will be particularly difficult for smaller businesses that do not have the resources to employ HR staff. To be eligible employers will require more administration of their workplace policies and processes to better prepare themselves to ensure that they meet the requirements to qualify for accreditation.
At Access NZ we are currently working on a programme that will assist smaller businesses obtain accreditation.