Essential Skills Work Visa replaced by AEWV – Learn More


Accredited Employer Work Visa

As of 4 July 2022, the realm of work visas in New Zealand has seen a significant transformation with the introduction of the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV). This innovative visa framework, which has taken over from the conventional Essential Skills Work Visa, constitutes a fundamental shift in the landscape of temporary work visas. This transition, influenced by evolving immigration and employment law, mandates that all employers intending to hire migrant workers must undergo a comprehensive process of employer accreditation.

The new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) has been introduced to replace six of the existing temporary work visa categories, and ALL employers need to be accredited if they want to employ migrant workers. applications for employer accreditation has opened since 23 May 2022.

This entails a rigorous evaluation of the employer’s eligibility and adherence to prevailing regulations. This change was initiated to align with the imperative of safeguarding the rights and conditions of workers and maintaining a fair labour market.


Single visa replaces 6

The AEWV replaces these 6 work visas:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa — approved in principle
  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa
  • Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa
  • Silver Fern Job Search Visa (closed 7 October 2019)
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa.

Summary of changes

  • The new visa application process is led by the New Zealand employer offering the job, your potential employer must complete the employer accreditation and job check before you apply for a work visa

  • The new system has 3 checks before an employer can hire a migrant worker Step 1: Employer check; Step 2: Job check; Step 3: Migrant check
  • Employers are able to apply for accreditation from 23 May 2022; Accredited employers can submit a job check from 20 June 2022; Migrants can apply for AEWV from 4 July 2022

3 steps to hiring a migrant on an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV):

  • Step 1 – Employer accreditation where the employer’s credentials are assessed
  • Step 2 – Employers can only hire a migrant worker if the job check has been passed. The job check will confirm the job pays the market rate, the terms and conditions comply with New Zealand employment laws, and the employer has done advertising if required.
  • Step 3 – In this last step, the migrant must show that they meet all visa requirements, including having the skills and experience as required by the employer in the employer’s job check application.

New Zealand Median Wage Has Increased To $29.66 Per Hour

The median wage has increased from $27.76 per hour to $29.66 per hour from 27 February 2023. This means that advertisements for Job Checks will now need to state at least $29.66 per hour, unless a sector agreement/median wage exemption applies.

There are some roles that will be exempt from the median wage and qualify for Accredited Employer Work Visas at a lower pay rate. Specific jobs in construction and infrastructure, and tourism and hospitality must pay at least $25.00 an hour (The minimum remuneration rate for specific roles within the tourism and hospitality sectors will increase to $28.18 per hour, effective from 24 April 2023). Specific jobs in the care workforce sector must be paid at least $26.16 an hour.


Navigating Visa Requirements: Understanding Essential Skills Workand Accredited Employer Visas

In light of the recent update in immigration and employment laws, understanding the intricacies of the essential skills work visa and the accredited employer work visa has become crucial. These visas play a pivotal role in granting access to New Zealand’s vibrant job market.

Whether you’re a skilled professional or a critical health worker, the path to obtaining these visas involves meeting the median wage requirements, adhering to specific employment conditions, and even fulfilling the labour market test.


Access NZ team is here to help

Let us at Access NZ be your guiding light, ensuring your pathway is defined by genuine attempts and the successful completion of each requirement. From obtaining a comprehensive skills match report to securing a job offer that aligns with your aspirations, we’re here to make your dream of working in New Zealand a reality.

If you require assistance, we highly recommend completing our Accredited Employer Work Visa questionnaire here and we will be in touch as soon as we can.

Alternatively you can call us on +64 7  571 1171 or email to for help.



1. What is the difference between an “Essential Skills Work Visa” and an “Accredited Employer Work Visa” in New Zealand?

The key difference lies in the accreditation process. The “Accredited Employer Work Visa” (AEWV), introduced on July 4, 2022, replaced the traditional “Essential Skills Work Visa.” Under AEWV, all employers must undergo a thorough accreditation process to hire migrant workers, ensuring compliance with labor laws.

2. Can you explain the “Labour Market Test” requirement for an “Essential Skills Visa,” and how does it affect visa applicants?

The “Labour Market Test” is a crucial requirement for the “Essential Skills Visa.” It mandates that employers demonstrate that there are no suitable New Zealand citizens or residents available to fill a particular job vacancy before hiring a migrant worker under this visa category. This test aims to prioritize local job seekers and protect their employment opportunities.

3. What is the “Median Wage Threshold” for the “Essential Skills Visa,” and how does it impact visa eligibility for skilled professionals in New Zealand?

The “Median Wage Threshold” for the “Essential Skills Visa” increased to $29.66 per hour as of February 27, 2023. This threshold impacts visa eligibility for skilled professionals in New Zealand. Job advertisements for roles requiring this visa must now offer at least $29.66 per hour in wages, unless sector agreements or exemptions apply, ensuring fair compensation for skilled workers.

4. What is the role of the “Skills Match Report” in the application process for an “Accredited Employer Work Visa” in New Zealand?

The “Skills Match Report” is a crucial component of the application process for an “Accredited Employer Work Visa” (AEWV). It assesses how well a migrant worker’s skills and qualifications match the job they are applying for. Employers must provide this report as part of the accreditation process to demonstrate that the migrant worker’s skills align with the job requirements.

5. What is the role of an employment agreement in the Essential Skills Visa application process?

An employment agreement is a crucial document in the Essential Skills Visa application process. It outlines the terms and conditions of employment, ensuring that both the employer and the visa holder understand their obligations.

6. How does the “Stand Down Period” impact visa applicants under the “Essential Skills Work Visa” and the “Accredited Employer Work Visa” in New Zealand?

The “Stand Down Period” is a waiting period that applies to certain visa holders, including those with “Essential Skills Work Visas.” It typically occurs after a visa has expired or been used for a maximum duration. During this period, visa holders are not eligible to apply for another “Essential Skills Visa” or an “Accredited Employer Work Visa.” This requirement aims to manage the flow of migrant workers into New Zealand and encourage visa holders to return to their home countries before applying for a new work visa.