Mandatory Employer Accreditation for Migrant Labour

2021 Mandatory Employer Accreditation for Migrant Labour

Immigration New Zealand is introducing mandatory accreditation for employers in July 2021.

Under the new rules, all employers will have to obtain accreditation in order to secure the employment of a migrant worker on an employer assisted work visa.[1] This will be the first part of a three-stage process whereby Immigration New Zealand assess the employer, the labour market, and finally the worker themselves.

If an employer is not accredited, they will not be able to hire any migrants on employer-assisted work visas.

Criteria

You will need to prepare your accreditation application for approval to show your business is compliant with employment law. Immigration is likely to conduct a thorough assessment of:

  • All employment agreements
  • Workplace policies and practises
  • Wage and time records for employees
  • Evidence of compliance with the Immigration Act 2009 i.e. only hiring migrant workers who have the correct visa conditions
  • Other evidence of compliance for example Labour Inspectorate investigations, infringement notices, compliance notices, penalties or decisions in the Employment Relations Authority.

Employers who hire 1-5 migrant workers will need to apply for standard accreditation, while employers with 6 or more migrant workers will need to meet high volume accreditation criteria. High-volume employers will need to demonstrate their commitment to improving pay and employment conditions, and training and upskilling New Zealanders.

Timeframes

The introduction of the mandatory accreditation regime is expected to take place in July 2021.

If an employer’s application for accreditation is approved, it will last for an initial 12 months so a further application for renewal will need to be made prior to the completion of 12 months.  Following that, it is anticipated accreditation status will be renewed for 1-2 years.

All businesses will need time to prepare their documents in advance for any accreditation application, and to provide evidence of a history of compliance.

Given the impending deadline of July, it is anticipated that there will be a significant backlog of current accreditation applications before, and immediately after July 2021 when the new accreditation regime is introduced.

Our Services

Our workplace solution team can assist you now:

  1. We can provide an initial assessment of your documents and processes against the criteria for accreditation as they are introduced
  2. We can assist you to develop your employer documents and comprehensive application to present your best case to INZ, including:
    • Reviewing and/or drafting employment agreements to make sure they are up to date with the latest employment law requirements.  You will need a written agreement for every employee.
    • Reviewing and/or drafting workplace policies including:
      • Diversity and Inclusiveness Policy
      • Leave Policy
      • Health and Safety, Wellbeing Policy
      • Bonus and benefits policy
      • Reimbursement policy
      • Recruitment Policy (immigration compliance)
      • Working from Home policy
      • Serious misconduct policy
      • Bullying and harassment policy
      • Privacy policy
    • Wages and time records and other compulsory record keeping documentation
    • Evidence of any business response and improvements relevant to the history of compliance criteria
    • Requirements for employers under the Residential Tenancies Act
  3. We can prepare and submit a comprehensive application for accreditation, including managing and responding to any concerns raised by INZ ongoing

We recommend a 3 – 6 month lead in time for all employers to start preparing their documentation and applications.  We strongly urge all employers who may wish to attain accreditation status to start preparations now. An application under the new rules should be made as soon as possible to avoid delays in obtaining accreditation status.

Please contact our workplace solutions team for an initial assessment.

References

[1] This article is based on current information provided by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) about the proposed mandatory accreditation scheme as at February 2021.  We anticipate further details around the scheme to be published by INZ within the next few months.

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