Navigating Employer Accreditation renewals

By Hannah Alcantara

Accreditation Renewal

If you plan to keep your current migrant workers or hire new ones, you will need to renew your accreditation. Additionally, if you want to change your accreditation volume, such as moving from standard to high-volume accreditation, now is the time to do so.

Many businesses’ employer accreditations obtained in 2022 are nearing expiration. As a business owner, it’s important to consider whether or not you would like to maintain your accreditation status.

Due to the high influx of accreditation renewals, processing times are expected to be lengthy and may vary. According to Immigration New Zealand’s website, the current processing time is two months, but it could take even longer depending on the volume of applications submitted, so it’s important to act quickly.

Seeking expert guidance during the renewal process can help avoid delays, declines, or financial loss. Common pitfalls include compliance issues, misunderstanding of regulations and inadequate evidence.

The importance of maintaining accreditation

Given the current financial climate, some businesses in New Zealand may choose not to renew their accreditation in order to cut costs. However, it is crucial to carefully consider all factors before making this decision. Failing to maintain employer accreditation will have implications for future business decisions and may also impact current migrant workers.

If your accreditation expires while you have migrant workers on an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV), they are allowed to continue working for your business until their visa expires. However, you will not be able to support them for any further visas until you are accredited again. This includes residency pathways such as the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC).

Maintaining your accredited status is a key factor in retaining your workforce. If you lose your accreditation, you will not be able to hire or retain migrant workers. Additionally, your current staff may start looking for opportunities elsewhere to maintain their legal status in New Zealand. This is especially true for any existing migrant workers who are aiming to obtain residency. Keeping your accredited status is a strong factor in retaining your staff and fostering their loyalty.

It is extremely important to ensure that you submit your employer accreditation renewal application on time, considering the processing times. If you submit your renewal application and do not receive a decision before your accreditation is due to expire, you will be issued a 3-month interim accreditation until a decision is made. During the interim period, there may be some limitations. If Immigration New Zealand has not decided on your application by the time the interim accreditation expires, your business will no longer hold accreditation. Therefore, it is crucial to submit your application as soon as your accreditation is nearing expiration.

What is Immigration New Zealand looking for?

Immigration New Zealand is largely focused on ensuring you have fulfilled your obligations and complied with the declarations and promises made in your initial accreditation application.

This means when renewing your accreditation, businesses will need to demonstrate the following:

  • Evidence that settlement support was provided to new Accredited Employer Work Visa migrants.
  • Evidence that migrants received paid time to complete Employment New Zealand modules.
  • Evidence that all key staff involved in recruitment decisions have completed Employment New Zealand modules.
  • Evidence that demonstrates your business is genuinely operating and financially viable.

Accredited employers should be aware that Immigration New Zealand can now issue infringement notices to employers who breach their obligations, as part of their efforts to prevent migrant exploitation. Even minor breaches could lead to fines starting from NZD 1,000.00 or the suspension of your accreditation.

If you have not fulfilled your obligations as an accredited employer, it’s crucial to take action as soon as possible as there is technically still time to rectify this. At Queen City Law, we can provide you with a comprehensive checklist of the required documents and assist you in preparing a high-quality application to prevent any delays or implications with Immigration New Zealand.

The importance of seeking legal advice

The extensive processing times and potential penalties that you risk if you do your renewal application improperly underscore the crucial need for professional guidance and support. Queen City Law’s team of legal experts is here to assist with the intricacies of the process. As specialists in immigration and employment law and various other fields, we offer comprehensive solutions for all your accreditation needs. Whether you are seeking guidance on accreditation renewal or applying for the first time, we are here to offer our assistance.

We have taken care to ensure that the information given is accurate, however it is intended for general guidance only and it should not be relied upon in individual cases. Professional advice should always be sought before any decision or action is taken.