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Immigration New Zealand continue to implement changes to the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) scheme. We have summarised recent changes that have been announced along with changes that may be implemented in the future.

New February 2024 Median Wage Rate

A new median wage rate of $31.61 per hour is likely to be introduced by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) to come into effect in February 2024 (as long as there aren’t any changes to policy). This will be based on the June 2023 median wage rate of $31.61 per hour published by Stats NZ recently.

To help with planning for recruitment in 2024, we have set out a table with the current and potential Feb 2024 median wage rates along with annual salary rates (based on a 40-hour work week):

WageCurrentFebruary 2024
Median Wage$29.66 ($61,692.80)$31.61 ($65,748.80)
1.5x Median Wage$44.49 ($92,539.20)$47.42 (approx. $98,623.20)
2x Median Wage$59.32 ($123,385.60)$63.22 ($131,497.60)
3x Median Wage$88.98 ($185,078.40)$94.83 ($197,246.40)

Relevant INZ policy that is indexed to the median wage will also be updated, this includes wage rates for roles covered under sector agreements and wage rates associated with Green List roles.

Option to apply to extend a current AEWV

AEWV holders granted visas on or before November 2023 will be able to apply to extend their AEWV as long as maximum continuous stay requirements are met. For example, an AEWV holder paid above median wage and granted a 3-year AEWV would be able to extend their AEWV for a further 2 years.

Employers do not need to submit a new Job Check application to support these applications as long as the visa holder continues to work in the same role, location, for the same employer and is paid no less than the rate offered as part of the initial AEWV application.

Partners will also be able to extend their Partnership Work Visa. It is likely that further policy changes will be required to accommodate these extensions properly.

Maximum continuous stay period

The general rule after 27 November 2023 is that if a worker is offered employment that pays at least median wage, they will be granted a 5-year AEWV (even if their application was submitted before 27 November 2023 and the visa application is undecided as of 27 November 2023). The 5-year validity of AEWVs will match a requirement that only allows workers. without a pathway to residence, to be in New Zealand on an AEWV for a continuous period of 5 years.

We have copied the maximum continuous stay periods associated with sector agreements below:

SectorMaximum duration a visa may be granted forMaximum continuous stay Duration of time that must be spent outside of New Zealand (consecutive)
Tourism and hospitality 24 months 24 months 12 months
Construction and infrastructure 24 months 24 months 12 months
Meat processing7 months 7 months 4 months
Seafood processing (onshore) 7 months 7 months 4 months

Care workforce (Paid at Level 3 rate as per the Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlements Act 2017)

36 months36 months12 months

Care workforce (Paid at Level 4 rate as per the Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlements Act 2017)

36 months

60 months (5 years)

12 months
Transport sector 36 months

60 months (5 years)

12 months
Seasonal Snow and Adventure Tourism 7 months

60 months (5 years)

12 months

Our Thoughts

While we are in an election year, as a prudent measure, we recommend factoring in the new median wage rate, maximum continuous stay requirements and other AEWV changes when planning recruitment campaigns and relevant strategies/policies. Maximum continuous stay requirements and median wage requirements should be navigated around with care when there is a prospect of supporting a AEWV.

All information in this update is current as at 16 August 2023.

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If you have any questions please get in touch with our immigration experts, we are happy to help!

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