Edmonds Judd

migrant workers

Business briefs

Hiring migrant workers: What the new AEWV means for you

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has introduced the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) that replaces and consolidates six temporary work visas.


Employers must now apply for accreditation to hire migrants under the AEWV pathways by showing they are a good employer who will:


  • Run a viable, genuine business which meets certain financial criteria
  • Comply with New Zealand employment and immigration law
  • Commit to pay all recruitment fees, and
  • Assist the migrant with settling in New Zealand.


Once accredited, you (as the employer) can apply to INZ for ‘job checks’ and, in doing so, must provide evidence that:

  • You have recently advertised the role on a national job listing website for at least two weeks to determine whether any suitable New Zealand candidates exist
  • The job meets INZ’s requirements, and
  • You have provided an acceptable offer and an employment agreement to the applicant.


If INZ grants the job check, the relevant role must be filled within six months, or you will have to reapply. INZ will then add the relevant migrant’s details into Immigration Online and send the AEWV applicant a unique link to apply for their visa.


If you have any questions about the AEWV or the accreditation process, please don’t hesitate to contact us or an immigration advisor.


Changes to the Holidays Act on the horizon

For many employers, the Holidays Act 2003 is a constant source of frustration, especially when it comes to calculating pay for annual leave or days in lieu. Getting these calculations wrong, or failing to meet the requirements of the Act, can result in tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of penalties for serious breaches.


The government has signalled upcoming changes to streamline and simplify compliance, hopefully coming in 2023, including:


  • Annual leave payments will be calculated based on the hours in the employment agreement, or averaged over the previous 13 weeks
  • Employees will be entitled to take annual leave in advance, including during their first 12 months of employment
  • Eligibility for alternative holidays will be based on whether an employee worked more than half of the corresponding days over the previous four or 13 weeks (e.g.: if the public holiday is a Monday, the employee must work more than half of the previous four or 13 Mondays to qualify for an alternative holiday)
  • ‘Casual employee’ will be defined for the first time
  • Only casual employees will be eligible to be paid 8% ‘pay-as-you-go’ holiday pay, and
  • Employers will be required to provide pay slips to their employees each pay period.


These proposed changes look very promising, but the current laws will still apply to the upcoming Christmas and summer holidays. Until the changes take effect, all employers must ensure they are compliant with current law.


FMA review of ethical investing highlights need for improvement

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) is urging fund managers to improve disclosures relating to ethical investing after a recent review found that, despite growing demand, New Zealand investors struggle to select managed funds based on ethical and socially responsible credentials.


Based on the review, New Zealand investors will be keen to monitor fund managers’ responses to the FMA’s recommendations. The FMA recommends that fund managers should consider the following:


  • Consolidating disclosures relating to ethical investment practices into an easy-to-read format that investors can easily understand
  • Clearly explaining the criteria used to exclude investing in certain companies or sectors
  • Providing better information to investors about risk and return trade-offs, and the benefits of the fund. One suggested example is to avoid using vague terms such as ‘the fund’s returns will be financial and a reduced climate impact’
  • Ensuring the non-financial outcomes are meaningful, and clearly state the consequences of failing to achieve them, and
  • Ensuring investors better understand the purpose and value of organisations providing assurance, measurement standards or endorsement, such as the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia.


The FMA’s review highlights the need for fund managers to provide a greater level of detail and clarity in disclosures to support their ethical investing claims. If you would like to read the review in full, please click here.


DISCLAIMER: All the information published in Commercial eSpeaking is true and accurate to the best of the authors’ knowledge. It should not be a substitute for legal advice. No liability is assumed by the authors or publisher for losses suffered by any person or organisation relying directly or indirectly on this newsletter. Views expressed are those of individual authors, and do not necessarily reflect the view of Edmonds Judd. Articles appearing in Commercial eSpeaking may be reproduced with prior approval from the editor and credit given to the source.
Copyright, NZ LAW Limited, 2022.     Editor: Adrienne Olsen.       E-mail: [email protected].       Ph: 029 286 3650

Over the fence

2021 resident visa pathway for migrant workers

A new pathway for migrant workers to gain residency was introduced on 29 September 2021 by Immigration Minister, the Hon Kris Faafoi. This is a one-off resident visa that is targeted for up to 165,000 migrants — including around 9,000 primary industry workers.

In order to comply, a worker must have been in New Zealand on 29 September 2021 and be already subject to an eligible visa or have an application for an eligible visa submitted to Immigration New Zealand by this date. They must also meet one of the following three grounds:

  1. ‘Settled’ worker: lived in New Zealand for at least the past three years
  2. ‘Skilled’ worker: earn the median wage ($27 per hour) or above, or
  3. ‘Scarce’ worker: their role is on a scarce role list.

Since 1 December 2021 migrants who have already applied for residency under certain applications will be eligible to apply under any of the above three categories; these applicants will be notified by Immigration New Zealand. From 1 March 2022 all other eligible migrants can apply.

The pathway is particularly targeted at the primary sector to reflect the difficulties in recruiting workers due to Covid.

It is important to note that this is not a permanent resident visa. An eligibility checker is available on Immigration New Zealand’s website here. Applications will be prioritised and, as a result, Skilled Migrant Expressions of Interest will be frozen until 31 July 2022 when the 2021 resident visa pathway closes.

Covid on the farm

Prevention plans

With the ever-changing nature of Covid, prevention plans are key to keep the virus off your farm. When developing a prevention plan, it’s important to communicate and involve all parties. This includes discussions with your staff, contractors and suppliers so everyone can understand the risks involved and the procedures in place to negate them.

Communication should not stop when a plan is formed, it should be regularly revisited and adjusted if required. It is important to have a plan that reflects the new traffic light system that began on 3 December 2021.

What to include

The plan needs to consider both the people involved and animal welfare. It is important to consider ways to minimise contact between individuals, both within your workplace and with people outside of your workplace. Cleaning procedures, physical distancing, and the physical and mental health of your employees must all be considered when implementing a prevention plan.

What if Covid gets onto the farm?

If one of your workers, a member of their immediate family, or you or your family test positive for Covid or are considered a close contact there should be procedures in place so that your farming operations can continue. This includes ensuring livestock and crops are still cared for should any of your team members be required to self-isolate in a quarantine facility. This is why splitting shifts and creating work bubbles could be beneficial. The Ministry for Primary Industries is available to help co-ordinate services to provide for your animals’ welfare should that be needed.

All farmers must notify their suppliers and contractors should someone on your farm test positive.

Vaccinations and employee rights

In late November the Covid-19 Response (Vaccinations) Legislation Act was passed; this has significant implications on the rights of employees. Employees can now be subject to vaccine mandates by either working in an employment sector required to be vaccinated against Covid by government orders, or working for a business or farm that introduces a company policy mandating vaccination.

Employers must follow certain procedures when introducing a vaccine mandate. You must consider a number of factors when determining what roles require a vaccinated employee. These are expected to include the risk of exposure, transmission, proximity and whether the risk can be mitigated. For some rural sector businesses, interaction with customers and with other staff members is limited and therefore the risk is minimal; this may differ vastly to another business. Therefore the risk associated with a role will be dependent on its responsibilities and the nature of the business itself.

Workers whose role requires vaccination, and who choose not to have the vaccination, still have rights. Employers must exhaust all other avenues before termination including considering redeployment elsewhere. If it is no longer possible to carry out work without being vaccinated, a minimum of four weeks’ paid notice is required.

If one of your unvaccinated employees decides during this time to get vaccinated the notice will then be cancelled, unless it would unreasonably disrupt your workplace. Your employee will not be prevented from the standard entitlements granted on termination if they decide to remain unvaccinated and is able to bring a personal grievance against the business.

The situation around Covid matters is ever-changing; therefore we recommend that you check the government’s Covid websites regularly or talk with us.

DISCLAIMER: All the information published in Rural eSpeaking is true and accurate to the best of the authors’ knowledge. It should not be a substitute for legal advice. No liability is assumed by the authors or publisher for losses suffered by any person or organisation relying directly or indirectly on this newsletter. Views expressed are those of individual authors, and do not necessarily reflect the view of Edmonds Judd. Articles appearing in Rural eSpeaking may be reproduced with prior approval from the editor and credit given to the source.
Copyright, NZ LAW Limited, 2021.     Editor: Adrienne Olsen.       E-mail: [email protected].       Ph: 029 286 3650