The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) is a temporary visa which gives individuals the right to live and work in New Zealand for up to five years.
To be eligible, applicants must have a job offer from an accredited employer for at least 30 hours per week. This visa is a potential pathway to long-term residence in New Zealand and allows holders who meet the minimum income requirement to sponsor visas for their partner and children.
Who can apply for an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV)?
To be eligible for an AEWV, individuals must:
- Have received a job offer from an accredited employer in New Zealand for a minimum of 30 hours work per week
- Have the necessary qualifications to do the work they have been offered
- Hold any occupational registration required to do the work they have been offered, or hold official confirmation that they are eligible to be registered
- Meet New Zealand’s standard good character and health requirements for visa applicants
- If they have held an AEWV previously, have spent the required time outside New Zealand (in most cases, 12 months) to meet ‘maximum continuous stay’ rules
Important: New Zealand’s ‘maximum continuous stay’ rules changed on 27 November 2023 for all AEWV holders. Please be aware of the new rules if you held or considered applying for this visa prior to this date.
What does an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) offer?
Individuals granted an AEWV are permitted to:
- Work for an accredited employer in New Zealand, providing they do so for at least 30 hours per week
- Undertake study, either as part of their employment or for up to three months a year if unrelated to their employment
- Apply for New Zealand residence visas such as the Straight to Residence Visa or Work to Residence Visa, provided they are eligible
- Use skilled work experience they have gained in New Zealand towards their points total for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa
- Use their visa as a basis for an application for a work or visitor visa for their partner, or a student or visitor visa for their children
How do I apply for an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV)?
All applicants for an AEWV must first ensure that they have a written job offer from an employer who has been recognised as an accredited employer in New Zealand. This job offer must be included with the application and should include details of the role, a full job description and a contract or other formal employment agreement.
Accredited employers are required to demonstrate that the job they are offering has been advertised in New Zealand, and that there is nobody suitable in New Zealand available to take the job instead.
In addition, applicants should expect to provide:
- proof of their identity
- police certificates from any country they are a citizen of, or that they have spent more than five years in since they turned 17
- in some circumstances, proof of good health or their ‘genuine intention’ to meet the conditions of an AEWV
Applications can cost up to NZD $750 but may be free of charge depending on the applicant’s nationality.
Around 80% of applications for an Accredited Employer Work Visa are processed within 7 weeks.
What are the ‘maximum continuous stay’ rules?
New Zealand authorities introduced new rules on 27 November 2023 for all holders of an Accredited Employer Work Visa. These limit the amount of time that AEWV holders can stay in New Zealand without leaving the country and spending a minimum amount of time outside New Zealand, after which they will be able to apply for a new AEWV if eligible.
The maximum continuous stay for AEWV holders who are paid at least the median wage (NZD $31.61/hour from February 2024 to February 2025) is five years. AEWV holders who work in the care sector and who are paid NZD $26.16/hour have a maximum continous stay of three years.
Other AEWV holders who are paid below the median wage have maximum continuous stays of between seven months and three years, depending on the job sector in which they work.
Once an AEWV holder has reached their maximum continuous stay, they will usually have to spend at least 12 months outside New Zealand before they can return to the country on another AEWV. For individuals working in meat or onshore seafood processing, this period is reduced to four months.
Mohamed Anas Sirajur Raheem
BA (Political Studies), LLB (VUW)
Mohamed is a New Zealand Immigration Consultant with VisaEnvoy and an enrolled Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.
He is a former New Zealand Immigration Officer (Visa Services) and Border Officer at Auckland International Airport. He has several years of experience working in various Government Departments in New Zealand and has also worked as a Licensed Immigration Adviser at a prominent New Zealand Immigration firm.
His areas of expertise and interest are in the fields of General Skilled Migration, Temporary Work (Long and Short Stay), Business visas, Partner, Parent and Child Visa streams.
Mohamed was inspired to pursue a career in immigration by his own migration experiences. Over the years he has assisted individuals, families, large corporations, Professional sportspeople, and Entertainers (singers, speakers, and actors) to come to New Zealand.