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Industry Update: Immigration NZ Employer Accreditation

Do you like you are the only one feeling overloaded by all the employment changes?

I’m here to give you comfort in knowing that you are not.  Many clients our team are working with are feeling overwhelmed and are also getting bombarded by requests for free update webinars and workshops on these upcoming various changes.  There are only so many hours in the day.  So, is it urgent for you to attend these events?

Firstly, in times like these I urge you to pause, breathe and reflect.  Some of these workshops are helpful but please do not fall prey to the sales pitch of ‘act now or miss out’ or ‘you have to do this to comply’, then get tied into template package deal.

I am a black sheep when it comes to government change.  It brings out the maverick in me. In times like these, I instead ask you:

  1. What is working well for you already?
  2. How does that tie into these changes?
  3. What are your gaps?
  4. What are the real timeframes for you?
  5. Is this truly urgent and is it causing you to lay awake at night?

In typical fashion, when it comes to immigration, fair pay agreements and holidays act review, we are still waiting for the details. Key pieces of the jigsaw puzzle are missing.  Therefore now is the time to be proactive. Think through how you would like your culture and values to be represented, and what are the key employment deliverables you have known for a while need attention.  Then just start chipping away at the list.

Focus on what you can do and how you can work to create memorable and lasting employment journeys, and retain your people for as long as possible.  If you do this right, then generally speaking you will be 90% of the way there.

We have information and views on three key upcoming changes, but rather than add to the deluge, I will be drip feeding these over the next 3 weeks.

  • Part 1 – Immigration NZ – Employer Accreditation Programme
  • Part 2 – Fair Pay Agreements
  • Part 3 – Increased Sick Leave Entitlements
I will give you the highlight reel and point you in the direction of where the details are.  If you want to know all the gritty details you could be waiting. It is not there yet!  Please hold caller.
I have referred to the upcoming Holidays Act changes, and there are due to drop early in 2022. I am no rush to overload you any further.  That update will come later this year.
Sourcing talented people and Immigration NZ

It was only a matter of time before Employer’s would be required by Government to demonstrate their employment practices, it was just a matter of which agency would lead it. Immigration NZ has put up their hand and are introducing an ‘Employer Accreditation Programme’.

From 1 November 2021, to employ a migrant on a visa, you must be an accredited employer by Immigration NZ. To obtain this accreditation, you will have to outline what your employment practices are and how these apply to your workforce, irrespective of their visa status. No double standards allowed.

Employer accreditation requirements
What does it all mean and what does it involve?

Very good question. The devil is in the detail as always, and the answer is; we are still waiting on the details to be released.

In a nutshell, what we do know is that Immigration NZ (INZ) will be seeking information on the following:

Some employers may need to provide evidence showing they are in a sound financial position
Employers must not have a recent history of regulatory non-compliance
Employers must take steps to minimise the risk of exploitation

To give you an idea of where INZ is heading with the phrase – ‘Minimising the risk of exploitation’. It is about having good employment practices and a workplace culture that are anchored on healthy employment relationships and experiences.

INZ will want you to demonstrate how you are acting in good faith. Even without the details, it has been highlighted that INZ will be looking beyond your documents. They will want to know how you commit to living this obligation day in day out.

Evidence they may ask for could include details about – how you make decisions, undertake reviews, and communicate with your people. So, in actual fact, we are starting to talk about your culture now.

Pause. Breathe.

You won’t have to apply for accreditation until your next employee is due for visa renewal or if you want to hire a migrant from 1 November onwards. But do bear in mind your accreditation only lasts for 12 months and you must have employer accreditation and undergo a job check before the employee can apply.

Have a read through the Immigration NZ website for more details and to download the factsheet about the Employer Accreditation programme.

My Advice – Work through the questions I posed earlier, and start chipping away at it, so you are ready when you need to apply. But you don’t have to struggle through this alone.

Help is here for you. Lets talk co-creation and collaboration.
Getting things like handbooks and induction processes updated doesn’t happen overnight. It also could be a good time to decide whether to move away from the conventional bureaucratic templates and branch out to more of a real refreshed look. People value authenticity and genuineness more than ever, and these values are your greatest retention tool.

A Discovery session with me or one of the team, creates insights you may have not had before. We look well beyond whether you have all the policies and employment agreement clauses you need. We consider how your policies reflect your culture and how they are used across your workforce. Do they align? We do this by interviewing a range of people from your team. We obtain unique and diverse insights during these interviews.

Then we bring the immigration lens with help from Karen Russell and her team from Leading HR and Immigration. As more information and details come to light, she will be preparing resources for us to share with you, and to inform how businesses need to adapt to these changes.

We enjoy working with Karen as she gets HR and she gets business. As well as immigration, she has other strings to her bow that makes her great to work with. She has years of experience working as a HR Manager, and Consultant specialising in Lean and Agile for the FMCG sector.

As a heads up, any recruitment projects we do with you from September onwards, we will be getting Karen’s advice as we work through the process. Her advice will be valuable for you and your prospective migrant employees getting visas with less fuss and challenges.


Keep an eye out for Part 2 – Fair Pay Agreements next week