Accredited Employer Work Visa for New Zealand

If you secure employment from a New Zealand company

Policy update 2021!

Update 22 Oct 2021

This implementation of the new Accredited Employer Work Visa initially intended for 1st November 2021, is deferred to 4 July 2022. This new work visa will require that a New Zealand employer is accredited by Immigration New Zealand to hire overseas workers.

This new work visa replaces:

The main temporary work visa option

The Accredited Employer Work visa (AEWV) requires the following:

    • you have an offer of full-time employment in New Zealand (at least 30 hours per week) AND
    • the New Zealand employer is holds Immigration New Zealand accreditation, AND
    • the New Zealand employer has made genuine (though unsuccessful) attempts to find a New Zealander to fill the position. Note, some waivers apply for this job check AND
    • You must be deemed qualified for the position offered, and paid at or above a certain salary threshold
    • You must have and acceptable standard of health and character

Can I be offered employment without holding a visa?

This is a frequent question; have a look at our ‘catch-22’ page.

Salary thresholds

You must be paid at or above the minimum salary threshold (or equivalent hourly rate) in order to be eligible for a 3-year visa. This is typically indexed on the New Zealand median wage which gets reviewed each year in November, set at $27/hour from 19 July 2021. Applicants may also support their partner for a work visa application and dependent children for a student visa application.

Note that Immigration New Zealand will also want to ensure you are paid at "market rate" ie you are offered what a New Zealander would be offered for the same position, based on the experience and the level of responsibility required.

Positions paid below median wage may still qualify for the grant of a 12 months visa renewable, with rights for the partner and dependent children to seek visitor visas only (no work or study rights).

How long can I stay in New Zealand for?

This visa is granted from 6 months to 3 years, may be renewable. You may also study for up to 3 months per year, or as part of your employment (if required by your employer).

Although this visa does not lead to residence, it is often used as a stepping-stone towards an application under the Skilled Migrant Category.


Depending on your situation, your Essential Skills Work Visa may come with conditions. These could specify restrictions in regard to:

    • a specific occupation, and/or
    • a specific employer, and/or
    • a specific location, and/or
    • travel restrictions

Unless your occupation features on one of the Essential Skills in Demand lists, falls under certain waiver criteria or is paid at twice the median wage, your employer will need to prove they have attempted to recruit New Zealanders before they can hire a migrant.

Note, there are no English requirements for this visa, although INZ will expect you to have sufficient English proficiency to fulfil your work obligations.

Can I bring my family with me?

Your family may not be included in your application. However, they may be able to apply separately based on their relationship to you (spouse and dependents). The type of visas they may apply for depends on the salary you are being offered.

Note, this visa will not allow you to be self-employed; you may want to look into the Entrepreneur visa as an alternative option. Talk to us now to discuss your options!