Newsflash: Work Visa Changes for 2021

 In immigration, immigration issues
15 December 2020

Newsflash: Work Visa Changes for 2021


A big change is on the way for Work Visas in mid-2021. A new three step process will apply for all work visas in New Zealand. A number of existing classes of work visa will be abolished and replaced with an ‘employer assisted work visa’. Find out if these changes apply to you. 


What are the three steps?

The three steps will be:


  1. Employer Check – The Employer applies for Accreditation.
  2. Job check – Employers will apply for a job check to ensure no suitable New Zealanders are available.
  3. Migrant Worker Check- The worker applies for a work visa.

Which work visas does it apply to?

The new employer-assisted work visa replaces these 6 work visas:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa
  • Essential Skills Work Visa — approved in principle
  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa
  • Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa
  • Silver Fern Job Search Visa (closed 7 October 2019)
  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa.

It is expected that workers who currently hold these visas will be able to stay on them up until their visa expires. Following on from mid-2021 holders of these visas will have to apply for the new ‘Employer Assisted Work Visa’.

Which visas does it not apply to?

 The following work visas will remain separate from the Employer Assisted Work Visa.

  •  Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Limited Visa
  • Working holiday schemes
  • Post-study Work Visa
  • Fishing Crew Work Visa
  • Religious Worker Work Visa
  • Specific Purpose Work Visa
  • partnership work visas including Partner of a Worker Work Visa, Partner of a New Zealander Work Visa and Partner of a Student Work Visa
  • work visas granted for international or humanitarian reasons, such as domestic staff of diplomats, consular and official staff, and for refugee or protection status claimants.

 These visas have their own separate requirements.

 What is the ‘employer check’?

 The ‘employer check’ system will replace the existing ‘approval in principle  -AIP’, accredited employer scheme and Labour Hire accreditation.

These systems will be replaced by an ‘employer check’ – which will have two classes – Standard Accreditation (for those who require 5 workers or less) and High-volume accreditation (for those wanting to hire 6 workers or more).

To gain standard accreditation – an employer must not be on a ‘stand down list’ of non compliant employers and must be in compliance with all relevant regulations. For high-volume accreditation there must be a commitment to improving pay and conditions as well as efforts to recruit and train New Zealanders.

What is the Job Check?

 The job check will be assessed on the following factors.

  • Pay being at market rate;
  • Terms and conditions of the job comply with employment law;
  • Has a labour market test been done (advertising, skills match report etc).

When is this happening?

 These changes are expected to be implemented in 2021 with more information being released in early 2021 including the nature of accreditation, the job check and the fees required for an Employer Assisted Work Visa.

What should I do to prepare?

While the changes are up to six months away. Employers and work visa holders should start making preparations now.

Please contact Idesi Legal at for more information.
At Idesi Legal we provide help for migrants and refugees coming to New Zealand. If you’re a NZ migrant and need help with the immigration process, get in touch.

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