The New Zealand Government has recently announced changes to the immigration system that provide increased protection and support for migrant workers. Here we look at the key changes and explore the benefits for migrant workers on Accredited Employer Work Visas.
The changes, effective from 29th October 2023, include short-term financial support for people on the Migrant Exploitation Protection Work Visa (MEPV) to help pay for accommodation and living expenses while they search for a job that allows them to stay in New Zealand. This financial support is only available to migrants on the MEPV who are not currently employed.
In addition, migrant workers on Accredited Employer Work Visas (AEWV) will no longer be subject to the 90-day trial period. This change is aimed at encouraging accredited employers to treat migrant workers fairly and only recruit someone when they have a genuine labour need or skills gap to fill.
The MEPV holders can now apply for a second MEPV, giving them more time to search for a job. The second visa is for up to 6 months or until the expiry of their original work visa, whichever is the lesser. To apply for a second MEPV, migrants must meet all visa requirements and demonstrate that they made reasonable efforts to find a job that would qualify them for an AEWV.
The changes also affect triangular employers who employ migrants to work at other businesses’ premises. Triangular employers must prove their financial viability when applying for or renewing their Accredited Employer accreditation. Triangular employers recruiting migrants for construction site work will need at least 35% of their workforce of New Zealanders, an increase from the current 15%.
These changes are a step towards protecting migrant workers from exploitation and ensuring that they are treated fairly. The government is committed to providing support for those in need, and this new financial support and job search assistance for MEPV holders is a positive development.
It's important to note that the financial support is available until March 2024, so if you're a migrant worker on the MEPV and you're struggling to find a job, make sure you apply for this support. The changes to the immigration system are a welcome development, and we hope to see more positive changes in the future that benefit migrant workers and their families.
The VisaMaxNZ team can help with Accredited Employer Work Visas for businesses employing migrant workers or individuals seeking a visa. Contact our professional and friendly team today.