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Accredited Employer Work Visa Review


Public Service Commission unveiled the findings of an independent external review into the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) program. This inquiry, initiated in August of the previous year by the then Minister of Immigration, sought to scrutinise the effectiveness and appropriateness of the employer accreditation and job check processes as implemented by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) under the AEWV scheme.

A notable concern was the inadequate attention senior INZ leadership paid to apprehensions voiced by certain staff regarding the AEWV’s risk settings.

Key Findings:

The decision by the Deputy Secretary – Immigration to issue directives aimed at curtailing the processing times for AEWV was deemed reasonable. This approach was primarily influenced by the imperative need to facilitate access to migrant labour following the nation’s border reopening.
The review highlighted that INZ ought to have carried out a structured risk assessment prior to the issuance of these instructions, despite their eventual appropriateness.
It was found that the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) should have conducted a dedicated risk assessment before extending these instructions, notwithstanding the targeted risk monitoring and review efforts that were undertaken.


The review puts forth 10 specific recommendations aimed at mitigating the risk of migrant exploitation and enhancing overall program integrity. These include the development of an integrated compliance and system monitoring model, the improvement of intelligence gathering mechanisms, and the need to rejuvenate the relationship between INZ’s senior leaders and their frontline staff.

Context and Implications:

The launch of the AEWV scheme coincided with the post-COVID-19 reopening of New Zealand’s borders, a period marked by an unprecedented surge in visa applications. The review acknowledges the extreme pressures faced by INZ during this time to process a significant volume of applications swiftly.

Since 30 June of the previous year, adjustments have been made to the AEWV scheme, introducing additional checks and consequently extending processing times. Despite these challenges, the scheme has been instrumental in enabling employers to recruit essential migrant labour, thereby contributing significantly to the national economy.

The complete review document is accessible on the Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission website, offering comprehensive insights into the AEWV scheme’s operational dynamics and suggesting a roadmap for future improvements.