NEW RULES FOR MIGRANT EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENTS
Employers under the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) scheme will not be allowed to use 90-day trial periods for AEWV holders from 29 October 2023.
Currently, small-to-medium Employers (i.e. employers with fewer than 20 employees) accredited under the AEVW scheme may include a 90 day trial provision in their employment agreements. This trial provision gives the employer the ability to dismiss an employee within the first 90 days of employment and remain protected from a personal grievance related to the dismissal.
The new changes remove this ability for AEWV migrant workers. From 29 October 2023, all current accredited Employers submitting Job Checks must not have trial provisions in their employment agreements.
Employers applying for accreditation on or after 29 October 2023 will not be able to use trial provisions for AEWV holders they subsequently employ either. As with all other employees, accredited Employers wishing to dismiss a migrant worker employee who is not working out, will need to ensure they meet their employment law obligations around performance management and follow a fair process before terminating employment.
For employers relying on an employment agreement with a trial provision that was approved before 29 October 2023, the trial period provision remains valid.
Other changes for the AEWV
A new ‘maximum continuous stay’ period for AEWV holders has also been announced, effective from 27 November 2023. Depending on the role offered, the maximum stay period may increase from three years up to five years. For workers coming in for certain roles, they will be able to apply for a five-year working visa. Current employees on an AEWV who meet the criteria can apply for a second Working Visa, to extend their stay to five years if they desire.
To see the eligibility and stay periods for a range of different roles, refer to the immigration.govt.nz website.
How can we help?
If you have any questions about the impacts of these changes, or if you’re interested in becoming an Accredited Employer, please contact Kezia Purdie, who specialises in employment and immigration matters.
WRMK Lawyers has Northland’s largest team of employment law specialists. We help our clients with all their employment processes. If you need help or guidance, please give one of us a call or contact your usual WRMK lawyer for advice.
Our thanks to Law Clerk Georgia Blockley for writing this article.
WRMK Lawyers takes all reasonable care to make sure that the information in this article is up-to-date and accurate at today’s date. It is necessarily general information and not intended as legal advice to be relied upon.
Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in this article. However, the items are necessarily generalised and readers are urged to seek specific advice on particular matters and not rely solely on this text.