2023 Top tips for Recruiting and retaining skilled international workers

12 Jan, 2023

Recruiting and retaining skilled people from overseas in 2023?

The past year was jam-packed with new immigration policies and changes, as you will have experienced!

We’ve put together the following tips to help you recap and prepare for 2023

Tip #1 Mandatory employer accreditation for New Zealand employers wanting to hire migrant workers


With the implementation of the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV), employers hiring skilled international workers must be accredited with Immigration New Zealand (INZ).

Employers who apply for their first accreditation by 4 July 2023 will be given an automatic 12-month extension, bringing the total validity to 24 months. We recommend you get underway, if you haven’t already, to take advantage of this one-off opportunity!

If you hold Standard Accreditation and need to hire more than 5 AEWVs, we can assist with your upgrade application.

Another update from December is, if you are only hiring employees on other types of visas (e.g. Post Study, Working Holiday, Partner, Students), the accreditation requirement has been deferred until 2024.

Tip #2 Employers in New Zealand must know their settlement obligations when hiring workers from overseas


As an Accredited Employer, you must assist all new arrivals with their settlement into New Zealand.

This includes providing them with necessary settlement information and allowing time, during paid work hours within their first month of employment, to complete Employment Learning Modules.
To avoid issues in maintaining your accreditation, ensure your induction process is set up correctly.

Unsure of Immigration New Zealands’ employer settlement requirements?
Get in touch and we’ll send you a list.

Tip #3 New Zealand employers must create a supportive work environment for workers they hire from overseas


Many migrants do not have family or friends in New Zealand and have to build their network from scratch. Having a supportive “work family” and company culture will help create a sense of belonging and community.

Take time to understand the values and work styles of your new employee’s culture. This will also help with engagement and bringing out their strengths in the workplace.

As immigration updates can create confusion amongst the workplace, our Licensed Immigration Advisers can visit your team on site to explain current visa conditions, pathways and options. Employees feel supported, informed and reassured and this helps them remain focused on their job without distractions.

Get in touch if you’d like our team to meet with your team!

Tip #4 New Zealand employers must meet wage requirements to hire migrant workers


The current median wage is $27.76/h. This will increase to $29.66/h from 27 February 2023 and any applications lodged thereafter must meet new wage requirements.

For roles covered under the Sector Agreements, the wage requirements are lower but will also be increasing.

For selected hospitality roles, the median wage exemption is in place until April 2023.

In the last 6 months our team has processed 280 Job Checks and 828 AEWVs!

Contact us to ensure your Job Check and AEWV applications are prepared and lodged quickly prior to changes taking place.

Tip #5 NZ employers should be aware of visa conditions and requirements when hiring migrant workers


As new employees commence work, and existing employees return from holiday, a full review of everyones’ visa conditions will prevent non-compliance.

In addition, make sure you are up-to-date with employees’ visa expiry dates. Have a chat with them so they know you are aware and will be supporting them with the renewal process. This gives employees peace of mind and may prevent them from considering other employment opportunities.

Employees who entered New Zealand via the border exemption pathway will now have visas due to expire. A new policy has been created to enable these people to apply for Specific Purpose Work Visas, rather than AEWVs.

Keep an eye out for next week’s email on the pros and cons of each option, to determine which is best for your situation.

Tip #6 NZ employers should support migrant workers with immigration and residence pathways


In 2022, the Skilled Migrant Category reopened and new residence categories such as the Green List were created.

Registered Nurses and Midwives were added to the Green List “Straight to Residence” pathway in December 2022 and from March 2023, 10 new roles will be added to the Green List “Work to Residence” pathway.

Bus and truck drivers will also have a time limited residence pathway through a sector agreement.

Click here for a list of roles included on the Green List.

Thousands of quality candidates are looking at New Zealand as a destination of choice and taking action. As well as having your Accreditation, ensuring you have Job Check tokens will allow you to make offers and have ideal candidates apply straight away.

Ensuring your international workers are thoroughly and accurately informed of their visa conditions, options and pathways will benefit your business!

Accessing information from a Licensed Immigration Adviser, provides clarity and direction. We can assess your employee’s eligibility for residence and clarify their residence pathways and requirements.

Top #7 NZ employers should assist their migrant work force with upskilling opportunities

Something practical you can do to support your workers is help them improve their English language skills. Although English isn’t a requirement for most Temporary Visa categories (e.g. the AEWV), it’s mandatory for many Residence Visa categories.

Most applicants who aren’t from English-speaking countries will need to take an English language test if they’re planning to apply for residence. The sooner they pass, the sooner they can put more focus and energy into their job.

We can arrange teachers to run English lessons for your employees!

As always, our team are here to help you get prepared and organised so please get in touch and see how we can assist.