Independent review into the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV)

An independent review into the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) scheme was announced in August 2023.

The review was led by Jenn Bestwick and looked at the appropriateness of all aspects of the employer accreditation and job check processes undertaken by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) as part of the AEWV scheme.

The objective of the review was to determine whether INZ’s administration of the scheme was being carried out appropriately, with a focus on mitigating the risk of migrant exploitation and irregular migration.

The review was published in February 2024 by Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission. It made 10 specific recommendations around reducing the risk of migrant exploitation, developing an integrated compliance and system monitoring model, improving intelligence gathering and resetting the relationship between INZ’s senior leaders and frontline staff.

Review into administration of work force visa scheme released(external link) — Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission

MBIE accepted all the Review’s findings and recommendations, and acknowledged the serious nature of the issues that were raised in the review. 

MBIE responds to review on Accredited Employer Work Visa

MBIE’s progress in addressing the review’s recommendations

MBIE has a programme of work underway to ensure a coordinated and priority response is undertaken to respond to the review’s recommendations.

We have already delivered 6 recommendations.  

Completed recommendations 

Recommendation 1(b) - An operational framework guiding the use of General Instructions, their duration, content, review and use. 

Action: An operational framework was agreed on 26 April 2024 on how general instructions should be used in future for the manner of processing.

Recommendation 1(e) - Further embed appropriate and effective governance structures to provide governance oversight across the system model outlined above.

Action: Immigration system governance is in place and is operational. This will be monitored and refined as needed.

Recommendation 2(b) - Introduce a priority lane and processing pathway for Green List applications. 

Action: The Deputy Secretary Immigration agreed to amend the general instructions for the order of processing to prioritise the allocation of certain AEWV job check and work visa applications for processing.

Recommendation 3(a) - Strengthen existing and consider developing further formal feedback loops with Non-Government Organisations and community groups working with migrant communities.

Action: A range of meetings have been held with representatives from Non-Government Organisations. The work required to meet the intent of this review will need to be maintained, and will remain a focus of the dedicated programme.

Recommendation 4(b) - Completing the Implementation of AERMR as it was originally designed.

Action: The first year of Accredited Employer Risk Monitoring and Review (AERMR) has been completed.

Recommendation 10 - The Review further recommends that INZ provide regular reports to the Minister on its progress in addressing recommendations 1 to 9 of this review.

Action: The Minister of Immigration approved the work programme in May 2024. Monthly progress reports will be provided to the Minister.

Next steps

Work is underway to respond to the remaining recommendations. Good progress is being made on completing the remaining recommendations by the end of this calendar year. 3 recommendations will take longer as they relate to a larger piece of work being managed separately.

Timeframes for addressing the remaining recommendations can be found in the report below.