AEWV or Fishing Crew Work Category updates
New sector agreements from 31 October allow some exemptions from the median wage requirements for migrants hired on an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) or a Fishing Crew Work Visa.
The agreements cover the care workforce, construction and infrastructure, meat processing, seafood, and seasonal snow and adventure tourism sectors.
They have been developed in consultation with sector bodies and unions, and tailored to each sector’s workforce needs and conditions.
Each sector agreement includes various expectations for improvement, and progress on these will be taken into account in future decisions about their access to migrant workers below the median wage.
To use sector agreements, employers just need to follow the normal Accredited Employer Work Visa or Fishing Crew Work Visa process.
Hiring migrants on the AEWV
Employers wishing to hire migrants on the AEWV can pay less than the median wage if the role they want to fill is on this list, noting that they must still meet the pay threshold in the relevant sector agreement.
Stand-down periods apply for some sectors. This means AEWV holders paid below the median wage must spend a set amount of time outside New Zealand before they can get another AEWV at below the median wage.
When their visa expires, AEWV holders paid below the median wage can move onto another visa type or onto another AEWV paid at the median wage or higher. However, any further time spent in New Zealand will not count towards the stand-down period.
Meat workers and seafood process workers will not be able to get another AEWV for work paid below the median wage until the following season.
Median wage changes
The median wage will change from February 2023. This will affect the wage threshold for construction and infrastructure, meat processing, onshore seafood processing and seasonal snow and adventure tourism sectors.
Some sectors have a limit on the number of workers they can hire below the median wage each year. The cap for each sector is:
Meat processing: 320
Foreign fishing crew: 940 (Approval in Principle applies)
Seafood processing (onshore) 600
The Meat Industry Association (MIA) and Seafood New Zealand will allocate these caps. MIA and Seafood New Zealand will contact employers through industry channels with further information on getting a share of the cap.
Migrants hired as foreign fishing crew will be covered by the Fishing Crew Work Visa, rather than the AEWV.