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Understanding the Changes for AEWV and Partner Visas

In today's post, I would like to delve into the Accredited Employer Work Visa, which is often the first step for many overseas individuals beginning their journey in New Zealand.

As many of you may know, the previous government consolidated six different work visa types into one, known as the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV). This means that New Zealand companies seeking to hire overseas workers must undergo an accreditation process to qualify to support a migrant.

The AEWV process consists of three stages:

  1. Employer accreditation: This confirms that the company is a legal entity, sustainable, and compliant with employment and immigration laws.

  2. Job check application: This is a formal application for a specific position in which the company seeks suitable professionals. It includes the role, minimum and maximum hourly rates, remuneration, place of work, and all requirements the company expects from candidates.

  3. Work Visa application: This must be submitted by the migrant or their representatives. It is the actual work visa application. The employer must provide the applicant with a job token, a unique code allowing the applicant to initiate the visa application process.

For the first two stages, the employer must pay the relevant application fees. For stage 3, the applicant (in some cases, the company) is responsible for payment, though this is uncommon.

The AEWV can be granted for up to 5 years if the hourly rate is at or above the current median wage of $29.66.

If the rate is lower and there is a sector agreement, a 2-year work visa may be granted. In cases where there is no direct pathway to a residence visa, applicants must leave the country for 12 months before reapplying for a new visa (provided they meet the role criteria).

This period is known as the "stand-down period."

But how does this affect the partners of these workers who wish to accompany them?

Previously, workers could bring their families if they met an annual income threshold. Partners were granted open work visas, allowing them to work for any employer, full- or part-time, in any region, role, or even be self-employed.

How did this change last year?

To be eligible for an open work visa as a partner of a worker, the principal applicant must meet a high income threshold. 

Here is a summary of the options:

Partner Open work visa Partner work visa

  • Can work for any employer Can only work for an accredited employer

  • Can be paid any hourly rate Can be paid at or above the median wage

  • Self-employment is allowed No self-employment

  • Can work in any role Can work in any role

  • Can work anywhere Can work anywhere

  • No job offer needed No job offer needed

  • No job token needed No job token needed

  • Can work full-or part-time Can work full-or part-time

  • Need to prove living together Need to prove living together

Eligibility for a partner open work visa depends on the AEWV holder's income and occupation status:

  • AEWV holders earning only the median wage ($29.66) and not on the Green List (a List of Occupations that are in high demand in New Zealand), their partner will only be eligible for a partner work visa.

  • AEWV holders earning twice the median wage (currently $59.32) and their occupation is on the Green List, their partner will be eligible for an open work visa.

The requirements for an open work visa are stricter than in the past.

Before applying for a partnership-based work visa, consider the factors mentioned above to avoid disappointment.


Harmony Immigration can assist you in various ways on your journey including comprehensive immigration services under one roof, crafting personalised CV, preparing you for job, visa interviews & IELTS exam, connecting you with potential employers, translating & verifying legal documents.

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image credit: @MarandaP


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