Immigration NZ staff speak out about AEWV system

Workers claim 'potentially thousands of businesses shouldn't have got accreditation'

Immigration NZ staff speak out about AEWV system

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) employees say they have been pointing out flaws in the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) system to their upper management for the last year, but their warnings have been falling on deaf ears.

One INZ staffer expressed their frustration to Stuff, saying, “Senior managers aren’t being honest about how shit the AEWV system is... We know it is f....d, and we’ve been telling upper management for 12 months it is f....d."

The AEWV system, launched in May of the previous year, aimed to enhance the efficiency of the work visa process. It invites employers who want to hire overseas staff to apply for accreditation.

An instruction from Alison McDonald, MBIE’s deputy secretary, immigration, told staff to skip checks on almost all applications under the scheme, according to Stuff, and apparently only two employers, from 27,894 applicants, have been declined accreditation under the system.

“There was not any appetite for declining accreditations... we had to approve them, and it became a tick box exercise," said an INZ staff member in the report. “Now, what we have is thousands of migrants exploited and potentially thousands of businesses that shouldn’t have got accreditation.”

This pressure to process applications swiftly without addressing potential risks paints a worrying picture of a system failing to protect both migrants and New Zealand’s interests, said Stuff. Critics say it has caused a boom in migrant exploitation; some migrants have paid up to $30,000 for jobs that don’t exist.

On Friday, McDonald sent a note to staff saying she “fully supported” the minister’s decision to commission a review after Newshub reported 115 Bangladeshi and Indian migrants crammed into six houses, said the report.

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