last updated 01/09/2023
Franchisees miss out as visa policy review delayed
last updated 01/09/2023
4 July 2023 – MBIE has delayed an expected review of its treatment of franchisee-owned businesses under its Accredited Employer Work Visa programme
The Accredited Employer Work Visa policy implemented in July 2022 singled out franchisees for special treatment. The policy saw franchisee-owned businesses being charged $1980 for accreditation under the scheme, versus the $740 charged to non-franchised businesses. Other conditions meant that, in practice, franchisees were being charged more than five times as much as an independent business owner to hire the same employees.
At the time of its introduction, MBIE advised that, ‘A review of the Accredited Employer Work Visa scheme is expected in 2023, after the scheme has been operating for a year.’
In this article explaining why the policy was being introduced, Andrew Craig of MBIE told Franchise New Zealand, ‘We’ll review the settings in a year or so’s time and see what they look like, and we can make informed decisions.’
However, the planned review has now been postponed until around mid-next year.
Andrew Craig told us last week, ‘It is, and has been, our intention to review the franchise accreditation settings once we have some evidence about risks we have or have not seen from accredited employers. The compliance check programme is now underway, but will take time to gather data. MBIE is currently planning to undertake a review around mid-next year, at which time we’ll look to have some compliance data to support any recommendations for change.
‘The focus from Immigration New Zealand has been on getting the new visa set up and working well. Therefore the commencement of some of the additional compliance activity was deferred so the data we’d use for any review will take a while to accrue. Review work is also as always subject to Ministerial priorities.’
In the meantime, the extension of accreditation announced earlier this year means that employers who applied for accreditation before 4 July 2023 will automatically receive a 24-month first accreditation.
A group from the Franchise Association will be meeting with MBIE Immigration officials in the coming weeks to discuss concerns regarding the more stringent requirements and higher fees for franchise businesses, and to request that urgent changes be made to put all businesses on a level playing field.
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