Employing migrants already in New Zealand

Migrant employer information including Recognised Seasonal Employer and Seasonal Supplementary Employer.

Visas

Visa extensions and visa conditions

Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme 

The Government has extended the RSE cap to 19,000 places for the 2022/2023 season. 

RSE workers who want to return for the 2022/2023 season may have their stand-down period reduced from 4 to 2 months. To qualify, workers must apply from outside New Zealand and have been in New Zealand between 1 April and 31 July 2022.

All RSE workers must be paid at least $22.10 per hour and for a minimum of 30 hours per week.

Applicants from a country with a low-incidence of tuberculosis (including Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu) do not need to provide a chest x-ray if they plan to be in New Zealand for 12 months or less.

Applicants from other countries need to provide a chest x-ray, regardless of how long they plan to stay in New Zealand.

Countries with a low incidence of tuberculosis

Workers still in New Zealand who want to move to an employer not covered by their RSE Limited Visa must apply for a new RSE limited visa.

RSE workers who apply for a further RSE Limited Visa in New Zealand, to stay beyond the normal maximum period and who intend to be in New Zealand for more than 24 months (including time already spent in New Zealand) do not need to provide police certificates with their application.

If an RSE worker in New Zealand is sick and needs to isolate for 7 days their employer must make appropriate accommodation and pastoral care facilities available for them. RSE workers are insured for medical treatment for any presenting conditions, including COVID-19.

RSE workers are entitled to government funding if they get sick or have to isolate themselves while working in New Zealand (from the start date of their contract). Employers are responsible for applying for this funding to pay their workers.

Recognised Seasonal Employer Limited Visa 

One-off 'bridging' limited visa for RSE workers

A three month ‘bridging’ limited visa is available for some RSE workers whose visas are due to expire and they cannot be repatriated.

This means workers can work for a Recognised Seasonal Employer while they await a rescheduled flight.

Visas will be granted to those who:

  • are in New Zealand,
  • hold RSE limited visas that expire in 30 days or less,
  • are unable to be repatriated to their home country before their visa expires because they have either booked a flight which has been cancelled, or are booked on the next available flight which is after the date of their visa expiry,
  • have an employment agreement with an RSE, and
  • are named by the RSE in an undertaking that has been provided to Immigration New Zealand.

An Agreement to Recruit (ATR) or RSE Limited Visa application is not required. There is no application fee.

Employers are required to submit an undertaking to Immigration New Zealand. This confirms that the worker is awaiting repatriation, and that the employer will take all reasonable steps to provide full time work and provide pastoral care.

RSE Undertaking for the grant of Limited Visas for certain RSE workers awaiting repatriation PDF 246KB

Verify visa date and other details | Visa Verification Service

Travel to Pacific Island countries 

New Zealand and Pacific Island governments are working to support the repatriation of RSE workers who want to return home. RSE workers can continue to work, while they wait for flights or for their home country border restrictions to be lifted. 

Pacific workers here who need to go home urgently should register with their High Commission or Consulate. 

Supplementary Seasonal Employment (SSE) visas

Supplementary Seasonal Employment (SSE) visas allow the holders to work in horticulture and viticulture seasonal roles where there are not enough New Zealanders or RSE workers available.

Employers should prioritise RSE workers for roles.

Employment laws

You have responsibility for: 

  • pastoral care
  • knowing where workers are going
  • any changes that may breach visa conditions.

Workers in New Zealand with the same employer for more than 12 months are entitled to 4 weeks of paid holidays. They can ask to take a break and then return to work if their employer agrees. They do not have to take the whole 4 weeks at once.

Those who worked for 12 months in New Zealand but for different employers on fixed-term employment agreements, are not entitled to 4 weeks holiday leave. Employers can either include holiday pay as part of weekly wages or hold the holiday pay and offer a lump sum payment when the contract finishes.

Workers with their current employer for less than 12 months may still ask to take a break. Employers can choose to approve or not approve the request.

Guidelines for businesses | Ministry of Health