Employing migrants already in New Zealand

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


Visa extensions and visa conditions

Applying for further RSE Limited Visas in New Zealand 

Many RSE workers were unable to return home at the end of last season due to border restrictions.    

Workers still here who wish to move to an employer not covered by their RSE Limited Visa must apply for a new 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.

Recognised Seasonal Employer Limited Visa 

Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) visa extension

Visas of RSE workers that would have expired between 18 August and 31 December 2020 were extended by 6 months. 

Pacific RSE workers who came to New Zealand through the border exception can apply for a new visa to extend their stay.

Flexible visas

All RSE scheme workers granted a flexible visa will be able to re-enter the scheme and work again for a Recognised Seasonal Employer with 30 hours per week average pay. 

RSE workers who want to leave New Zealand at the first available opportunity can discuss with their employer whether re-entering the scheme is the right option for them.

Employers remain responsible for the pastoral care of RSE workers even when they are approved to work in other sectors.

Verify visa date and other details | Visa Verification Service

The current cap of 14,400 workers will be maintained for the 2020/2021 season.

The stand-down period for RSE workers wishing to return for the 2020/2021 season no longer applies.

If an RSE worker in New Zealand is required to isolate themselves for 14 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 fall sick, have to isolate themselves while working in New Zealand (from the start date of their contract) or if they cannot work because the employer’s business is affected by the lockdown. Employers are responsible for applying for this wage subsidy to pay their workers.

RSE workers are able to access Essential Workers Leave Support if they can’t work. Only one subsidy at a time is payable.

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

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.

You have responsibility for: 

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

Guidelines for businesses | Ministry of Health