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Non-compliant employer list implemented Monday, 27 March 2017

From 1 April 2017, employers that have incurred a penalty for a breach of employment standards will face a set stand-down period preventing them from recruiting migrant labour for six months, one year, 18 months or two years, depending on the severity of the breach.

Employers who receive an employment standards penalty will be included on a list provided to Immigration New Zealand by the Labour Inspectorate. Criteria for inclusion on the list will be published at Appendix 10 of the Operational Manual.

Instructions which put these changes into effect are described in the latest Amendment Circular.

Amendment Circulars
Previous news item and Ministerial announcement


Questions and answers

What is the list?

  • It is a list of employers who have received employment standards-related penalties for breaching New Zealand employment standards. The list is provided to INZ by the Labour Inspectorate.

What is the purpose of the list?

  • The list builds on existing requirements for employers of migrant labour. It provides visibility of non-compliant employers and provides an objective basis for determining how long employers will be unable to access migrant labour. The list allows INZ to make better informed decisions about visa applications and employer requests, and prevent employers from exploiting migrant workers.

How can employers get on the list?

  • Criteria for inclusion on the list will be published at Appendix 10 of the immigration instructions. See Amendment Circular 2017-04 for details.

How can employers get off the list?

  • Employers may challenge the enforcement action that lead to inclusion on the list. If the penalty is subsequently overturned, then the employer will be removed from the list.
  • INZ does not have any influence over who is, or is not, included on the list. Any challenge to the enforcement action must be made through channels relevant to the method of enforcement action.

What if the breach is minor?

  • The threshold for non-compliance does not include employers at the very minor end of breaches, such as those who have entered into an enforceable undertaking with the Labour Inspectorate, have mostly adequate wage and time records and demonstrate a desire to comply. The intention is not to restrict access to migrant labour for minor and inadvertent breaches, and so the threshold is set at formal infringement notices and above.

Is the list retrospective?

  • The list includes all employers who receive employment standards penalties on or after 1 April 2017.
  • INZ will continue to take non-compliance with employment law into consideration when making decisions, even if that non-compliance doesn’t result in inclusion on the list.

Can employers successfully support applications after they have been removed from the list?

  • Yes, however immigration officers may still take previous non-compliance into consideration when determining an application.

What about existing migrant employees at a business added to the list?

  • Migrants workers will not be prevented from working out their visa at a non-compliant employer. Any further visas granted will need to be for employment with an employer who does have a history of compliance with employment law.

What if an employer receives multiple penalties at one time?

  • There is a maximum time employers can be placed on the list for multiple penalties issued at one time.
  • For example, each infringement notice received at one time results in 6 months on the non-compliant employers list, up to a maximum of 12 months.
  • See Appendix 10 for further details.