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Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) visas extended Wednesday, 19 August 2020

The Government is extending Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme visas by six months, allowing workers the opportunity to stay and work in New Zealand.

RSE scheme workers who wish to continue to work in New Zealand for the same purpose after these additional 6 months have expired can apply to stay longer.

The Minister of Immigration has used his powers under the Immigration (Covid-19 Response) Amendment Act to make these changes.

The intention is to give the approximately 8,000 RSE workers currently in New Zealand, and their employers, more certainty about worker availability for the coming season.

The requirement to return to their home country between seasons has been lifted in light of COVID travel restrictions.

Alert

The announcement only applies to RSE workers currently in New Zealand. RSE workers who are currently outside of New Zealand will not be able to travel to New Zealand until border restrictions are lifted.

How it will work

It will take effect from 18 August 2020 and will apply to all RSE workers whose visas are expiring between 18 August and 31 December 2020 and are in an employment relationship with a RSE employer.

RSE workers who wish to continue to work in New Zealand for the same purpose after this additional 6 months will also be able to apply to stay longer. The requirement to return to their home country between seasons has been lifted in light of COVID travel restrictions.

What it means for the RSE scheme

The RSE scheme will be maintained at its current 14,400 cap for next season. Workers who stay on will count towards this cap.

RSE workers can choose whether to stay in New Zealand for the extension of their visa or to return home (should flights be available).

RSE workers will have opportunities to transfer and work for other RSE employers under an approved agreement to recruit.

Employers will continue to provide pastoral care, including access to accommodation, to RSE workers.