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Support for RSE workers and employers affected by Vanuatu flight cancellations

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has been working quickly to support ni-Vanuatu Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers who could not return home last week due to Air Vanuatu flight cancellations.

29 May 2024
2 minute read

A coordinated response

In a coordinated response, working closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), we are ensuring RSE:

  • workers from Vanuatu with visas expiring can remain in New Zealand lawfully, and
  • employers with workers from Vanuatu are also supported.

We are managing this in groups based on the expiry of the workers' visas, and working closely with RSE workers and employers who are impacted.

This is a developing situation, and we are monitoring it closely.

RSE worker support

There were 1,458 RSE workers from Vanuatu with visas expiring by 9 June 2024.

We granted RSE limited visas of up to 1 month to workers from Vanuatu currently in New Zealand with visas expiring to ensure that they can stay in the country lawfully.

These RSE limited visas will start from the expiry of the current visa and align with medical insurance end dates.

As of Wednesday 29 May, 845 RSE workers have returned home and 601 RSE workers have flights booked. Only 10 RSE workers have yet to secure flights home.

The visa entry dates for Vanuatu-based workers who are still to travel to New Zealand have also been extended by 1 month.

RSE employer support

We are in regular contact with RSE employers.

RSE Employers continue their provision of accommodation and pastoral care until the workers depart New Zealand, and are doing a fabulous job identifying solutions for workers to return home as soon as possible.