Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme research

The Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme came into effect in April 2007. The policy allows the horticulture and viticulture industries to recruit workers from overseas for seasonal work when there are not enough New Zealand workers.

There is an administrative limit or cap on the number of RSE places that can be taken up in any one year. This cap was set at 5,000 places when the scheme was established in 2007, but the success of RSE has led to increased demand from employers and the cap was set at:

  • 8,000 places in 2009
  • 9,000 in November 2014
  • 9,500 in December 2015
  • 10,500 in December 2016
  • 11,100 in December 2017
  • 12,850 in November 2018
  • 14,400 in October 2019
  • 14,400 for 2020/21
  • 16,000 for 2021/22
  • 19,000 for 2022/23.

Unless employers can show they have pre-established relationships with workers from other countries, they may only recruit workers under RSE policy from the following eligible Pacific countries:

  • Fiji
  • Kiribati
  • Nauru
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu

Workers must meet health and character requirements and provide evidence of arrangements to leave New Zealand at the end of their stay.

People employed under the RSE policy may stay in New Zealand for up to seven months during any 11-month period. Exceptions to this are workers from Tuvalu and Kiribati, who can stay for nine months because of the distance from New Zealand and the cost of travel.

RSE arrival numbers each year

Employer surveys

RSE Employers survey 2019 PDF 3MB

RSE Employers survey 2018 PDF 1MB

RSE Employers survey 2017 PDF 2MB

RSE Employers survey 2016 PDF 1MB

RSE Employers survey 2015 PDF 899KB

RSE Employers survey 2014 PDF 1MB


RSE Remittance Pilot Project PDF 640KB

RSE Earnings and Remittance survey | Ni-Vanuatu employed in the Bay of Plenty and Marlborough PDF 1MB

RSE Earnings and Remittance survey | Samoans, Tongans, and Ni-Vanuatu employed in Hawkes's Bay, the Bay of Plenty and Marlborough PDF 3MB

RSE Impact Study

RSE Impact Study: New Zealand report PDF 1MB

RSE Impact Study: Pacific Stream report PDF 6MB

RSE Impact Study: Synthesis report PDF 847KB