Employing migrant workers under a sector agreement

Industry sectors that hire large numbers of temporary migrant workers can negotiate an agreement with the Government to help them hire low-paid migrant workers.

Introducing sector agreements

Over the next 18 months we will be making changes to the way employers hire migrant workers. This includes introducing sector agreements for some industries.

If you are an employer, there is nothing you need to change now in the way you hire migrants, even if you are in a sector that will be negotiating a sector agreement.

Employing migrant workers — what is changing

The benefits of sector agreements

Some industry sectors rely on temporary migrant workers, particularly workers that are low-paid — that is, workers who are paid below the median wage, currently NZD $25 an hour. These employers and their workers can benefit from agreements that apply across the whole workforce.

Under a sector agreement, employers will have more certainty about hiring migrant workers and the compliance costs are likely to be lower than for the normal recruitment process .

What a sector agreement covers

A sector agreement will include:

  • information about the sector and its workforce such as labour supply and demand forecasts
  • a workforce plan that would show how the sector plans to place more New Zealanders in jobs
  • details about how migrant workers will be employed in the specific occupation covered by the sector agreement over the duration of the agreement.

Employers who must comply with a sector agreement

Employers who are recruiting migrants for occupations covered by a sector agreement must:

  • be accredited, and
  • comply with the agreement if their workers are paid below the median wage.

Sectors we will negotiate with

We have identified the following sectors that we will negotiate with initially:

  • residential care (including aged residential care)
  • meat processing
  • dairy
  • forestry
  • road freight transport
  • tourism and hospitality.

The construction, and horticulture and viticulture sectors are also likely candidates.

We will negotiate with 2 sectors at a time starting with the residential care and meat processing sectors from October 2019. We expect these 2 agreements to be completed in 2020.

Keeping up to date with new information

As more details about sector agreements are finalised we will update our website information.

We have prepared a fact sheet that explains sector agreements in more detail.

Changes to employer-assisted temporary work visas — sector agreements PDF 807KB

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