Getting ready to hire overseas workers

If you can’t find a New Zealand worker for a vacancy, you may be able to recruit a migrant. Here are some things you can do to prepare yourself for hiring overseas candidates.

Hiring from overseas will not suit every employer

It takes patience and perseverance and can be more complex, costly and time-consuming than hiring locally.

When preparing to hire overseas workers, you should consider the extra costs that can be involved with hiring overseas. These may include advertising, possible overseas travel and potentially, relocation costs.

This section has tips for hiring overseas workers and identifying issues and challenges that may not be part of your everyday recruitment activities.

Planning the recruitment process

If you are new to recruiting staff from overseas, the following pointers will help you through the process:

  • Check that your job vacancy will meet the requirements of one of the visa categories and find out what you need to do to support a migrant’s visa application
  • Consider which country or countries you are likely to find suitable candidates in. Take into account things like cultural differences and how well the skills and qualifications from different countries will fit into the New Zealand workplace
  • Some countries also have rules and regulations that you may need to consider when recruiting
  • Think of creative ways of getting the message out that could increase your reach. For example, working with or through other employers, your industry association, a recruiter or local Economic Development Agency
  • Set realistic timeframes. Factor in time for:
    • your normal employment processes, like advertising, evaluating CVs, interviewing and checking references
    • visa application processing
    • your migrant worker’s preparations for moving, which may include selling their home, gathering documents for their visa application (such as medical and police certificates) and getting occupational registration if needed.

Other things to consider when planning your recruitment include:

  • How long will it take to get someone started?
  • Who within your staff will manage the process?
  • What will you do if you get a huge response?

Tips for inclusive recruitment

You want to find the best person for the job and your business. Using effective processes for hiring migrants means you will increase your pool of candidates and maximise the chance of finding the right person.

Hiring migrants brings many benefits. Diversity helps to bring a range of opinions, problem-solving skills, insights and connections to your team. This leads to higher productivity and better outcomes for your business.

Diversity Works NZ (formerly the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust) publishes information about the benefits that diversity can bring to your organisation.

Diversity Works NZ

Advertise jobs clearly

It is important to check your job advertising for slang and colloquial language. Some potentially confusing words and phrases, like ‘think outside the box’ or ‘can-do attitude’, are very common but can be a barrier to understanding for many newcomers. These phrases add little to the description of the role or the competencies required.

Write a clear, realistic and specific job description that candidates you want to target will understand. Include key details that will be understood, such as the nature of the role, leave provisions, salary and a clear job title. Migrants will also be interested to know whether you are offering a relocation package, and if so, what is included.

Immigration New Zealand has created the Keeping it Clear resource to use when writing for migrants.

Keeping it Clear

Shortlist CVs without bias

In New Zealand, we like to give everyone a fair go. But research shows that applicants with ”English language names” tend to get significantly more requests for information and invitations to interviews than those without. Businesses that allow bias to affect their hiring processes can miss out on the benefits that diversity can bring to their workplace. They could also miss out on finding the best person for the role.

One way to avoid bias is to adopt blind reviewing when assessing CVs. This means getting a person independent of the recruitment process to remove applicant names from applications before they are assessed. This avoids unconscious stereotyping and makes sure the focus stays on what matters — the experience and skills needed to the job well.

A few tips for evaluating CVs:

  • Look at the relevance of the applicant’s skills and experience in reference to the job profile
  • Think about the value the person could bring to the wider organisation
  • Consider diversity when shortlisting candidates.

New Zealand Human Rights Commission's pre-employment guidelines

Recruiting from the Philippines

Migrant workers from the Philippines are increasingly important to a number of New Zealand employers seeking to fill labour and skill shortages. When you recruit from the Philippines you must follow the legal requirements of both the New Zealand and Philippines Governments.

Guides for hiring migrant workers

Our Employer Guides are currently being reviewed and updated to reflect recent changes. New guidance will be published to help employers understand their obligations, along with information for supporting new migrant settlement.

Browse employer guides for hiring migrant workers