Apply for approval in principle to recruit foreign fishing crew

You must meet the criteria and provide all of the supporting evidence to receive approval in principle. Once you’ve collected your evidence, see the next steps below to find out how to apply.

What you need to do

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Genuine attempt to recruit

You must have genuinely attempted to recruit New Zealanders

Examples of evidence may include:

  • records showing you listed the positions with Work and Income, like a Skills Match Report
  • records showing you advertised crew positions in a New Zealand newspaper or website
  • records showing you contracted a New Zealand manning agent
  • your explanation of the training and experience necessary to do the work and why no (or not enough) New Zealanders were available or suitable
  • the reasons Zealanders could not be trained to do the work
  • records showing you have engaged with the New Zealand Industry Training Organisation (NZITO), the New Zealand Industry Fishing Guild (NZIFG), and the Council for Trade Unions (CTU) for the purpose of training New Zealanders.


Primary ITO

New Zealand Industry Fishing Guild (NZIFG)

Council for Trade Unions (CTU)

We’ll work with Work and Income, the NZITO, NZIFG and CTU to assess if you meet this criterion.

Financial position

You must be in a sound financial position

Evidence may include:

  • a statement from a chartered accountant confirming the business is financially sound and able to meet all of its outstanding obligations
  • sets of accounts certified by an accountant
  • annual reports
  • business plans
  • company profile and registration details, including the names of directors and shareholders
  • information about the business’ reputation and history.

If available, you should provide business records covering at least 2 financial years.

How to apply

Immigration costs

Application cost

NZD ($) $ 6,310

You must be a New Zealand employer in New Zealand to apply.



within 15 months

90% of applications are currently completed within this time. Timeframes are in calendar days.


Apply for Approval in Principle

You must complete a ‘Request for Approval in Principle to Recruit Foreign Crew on Fishing Vessel’ form and send it to us with your application fee and supporting documents.

Receiving centre details

Receiving centres handle the administrative, non-decision making activities surrounding the lodgement of a visa application. The information here is a guide only. For the most up to date and accurate information please visit the the website as listed below.

Payment methods

Credit Card
You can pay with Visa or MasterCard. We take payment when we receive your application. You must have enough funds available on the day we receive your application or it may be returned to you.

Debit Card
You can pay by debit card. We take payment when we receive your application. You must have enough funds available on the day we receive your application or it may be returned to you.

Postal address

Immigration New Zealand
PO Box 22111
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand


Phone enquiries
Monday to Saturday
06:00 to 24:00

Closed Sunday

Other notes

Applications made in New Zealand

For applications made in New Zealand, there is no courier fee to be paid for applications or documents to be returned.


Wait for a decision

We process your application as soon as we can.

Once we approve your application, you can recruit foreign crew to work on your fishing vessel.


Support your crew’s work visa applications

Before they can start working for you, each crew member must apply for a work visa. You can support their applications by providing them with:

  • an employment agreement in English and their own language
  • a copy of your approval in principle letter
  • a ‘Sponsorship Form for Temporary Entry’ completed by you.

Employment agreements must include minimum working conditions.

Crew working conditions


Employ crew and comply with Approval in Principle

When you have an approval in principle, there are certain responsibilities and obligations you must meet, including:

  • following standard recruitment practices
  • sponsoring crew
  • having a plan for managing desertion risks
  • having processes for managing crew complaints
  • keeping employment records
  • providing crew with working and living conditions that meet certain standards

If you don’t comply, we won’t grant any more work visas to your crew or approve any future requests for new Approvals in Principle.

Employer responsibilities and obligations

Not the right option for you?

Browse our other employer scheme options.