Apply for an Agreement to Recruit

Once you’re granted Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) status, you can apply for an Agreement to Recruit (ATR). This will allow you to hire overseas workers for a single seasonal period. You can apply for a new ATR for each season you need overseas workers, as long as you maintain your RSE status.

What you need to do

Show all evidence Hide all evidence

Positions available

You must explain your need for seasonal labour

When you complete your application you’ll be asked to tell us:

  • the region(s) where there’s a shortage of seasonal labour
  • the number of workers you’ll need
  • a description of the available positions
  • the time each position is available for.

You can only use an Agreement to Recruit to recruit overseas workers to plant, maintain, harvest, or pack crops.

Genuine attempt to recruit

You must have tried to recruit New Zealanders for the positions

We’ll only grant an Agreement to Recruit (ATR) if both:

  • your need for seasonal labour can’t be met by the available New Zealand workforce
  • there are enough available places on the RSE quota for us to grant RSE visas for the overseas workers.

You must list any available positions with Work and Income before you apply for an ATR. We’ll check that you have done this when we assess whether there is a labour shortage.

We’ll check our records to make sure there are enough places left within the annual limits to grant visas to overseas seasonal workers.

You can apply online to recruit workers from the following Pacific nations:

Papua New Guinea

The RSE scheme allows 16,000 places for overseas workers to do seasonal work in New Zealand each year.

We’ll consult with the Ministry of Social Development when we assess the availability of New Zealanders to do the work.

Pastoral care

You must show how you will look after your workers

When they arrive you must:

  • arrange for someone to pick up from the airport
  • provide a work induction programme to help workers settle in
  • arrange somewhere for workers to live at a fair price – in some regions restrictions on the use of residential housing apply
  • explain how and where they can:
    • get medical insurance
    • access banking services
    • send money home safely.

While they are working for you, you must provide:

  • transport to and from work
  • any safety equipment they need to do their job - for example protective clothing
  • toilets and somewhere to wash their hands
  • first aid, shelter and fresh drinking water
  • translations of health and safety instructions
  • opportunities for recreation and religious observance.

When their contract ends you must provide transport to the airport.


RSE housing accommodation must not increase housing shortages

In regions of high housing pressure, there are restrictions on using houses that you have not previously used to accommodate RSE workers. The restrictions apply to existing ATRs and to RSE employers requesting an increase in the number of workers they can employ.

Providing accommodation for RSE workers

Recruitment outside the Pacific

If you want to recruit outside the Pacific, you must explain why

When you complete your agreement to recruit, you’ll be asked to name the country or countries you intend to recruit from. You can only recruit workers from outside the eligible Pacific countries if you can show us that one of the following applies:

  • you have existing relationships with workers from other countries
  • even though you tried to, you couldn’t recruit workers from eligible Pacific countries
  • there’s a good reason it’s not feasible for you to recruit workers from eligible Pacific countries.

You must provide evidence that supports your reasons.

It’s OK to use recruitment agencies to recruit overseas workers as long as the agency doesn’t charge the workers for finding them a job.

Employment agreements

You must provide us with a sample employment agreement

You must provide us with a copy of the employment agreement you’ll be offering your workers, which must:

  • pay the market rate
  • specify the hourly rate and any piece rates that apply
  • pay for half the workers’ return airfares
  • detail the pastoral care that will be provided
  • detail the work that will be provided. The work may only be planting, maintaining, harvesting, or packing crops in in New Zealand’s horticulture or viticulture industries
  • be for no more than 7 months in an eleven-month period, unless your workers are from Tuvalu or Kiribati. People from Tuvalu or Kiribati can work for up to 9 months
  • guarantee minimum payments to your workers (at least $22.10 an hour, for a minimum of 30 hours)
  • detail any deductions  (including payments for airfares, accommodation and other pastoral care)
  • comply with the conditions set out in your ATR
  • comply with New Zealand employment law.

You may wish to pay for your workers visa application fee as part of their employment agreement.

On request disclose to representatives of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment all payments received from RSE workers (including payments for airfares, accommodation and other pastoral care).

If your workers travel as a border exception, they must be paid while they are in isolation. Flight deductions must not be more than a commercial option.


You must agree to cover the costs of sending your workers home if they breach their visa conditions

You must sign a repatriation agreement guaranteeing to cover the costs of sending workers home up to NZ$3000 per worker (including any living and accommodation costs).

Repatriation Agreement (Single Employer ATRs) DOC 46KB

Repatriation Agreement (Joint ATRs) DOC 40KB

You're responsible for: 

  • letting us know if you've had to suspend or dismiss an RSE worker
  • letting us know if any of your RSE workers breach their visa conditions.

How to apply

Immigration costs

Application cost

NZD ($) $ 260

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



within 44 days

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


Apply for an Agreement to Recruit

Before you can recruit overseas workers, you must apply for an Agreement to Recruit (ATR) by completing an ‘Application for an Agreement to Recruit’.

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.

Postal address

Immigration New Zealand
P O Box 50728
Porirua 5240
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 assess your application, and decide if you are eligible to recruit overseas workers.


Offer jobs to seasonal workers

Once you are granted an ATR, you can go ahead and offer jobs to seasonal workers from overseas.

You will need to support your workers’ visa applications by providing them with written employment agreements outlining the work and their working conditions.

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.

Not the right option for you?

Browse our other employer scheme options.