Apply for 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

Recognised Seasonal Employer

You’ll need to provide your Recognised Seasonal Employer number with your ‘Application for an Agreement to Recruit’

Application for an Agreement to Recruit (INZ 1141) PDF 498KB

Positions available

You must explain your need for season labour when you complete your ‘Application for an Agreement to Recruit’. 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.

Tips

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

Recruitment practice

You must have tried to recruit New Zealanders for the position first. 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 consult with the Ministry of Social Development when we assess the availability of New Zealanders to do the work.

We’ll check our records to make sure there are enough places left within the annual limits to grant visas to overseas seasonal workers. The RSE scheme allows 9,500 places for overseas workers to do seasonal work in New Zealand each year.

You can apply online to recruit workers from the following Pacific nations:
Samoa
Papua New Guinea
Nauru
Fiji
Kiribati
Tuvalu
Tonga
Vanuatu

Tips

  • The RSE scheme allows 9,500 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 provide documents detailing the pastoral care arrangements you have made for overseas workers, including how you will:

  • arrange for someone to pick up and drop off workers from the airport
  • provide a work induction programme to help workers settle in
  • arrange somewhere for workers to live at a fair price
  • provide transport for workers to get to and from work
  • explain how and where workers can get medical insurance
  • explain how and where workers can access banking services
  • explain how workers can send money home safely
  • provide any safety equipment they need to do their job, eg protective clothing
  • provide toilets, somewhere to wash hands, first aid, shelter and fresh drinking water
  • provide translations of health and safety instructions for workers
  • give workers opportunities for recreation and religious observance.

Recruitment outside the Pacific

If you want to recruit outside the Pacfic, 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 apply:

  • 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.

Tip

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 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 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
  • 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.

On request, you may need to 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).

Tip

  • 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).

Repatriation

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

Tip

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.