Preparing for your migrant staff

It pays to start preparing before your migrant worker arrives. Put together information to help them fit into the workplace. This will ensure they will have what they need to adjust to work and life in New Zealand.

From the first contact with your new employee to the time they arrive in New Zealand, be positive but realistic. Do not promise anything that you or New Zealand cannot deliver. You will only set migrants up for disappointment if life in New Zealand is not what they expected.

You can help your new migrants workers to prepare for work and life in a new country through giving them the information they need.

Some information is best provided before they leave and some when they arrive.

Much of this preparation will only need to be done once. If you hire migrant workers in the future, you will be very well prepared.

Video — Tips to retain migrant workers for employers
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Recruiting new staff can be a big undertaking - and it you’re recruiting them from overseas, it will take time and money to fine the skills you need. All new staff required training and support, but migrants face many additional challenges both inside and outside the workplace.

Helping your new migrant staff and their families settle in to work and their new community will help them reach their full potential as your employee, faster.

Be prepared

The key to retaining migrant workers is to prepare for their arrival.

Our checklists can help ready your workplace and prepared your existing staff to welcome your new migrant staff.

Sharing your own knowledge of your local community and Kiwi culture will also be invaluable to them.

Give ongoing support

It can take time for new migrant staff to get used to living, working and communicating in a new country.

Emotions will also change as they settle in. After their initial excitement, some new migrants and their families may begin to feel homesick or unsure about their decision to move.

You can reduce this uncertainty by giving them support and some time to adjust throughout the first year or two of their settlement journey.

Not only will this help them settle in, it’ll form the foundations for better staff retention, productivity and happier workers.

Consider their point of view

Some migrants will find New Zealand workplaces completely different from those in their home country. Some cultures place much more importance on status and rules at work than Kiwis do, or simply have different ways of doing things.

Immigration New Zealand can provide support for you with practical tools, checklists and guides. And we’ve got resources for your migrant staff to help with planning their move here, and understanding New Zealand cultural and workplace differences.

Remember, happy and well-settled migrant staff will make for a happier and more productive workplace.

We’ve got plenty more information to help make retaining migrant staff easier, so check our website for more.

Where to start

If you are unsure of what things to consider, our checklist will prompt you with ways you can help your migrant employee. It includes things to do before they arrive, upon their arrival and during their first days at work.

Your checklist to plan ahead

Prepare information for your new staff

It pays to prepare some tailored content for your new migrants staff. If you don’t already have it, you may want to create:

  • an orientation programme to introduce your workplace
  • a welcome kit with local information about the region, accommodation and transport information.

You could also prepare existing staff for your new migrant employee by announcing their upcoming arrival on your website or staff communication channels eg. noticeboards.

Create a welcome kit

Use our resources to help your new staff

Send your new staff links to our tools and online resources to help your them plan their move before they leave their home country.

NZ Ready planning tool

Moving to a new country can be a daunting task for your new employee. The best way to help your new employee with their move is to guide them to NZ Ready, Immigration New Zealand’s free online planning tool. This tool asks a series of questions that will help them to create a comprehensive personalised to do list to follow.

NZ Ready tool

Cost of living calculator

What it costs to live in New Zealand may be quite different from a migrant's home country. This tool helps migrants to understand the cost of living in various parts of New Zealand.

Cost of living calculator

You could also send your new staff links to the relevant resources we have prepared to help them.

Resources for your migrant staff

Think beyond the workplace

Provide information about life in New Zealand during the recruitment process. Your new employee needs to know what to expect in relation to:

  • basics of life in New Zealand such as housing and healthcare
  • schooling and employment opportunities for their partner and children
  • community support available

A happy, settled family makes for a happy and productive employee who is more likely to remain loyal to you.

Living in New Zealand

Family and community