Worker wellbeing

You can support your new migrant staff in the workplace, and outside of work, by helping them feel safe and well-integrated.

Wellbeing in the workplace


A tailored introduction for your migrant employee will help set expectations and familiarise them with your workplace, lowering the chance of miscommunication.

Remember, much of this preparation will only need to be done once. Next time you employ a migrant, your orientation programme will be ready.

Workplace communication and culture 

Assign a buddy

Having a buddy system can help your migrant employee to learn more efficiently and integrate into the team faster. It also helps iron out any small problems that come up along the way and gives your new migrant employee someone to talk to and ask questions.

A good buddy can help your new employee understand the workplace and culture better and settle in to work and life more quickly.

Preparing for migrant staff

A safe workplace

Your migrant employee may come to your workplace with different understandings about safety at work. It is your responsibility to ensure they have a safe workplace, with the right training, supervision and equipment.

You must also help in identifying, assessing and managing hazards. This information needs to be communicated to your staff in a way that they can understand.


New Zealand employment law

It is a legal requirement to provide your employees with a written employment agreement. This may be new to employees from other countries, so it is important to provide migrant employees with a clearly written employment agreement. This will help reduce the risk of misunderstanding.

Your new employee may also want to read their signed written employment agreement to familiarise themselves with New Zealand employment conditions, such as work hours, leave entitlements and public holidays.

Annual leave, public holidays, and sick leave may also be new to your migrant employee. Clearly communicating what leave conditions they are entitled to will help their understanding.

For more information on employment relations, pay, holidays, and health and safety, go to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s website or call the Ministry’s helpline. Your new employee also needs to know that they can call the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s helpline and they can request “Language Line” if they want an interpreter.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Wellbeing outside the workplace

Healthcare in New Zealand

Encourage your new employee to sign up with their local General Practitioner (GP) as soon as they can. Enrolling with a GP lets them qualify for subsidised healthcare when they need to see a doctor (if on an eligible visa).

New Zealand residents can choose to take out medical insurance for private healthcare. Non-residents should get medical insurance from their home country.

Finding a doctor and paying for visits | Health New Zealand Te Whatu Ora

Eligibility for services | Health New Zealand Te Whatu Ora

Feeling safe

You should guide your new migrant employee to information on how to stay safe in New Zealand. Migrants may not always trust police, or know which number to dial in an emergency.

You can also help your new employee take precautions for an emergency. Disasters can and do happen in New Zealand and there are some basic things everyone needs to do to be prepared.

Safety in New Zealand | Live and Work New Zealand

Get ready | Civil Defence

Connecting in their community

It’s important to support your new migrant’s efforts to integrate into the community as well as your workplace. This can contribute to a well-settled migrant worker, making them a high performing member of staff.

Family and community

Resources for your migrant staff

There are excellent resources and information available to help your new migrant employee settle in to work and life in New Zealand.

Settlement resources for employers