Knowledge base articles

How do I employ Seasonal Workers?

The Recognised Seasonal Employer Policy (RSE) is a seasonal work policy to meet horticulture and viticulture industry labour needs. It became effective on 30 April 2007.

If you can't find New Zealand citizens or residents to plant, maintain, harvest and pack crops in the horticulture and viticulture industries, you can apply to be a Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE).

Become a Recognised Seasonal Employer

Once you have RSE status, you can apply for an Agreement to Recruit (ATR), which allows you to recruit non-New Zealand citizen or resident workers.

Apply for an Agreement to Recruit

When you have an ATR you can make a job offer. Your prospective worker will need to provide us with evidence of your offer to get a visa from one of our offshore branches.

If they are issued a visa, they can come to New Zealand, work for the length of time their visa is issued for, and return home. Immigration NZ allows a maximum of 14,400 overseas workers to hold a work visa under this policy each year, to 30 June.

Finally, if you want to get your workers back for another season, they may be able to return to New Zealand under a new ATR if the conditions of their previous visa have been met, and if there is a continued labour shortage.

Note: Housing restrictions have been introduced from 26 September 2019. In regions of high housing pressure, there are restrictions on using houses that have not previously been used to accommodate RSE workers, as follows:

Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay

Your RSE workers must not live in a residential house unless either:

  • the house was included in an ATR approved before 26 September 2019
  • you own the house, and bought it on or before 26 September 2019.

Northland, Auckland (including Upper Auckland), Nelson-Tasman, Marlborough and Otago

Your RSE workers must not live in rental residential houses (i.e. houses that you do not own) unless the house was included in an ATR approved before 26 September 2019.

Any houses that were included in an ATR approved before 26 September 2019 can be used without restriction