Knowledge base articles

Penalties for employing a person without the appropriate visa

Under the Immigration Act 2009 (and previously the Immigration Act 1987), an employer must not employ a foreign national who is not entitled to work in New Zealand or for that employer.  This applies whether the employer knew that the foreign national was not entitled to work or not. 

The maximum penalty under the Immigration Act 2009 for employing a foreign national who is not entitled to work in New Zealand is a fine of NZD $10,000.

The maximum penalty for allowing or continuing to allow a foreign national to work while knowing that person is not entitled to is a fine of NZD $50,000.

The maximum penalty for exploiting a foreign national, who the employer has allowed to work while knowing that person was not entitled to work, is:

  • imprisonment for seven years, or
  • a fine of NZD $100,000, or
  • both

It is, therefore, very important to only employ a person who is entitled to work for a particular employer. 

Complying with immigration and employment law

You can check a potential candidate's ability to work in New Zealand by using our VisaView system.

Check someone can legally work for you