Knowledge base articles

What do I need to know about employing someone on a Silver Fern Visa?

Do I have to attempt to employ a New Zealand citizen or resident before I can consider a Silver Fern visa holder?

No. The Silver Fern Job Search visa allows work in any area without a labour market check. Similarly, any offer you make of skilled employment under the Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa category will not be labour market tested, i.e. you do not have to demonstrate that you have been unable to fill the position locally.

Silver Fern Job Search Visa

Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa

Why should I employ a Silver Fern visa holder, given their possible need for more training because of their unfamiliarity with New Zealand workplaces?

If a person has the legal right to work here, which Silver Fern visa holders do, employers are free to look at their individual merits rather than worry about their immigration status.  Migrants can bring a lot of benefits to New Zealand workplaces, not least of which are fresh ideas and an international perspective. 

What’s in it for me in terms of incentives to employ a Silver Fern visa holder?

The visa gives you the opportunity to find talent and skills that cannot be found in New Zealand.

Is there any guarantee that the visa holder will be able to work for me long term?

There is no absolute guarantee, but if the Silver Fern visa holder gets a skilled job, they will have a very good chance of obtaining residence and staying in New Zealand permanently.

If I have the choice of employing an equally qualified New Zealand citizen/resident and someone who is simply trying out New Zealand, why would I gamble on the foreign national, given that there are inevitable costs in taking on new staff?

That is a decision for you as an employer.  As noted above, though, a diverse mix of people in the workplace can be a strong positive for businesses.

Are there any special requirements that employers of Silver Fern visa holders must meet?

No. You are only bound by the general responsibilities of employers to any employees, in terms of minimum wages, holidays, health and safety etc. To find out more about minimum employment rights visit the Employment New Zealand website.


Are there limits on the number of Silver Fern visa holders I can employ?


Am I under any obligation to keep a Silver Fern visa holder on once their nine months are up?

No, although the Silver Fern visa holder should be able to stay on if they are working in a skilled job because they are able to apply for a Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa which can be granted for up to two years, after which they may be able to apply for a resident visa.


On 17 September 2019, the Minister of Immigration announced changes to employer assisted temporary work visa categories that will take place over the next 18 months.

Changes to temporary work visas