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Right to work in New Zealand

Employers must make sure that their employees can legally work in that job in New Zealand.

A person can't be employed if they can’t legally work in New Zealand in that job. It is responsibility of the employer to make sure that an employee can work for them legally.

People entitled to work in New Zealand are those who:

  • are New Zealand or Australian citizens (including people born in the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau), or
  • have a New Zealand residence visa, or
  • have a New Zealand work visa or a condition on their New Zealand temporary visa showing they are allowed to work here.

For more information, visit the Immigration New Zealand website. The website has lots of useful information including VisaView, which lets you easily check information about whether an employee can work in New Zealand. If you are a registered employer and have the person’s consent, you can check information, such as a passport number and surname against Immigration New Zealand’s records and usually quickly get back a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer, the expiry date of the visa and any specific work conditions. Some visas allow only certain types of work, or work for specified employer. You can also check the person’s New Zealand passport using VisaView.

Recognised seasonal employers (RSE)

The horticulture and viticulture industries often don’t have enough New Zealand workers. If you can’t find enough workers in New Zealand, the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme lets workers from specific overseas countries come to New Zealand to plant, maintain, harvest and pack crops. You can apply to be a Recognised Seasonal Employer. Find out more about:

You will have to meet all the minimum standards of employment, including paying at least the adult minimum wage for employees hired under the RSE scheme.

If you want the same workers back for another season, they may be able to come back to New Zealand under a new agreement to recruit if:

  • the conditions of their permit have been met, and
  • there is a continued labour shortage.

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