Rural recruitment

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For rural employers looking to employ migrants, as many currently are, there are two main visa options available.

The main visa options for farmers to consider are:

  • the Accredited Employer Work Visa and;
  • the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme.

Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV)

The AEWV is relatively new, introduced in July of 2022, and is a consolidation of several previous work visa schemes.

The visa application process has three main steps:

  1. Obtain accreditation – the employer applies for and is granted accreditation.
  2. Obtain a Job Check approval – the employer then applies for permission to recruit a migrant into a vacant position.
  3. Obtain the visa – the employee uses the Job Check approval to apply for visas for them and their family.

AEWVs can currently be granted for up to five years as from November 2023. In most cases, to qualify, remuneration must be at least $29.66 an hour. This will increase to $31.61 in February 2024. The employee must be guaranteed 30 hours of work, per week.

An accredited employer agrees to meet minimum “good employer” requirements, such as providing AEWV employees with time to learn about New Zealand’s employment laws and basic information about settling into life in New Zealand.

An employer must also complete online employment law modules within the first 24 months of accreditation.

Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme

The RSE scheme enables employers in the horticulture and viticulture industries to recruit migrants from certain Pacific countries for seasonal work. In limited situations, migrants from other countries can also apply for this visa.

The main steps are:

  1. Obtain RSE status – the employer applies for and is granted RSE status.
  2. Obtain Agreement to Recruit – the employer then applies for an Agreement to Recruit.
  3. Obtain the visas – The employees can then apply for their RSE Limited visas.

Please be aware that Immigration New Zealand is intending to review the RSE scheme, so the requirements may change.

Hiring from the Philippines

It is important to be aware, when hiring from the Philippines, that an employer also must comply with Philippine laws.

Employers are legally obligated to work with a licensed Philippine recruitment agency when recruiting from the Philippines. However, employers who have only ever employed five or fewer Philippine employees, on work visas, are exempt.

When an employer is exempt from having to use a licensed Philippine recruitment agency, the employee only needs to get an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) from the Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO). In this situation, an employer can directly apply to POLO, in Wellington, for the OEC. The employer must agree to meet certain costs, including airfares, the OEC fees, the employee’s visa application fee, and any skill testing costs. We are happy to assist employers with this process. An application to POLO usually takes less than a month.

If you would like advice on what visa options would be appropriate for your business and employees, please feel free to contact a member of our immigration team.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and not intended as a substitute for specific professional advice on any matter and should not be relied upon for that purpose.

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