Employing migrants means familiarising yourself with Immigration New Zealand’s regulations. The process for employing someone is likely to be different depending on the type of vacancy/applicant you have.
Giving immigration advice
Only certain people can give immigration advice, including licenced immigration advisors, lawyers and MPs and their staff. There are others who are exempt, find out more at Immigration New Zealand licencing section. There are significant penalties for people who provide advice without a licence.
Employers wanting to help support a migrants job application can:
- Provide information that’s publicly available or is from the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, e.g. generic information from Immigration New Zealand.
- Encourage them to get advice from someone who can legally provide it, e.g. provide a list of licensed immigration advisers.
- Help migrants settle in to community life in New Zealand, e.g. finding a school or a home.
Employers generally cannot:
- Give specific advice on a particular situation.
- Help someone choose the right visa
- Help someone complete a visa application
- Help assess whether or not it’s worthwhile appealing a decision to decline a visa application
- Help assess options for people who are in New Zealand unlawfully.
For more information see Immigration New Zealand’s licencing section.
Note: With the above limitations in mind it’s worth seriously considering engaging a licensed immigration advisor or lawyer to help navigate this area. See the Immigration Advisers Authority for more information.
Understand your job vacancy
Before starting the hiring process it’s important to know the details of the role you want to fill. What is the job title and job description of the role?
DairyNZ has tools and resources to help make this easy and simple:
Understand the jargon
The Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is a system used by Immigration New Zealand to check:
- the skill levels of jobs
- the qualifications and/or experience needed to work in those jobs
ANZSCO is published on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.
- 121313 Level 1 (high skill) – Farm Manager, Assistant Manager, 2IC. For more detail click here.
- 841512 Level 5 (low skill) – Dairy Assistant, Assistant Herd Manager, Herd Manager. For more detail click here.
Labour market test
A test to establish whether:
- an employer has made a genuine attempt to attract and recruit suitable New Zealanders for a job
- there are any suitable New Zealanders to do a job, or who can be trained to do a job
When Immigration New Zealand carry out a labour market test, they’ll look at things like:
- the employer's reasons for not employing a New Zealander to do a job
- evidence of the employer's recruitment attempts, like newspaper and internet advertising
- Was the advertising in the appropriate forums for the role, i.e for a herd manager you may have to advertise in a range of places, not just FarmSource jobs
- advice from Work and Income
- advice from industry groups
- The advertising also cannot be done in a way which puts off a New Zealander
Work and Income – Testing the labour market
Skills Match Report
The Skills Match Report provides information about the interaction between you and Work and Income, including the outcome of vacancies lodged. The report is sent to you (and/or your representative) and to Immigration New Zealand. It’s valid for 90 days from the date of issue. That means if you have another vacancy for the same job within 90 days you can use the same Skills Match Report to support a work visa application.
Essential Skills in Demand Lists
A group of lists detailing the occupations that New Zealand doesn't have enough people to work in. People who are qualified to work in an occupation on one of these lists, can apply for a work visa without their employer having to advertise as extensively as otherwise might be. There may also be different qualification or experience requirements to meet the required levels.
- Long Term Skills Shortage List
The Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL) identifies occupations where there is a sustained and on-going shortage of highly skilled workers both globally and throughout New Zealand.
There are currently no dairy roles on the LTSSL
- Immediate Skills Shortage List
The Immediate Skills Shortage List (ISSL) is regionally based and identifies occupations for which there is a skill shortage within a region. This makes it easier to support a work visa as you are not required to provide evidence of your attempts to recruit a New Zealand citizen or resident and there may be lower requirements for qualifications and experience.
Farm Manager and Assistant Farm Manager are currently on the ISSL.
Dairy Assistant and Herd Manger are not.
- Canterbury Skills Shortage List
The Canterbury Skill Shortage List (CSSL) contains occupations in critical shortage in the Canterbury region following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. It draws on the occupations on the Immediate and Long Term Skill Shortage Lists (LTSSL) relevant to the Canterbury rebuild.
There are currently no dairy roles on the CSSL.
For more information:
Immigration New Zealand - Skills Shortage Lists tool
Understand the relevant visas
The best visa option for you depends on the role you are trying to fill, if it’s classified as low or high skilled, and if it’s long term or temporary/seasonal.
The majority of visas granted in the dairy industry are:
Essential Skills Work Visas – Whether you are looking for a farm manager or a dairy assistant, if you’ve made genuine attempts to recruit New Zealanders to fill the position and you haven’t been able to find anyone, you may be able to support an overseas worker’s visa application. If your position is in an occupation on the Intermediate Skills Shortage List (Farm manager, Assistant farm manager), it may be easier to reach the thresholds for qualifications, experience and the New Zealand Labour Market Test.
For more information see Immigration New Zealand’s Essential Skills Work Visa section
However there are also:
Open work visas – Some visas allow migrants to work for any employer. When employing using the open work visas, you do not need to check the local labour market before employing someone. To check visa entitlements use Immigration New Zealand’s VisaView service.
Common types include:
- Working Holiday Work visas – holders can work full-time, but cannot take up a permanent role. Some countries have stricter restrictions.
- Student visas – holders may usually work for a maximum of 20 hours each week, though some may be full time during major holiday breaks.
- Partnership visas – partners of visa holders with work rights, may be eligible to work for the duration of their partner’s visa (or for up to two years for partners of resident visa holders or New Zealand citizens).
- Post Study Work Visas – Open – allows former international students to work for any employer for 12 months to give them time to find a job relevant to their qualification.
There are a range of other types of visas
For more information on the different visa types see:
Immigration New Zealand - Explore immigration options.
Applicants who already have a visa
When advertising you may often get applications from migrants who already have a visa. In these situations, the best place to start is by checking to see a migrants specific conditions attached to their current visa by using Immigration New Zealand’s VisaView service.
Each situation is unique to the individual’s circumstances. For more information see Immigration New Zealand’s Hiring a migrant who is already in New Zealand. The process for someone on an Essential Skills Work Visa is outlined briefly below.
When Essential Skills Work Visa applicants apply
Work visas are typically granted based on a specific job. If you are looking to hire a migrant that already has a work visa based on a job offer from another employer, or you are offering a new job to a current employee they will need to inform Immigration New Zealand. Depending on the circumstances, they may apply for a variation of their visa conditions. However in some situations they may need to apply for a new visa instead.
For more information see:
Employing someone on an Essential Skills Work Visa
It may be best to engage a Licensed Immigration Adviser to assist you with this process.
Identify the detail of the role you need to fill.
* the process is different for Canterbury see note below
Advertise the vacancy and make genuine attempts to hire New Zealanders.
See our Starting Employment section for information on how to attract quality candidates.
Contact Work and Income
* the process is different for Canterbury see note below
The skill level of the role you are recruiting for will change whether you need to contact Work and Income for the immigration process.
Talk to your advisor about this step.
Assess the candidates
If one of the New Zealand candidates is suitable for the role, they must be offered the job.
Skill level of the job
Find the skill level using ANZSCO. Generally for dairy it will be either level 1 (farm manager, assistant farm manager) or level 5 (dairy assistant, herd manager).
Note: If the role is on a skills shortage list (Currently Farm manager and Assistant farm manager are on the Intermediate skills shortage list) then the requirements for the New Zealand labour market test and qualifications/experience required may be less. Talk to your advisor about this.
Prepare your supporting documents
If you are supporting a work visa you must provide:
- Written offer of employment
- Employment agreement – signed by both parties
- Job description
- Evidence of your engagement with Work and Income
- Evidence of genuine attempts to recruit New Zealanders
Prepare applicant’s supporting documents
The applicant must provide:
- Police check
- Health check
- Completed application form
- Evidence of work experience or qualifications
Applicant applies for an Essential Skills Work Visa
Await decision from Immigration New Zealand
Immigration New Zealand states that:
“90% of work visa applications are processed in 25 calendar days (IF all documentation is provided correctly)”
Essential Skills Work Visa
To hire another employee with Essential Skills or the same employee, you must begin this process at number one.
*The process is different when hiring for a role in Canterbury (Christchurch City, Waimakariri or Selwyn) or Queenstown.
For more information see:
Helping migrants settle in
After tackling all the paperwork involved in getting migrants here, it makes sense to do all you can to help them settle and thrive in their new role. Immigration New Zealand has some excellent resources in this area.
See Immigration New Zealand’s: