More information on that can be found on the Accredited Employer Work Visa webpage.
The Government granted border exceptions for 1,000 dairy farm employees who were able to be farm assistants, dairy herd managers, 2ICs or assistant farm managers.
Shut down of the Dairy Class Border Exception
Applications for the Dairy Class Border Exception had to be made to DairyNZ on or before 7 August 2022, or when the 1,000 positions were filled (whichever came first). Those applications are being processed and are due with INZ on or before 31 August 2022.
If you need to employ an international worker for your farm in a permanent role
Use the new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) pathway - this process generally grants a 3-year visa.
The border class exception requires several steps:
- The employer completes an application to DairyNZ with details of their need for an international worker and the employment relationship they have agreed to enter with their prospective employee.
- DairyNZ processes the application to determine if it meets the criteria set by government.
- DairyNZ hands over the application for nomination to MPI and confirms with the employer once approved.
- Employer completes an expression of interest (EOI) with Immigration New Zealand.
- If the EOI is approved, an ‘invitation to apply’ (ITA) is issued to the employee
- The employee completes an application for a visa.
- The process typically takes one to two months from when the application for nomination is made to DairyNZ to visa approval.
- There are criteria for both employer and employee eligibility. DairyNZ is required to be confident that employers have tried their best to employ New Zealanders first, and that employees will be going into good employment situations.
- Applications for nomination are processed in the order they’re received. Only complete applications will be accepted.
- Final visa decisions are made by Immigration NZ. Nomination by DairyNZ does not guarantee that Immigration NZ will approve a visa application.
Wage and role criteria
The following criteria applies for each role:
Dairy farm assistants
- Workers must earn at or above the median wage plus $1 per hour at time of application ($28/hr), and have applied by 1 September 2022.
- The role matches the DairyNZ job description for Farm assistant.
Dairy herd manager
- Dairy Herd Manager roles must have 2-4 years relevant work experience, earn market rate (with a minimum of $28 per hour), and have applied by 1 September 2022.
- The role matches the DairyNZ job description for Herd manager.
Assistant Dairy Farm Manager or 2IC managerial roles
- Assistant Dairy Farm Manager or 2IC managerial roles must have 2-4 years relevant work experience, earn market rate (with a minimum of $28 per hour), and have applied by 1 September 2022.
- The role matches the DairyNZ job description for Assistant farm manager.
All the documents below must be sighted by DairyNZ. Complete the application and upload this with supporting documents to DairyNZ.
- A complete application and checklist form.
- Farm Organisational structure including filled and vacant roles – and which vacancy you wish to fill using the class exception.
- A short letter outlining your farm business situation and why you need to use the class exception process. This letter could outline the impacts being short staffed has had on the business, your family and other people on farm
- Evidence of advertising the specific vacancy to be filled by the migrant worker
- So that we can see attempts to employ New Zealanders
- If you are bringing a returning employee back to NZ (or employing someone who has worked in NZ before) then evidence showing:
- How long the employee worked for you (or someone else)
- The position/s they held on farm
- Their salary/wage rate history
- Written offer of employment for full time work
- Including the rent that will be paid if accommodation is to be provided on farm
- Detail on the type of accommodation (shared, house, furnished or not etc) including photos
- Signed employment agreement including:
- Reasonable and justifiable deductions need to be written into the employment agreement and provide the relative cost attributed to each deduction.
- Further information can be found on the Employment New Zealand website.
- DairyNZ job description
- Evidence of the applicant’s relevant experience, either within New Zealand or internationally.
- As examples, the following information can be provided:
- Bank statements, pay slips and IRD summary of earnings covering the period of work experience claimed (essential if the employee has worked in NZ previously)
- Employment certificates and reference letters. This should include contact information for previous employers.
- Tax records from the relevant government authorities covering the period of work experience claimed. In the Philippines this would be from the Bureau of Internal Revenue for example.
- Any other information that supports your application.
- Confirmation that both employer and employee are aware of the need to be fully vaccinated
- If international worker is fully vaccinated already then provide evidence
- Otherwise confirmation that a plan is in place to complete this
- Once received we will then process your application and if accepted DairyNZ will forward both your name and your potential employee’s name to MPI for their approval.
Process and timelines
Following are the steps each application will be stepped through and expected timelines for each step.
Date / time period
Expected time period
Applying for allocation under border class exception
DairyNZ starts accepting applications
Monday 17 January
DairyNZ processes and verifies application meets criteria – prioritisation and evidence
From Monday 17 January
DairyNZ will aim to process all applications and send to MPI within a week. If uptake is high this may extend to two weeks.
DairyNZ sends information for nominated employers and workers to MPI
MPI review and nomination
From 24 January
Once the employer and worker are nominated, MPI send to INZ their names and confirms to DairyNZ of completion.
Depending on number of applications this may take longer
Applying for Visas
Employer submits EOI Immigration NZ
Can occur immediately upon receiving DairyNZ and MPI nomination
Typically 2-4 weeks
Cost for submitting an EOI is $380 payable to INZ.
Usually INZ will assess and process the EOI form within 4 weeks. INZ are prioritising dairy applications.
Immigration NZ send the specified and approved migrant an ITA (Invitation to apply)
Can be completed as soon as migrant receives ITA
Up to 6 weeks
INZ will send the ITA to the worker via email. Ensure the contact information is provided accurately. INZ are prioritising dairy applications.
Once INZ has approved visa
Note: Any inaccuracies or incomplete information in your applications will delay this process. We will only accept complete applications so it is important to supply all the information required in the requested format.
Currently, there are no additional costs to those usually experienced when bringing an international worker in from overseas.
Allocation of spaces
Employers from across New Zealand are eligible to apply for these class exception spaces. DairyNZ will process applications on a ‘first come, first served’ basis to help streamline the process. However, DairyNZ is required to only nominate applications that fully meet the conditions of the immigration instructions and criteria provided by government. The key criteria are a genuine need for an international worker and very good employment conditions.