When do applications for nomination by DairyNZ open?
Applications opened on 17 January 2022.
What is the key difference between this class exception process and the usual visa process?
There is an additional step for a class border exception in comparison to an individual visa application – this step requires DairyNZ and MPI to nominate each individual employer and potential international employee. To do this, the provision of all the requested information is required upfront, and the initial review will add time to the process.
Following nomination by DairyNZ, the migrant worker and their employer have to file an expression of interest (EOI). If that is approved by INZ, it will issue an invitation to apply (ITA). That application is the actual visa application.
How are you ensuring that the process is fair?
We have agreed with government to process applications as we receive them.
We will only process complete applications and of course employers and international workers must meet the exception criteria.
How much does it cost to apply?
There is no cost for DairyNZ to process your application which is step 1. Step 2 includes an Expression of Interest process which is $380, otherwise the usual immigration process and normal fees will apply.
Employers must also pay any MIQ costs and wages / salaries from when the employee arrives in New Zealand if required (currently no MIQ or isolation is required for these workers from 5 March 2022 as long as they are fully vaccinated).
Do I need to use a licensed immigration advisor or lawyer?
No, however if you would like to engage with a licensed immigration adviser or lawyer you may. Given the complexity of the entire process, obtaining professional advice may be helpful.
How do I ensure my application is processed as quickly as possible?
Providing ALL requested and relevant information and evidence to us will help make the process as smooth and timely as possible.
How do I know where I sit in the queue?
We currently have plenty of spaces available. We process in the order we receive applications. If we are getting close to the 1000 places we will notify farmers on this webpage.
What happens if I don’t have all the information available or forget to submit it
The information you submit needs to show your job and your international workers meet the criteria of the immigration instructions. DairyNZ can only process complete applications (otherwise they will need to be resubmitted) so please ensure everything on the checklist is complete. We are following this process to ensure the best outcomes for all.
If you are notified that you can submit your EOI to INZ, the information provided on the EOI must match what was submitted to DairyNZ. This includes both high level information such as names and contact details as well as evidence submitted such as employment agreements.
I need to change some information I provided to DairyNZ. Can I do this?
Yes but your application can be processed fastest if you provide all information the first time around. To change information email email@example.com.
Who can I speak to about my application?
Ring DairyNZ at 0800 4 324 7969.
I am sharing sensitive information with DairyNZ, how will my data be protected?
If I am nominated by DairyNZ, is it guaranteed my migrant worker(s) will get a visa and enter NZ?
No. DairyNZ is not responsible for issuing any visas. Our role is to confirm that employers and international worker(s) meet the criteria provided to us by government of the class border exception. There are some situations where DairyNZ and government may disagree on suitability and whilst DairyNZ may have nominated a worker, Immigration New Zealand could decline the EOI or the visa application. Read these case studies here to see if these situations may apply to you. Also if an international worker fails other steps of the visa process (e.g. a medical or character check) then the visa application could be declined.
What information will be shared by DairyNZ and MPI with Immigration New Zealand?
Your name and contact details, your potential employee’s (and their families) name, date of birth, citizenship/nationality and passport numbers.
What do I do if the DairyNZ job descriptions do not align exactly with the role we have on offer?
We suggest you note any variations in your letter of offer to the potential employee.
How many hours of work do the salaries for the Herd Manager and Assistant Manager categories cover?
There is no longer a set salary or hourly rate for Herd Manager and Assistant Manager roles however the minimum hourly rate is $28 / hour and there is an expectation/requirement that competitive market rates are paid for these roles. That is likely to mean that salaries at the original immigration instructions of $79,500 per annum for a Herd Manager and $92,000 for an Assistant Manager but for 50 hour work weeks could exist as a guideline.
What is defined as a critical need area for the farm assistant roles?
Government have agreed that all regions of New Zealand will be considered critical need.
Can I apply for more than one migrant employee for my business?
Yes – if you have genuine need for more than one worker. We strongly advise you to make all applications at once so we can assess your situation fairly.
Will this impact other applications that I have with Immigration New Zealand?
No although you cannot apply for positions that you already have in-train with Immigration NZ.
How do I check if MIQ is needed or not in these changing times?
Are the visas automatically linked to a place in MIQ?
From 5 March 2022 full vaccinated workers will not be required to self-isolate or use MIQ.
How long will the visa be issued for?
The Critical Purpose Visitor Visa for the dairy class border exception are issued for 12 months.
Will international workers be able to stay in NZ and work once their Critical Purpose Visitor Visa expires?
If they transfer to a different visa such as an essential skills visa. Typically, the employer will need to demonstrate that there are no New Zealanders available to do the international worker’s job.
How much will the entire process cost?
Costs will be similar to a typical visa process. If MIQ was reinstated, then employers are required to pay this and any MIQ costs are non-recoverable through the employee's wages. Payment of visa costs, flights etc (and for any partners or dependents accompanying the workers) can be negotiated between the employer and the worker.
If my application is successful how long will it take for the employee to be on farm and ready to work?
It is likely to take at least 2 months from when the first application for nomination is made to DairyNZ before the international worker is ready to work on farm, and it can be longer if there are complications with INZ.
If I am not successful, how do I dispute the decision?
If your application is not nominated by DairyNZ, then an explanation will be provided as to why. There may be an opportunity to add further evidence to support a reapplication for nomination.
EOI and visa applications declined by Immigration New Zealand cannot be appealed, but it may be possible to seek reconsideration if the applicant feels INZ has made fundamental errors in processing.
When do applications close?
1 September 2022. Or when the 1000 spots have been filled, whichever comes first.
What if I can't upload my documents?
Contact DairyNZ at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0800 4 324 7969.
What do I need to pay a Farm Assistant?
You need to pay $28/hour. Rent can be deducted from this. You can either pay an hourly wage or a salary. If using a salary then the employment agreement will need to state how many hours the salary covers (ensuring the minimum is $28/hour), and you will need a clause stating that any hours above this will be topped up at $28/hour.
The Process Explained
Bringing an international worker into New Zealand is a two-step process.
1. Applying for nomination under the class exception
The first step of the approval process is to supply specific documentation to DairyNZ for assessment. The documentation relates to the international worker, and their partner and/or dependents, you would like to bring in and your confirmation that you believe you and they meet the criteria of the class border exception. This information will allow DairyNZ to determine if you as the employer have a genuine need to employ the international worker, will meet all the required costs and obligations as provided to us by the government, and that the international worker has the experience required to fulfil the role.
Once DairyNZ have assessed and nominated the application for a class border exception, we will pass on both your name as the employer and your international workers name, and those of their partner and/or dependents, to MPI for their confirmation of the nomination. The document DairyNZ will provide to MPI is the ‘checklist’.
Once MPI have reviewed and confirmed DairyNZ’s nomination, MPI will pass on both your name as the employer and your international workers name, and those of their partner and/or dependents, to INZ. You are then required to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) form on the INZ website, providing the relevant supporting information to INZ. Please note, the cost of submitting an EOI form to INZ is $380, which is payable at the time of submission.
Do not submit your EOI until you have received confirmation from DairyNZ that MPI has shared the names and details of your workers, and their partner and/or dependents, to INZ. It is recommended that you provide all your approved international workers on one EOI to save costs, but do not include any non-approved names otherwise, the entire EOI will be declined and need to be resubmitted at a further cost of $380.
You will be notified by INZ when your EOI is processed and either approved or declined. Note DairyNZ processes applications based on the immigration instructions and our industry requirements. In general, these align with Immigration New Zealand, however, it is important to understand that DairyNZ can only make decisions based on the information provided. Immigration New Zealand has access to all information relating to international workers if they have worked in New Zealand before. Sometimes this means different decisions can be made by them.
2. Obtaining visas for your workers
Step two begins with INZ inviting your worker to apply for a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa. This is called an Invitation to Apply (ITA) and will be sent by email. The worker themselves must complete the application form and provide any additional relevant information requested by INZ.