When do applications open?
Applications opened on Thursday 8 July.
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 approve each individual employer and potential migrant employee. To do this, the provision of all the requested information is required upfront, and the initial review will add time to the process.
Each migrant employee must also enter Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) and employers are responsible for these costs.
How are you ensuring that the process is fair?
There will be a two week window where employers looking to bring in migrant workers can provide the required information to DairyNZ to understand demand. Demand for the class exceptions will determine if the available spots need to be allocated based on the prioritisation criteria. If demand exceeds the maximum number approved for the available class border exception the prioritisation process agreed between DairyNZ, Federated Farmers and MPI (and available on this webpage) will be enacted.
If there are still positions available after two weeks, exceptions will be allocated on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis, provided employers and migrant workers 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, but is otherwise the usual immigration process and normal fees will apply.
Do I need to use an immigration advisor?
No, however if you would like to engage with an immigration adviser you may. You will need to provide evidence to show any potential migrant worker meets the criteria of the class border exception.
How do I ensure my application is processed as quickly as possible?
Providing all 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?
When applications first open it will take DairyNZ 2 weeks to understand demand and approximately another week to confirm whether your application can proceed. After that we are aiming for a one week turnaround. We will confirm immediately if we have reached the 200 threshold.
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 migrant workers meet the criteria of the immigration instructions. DairyNZ will check the information you have provided to make sure this is the case.
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 approved 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 migrant worker(s) meet the criteria provided to us by government of the class border exception. If a migrant worker fails other steps of the visa process (e.g. a medical) 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?
The minimum salaries for the different roles were specified in the Immigration Instructions at $79,500 for a Herd Manager and $92,000 for an Assistant Manager. These salaries are for a 40 hour week. If the employee works more than 40 hours, the government has stipulated they will need to be remunerated accordingly. This additional remuneration could be in the form of an hourly wage ($38.22 per hour for Herd Managers or $44.23 per hour for Assistant Managers) or it could be in the form of time off in lieu (TOIL) or additional annual leave. This will need to be specified clearly in the agreement.
What is defined as a critical need area for the farm assistant roles?
As listed in the prioritisation rankings, employers in Canterbury (starting with flood impacted farms), Otago, and Southland will be given first priority if demand for exceptions exceeds the available spots. After that we will assess each application individually.
What is the rationale for deciding which areas are deemed critical or not?
Farmer feedback and survey results have indicated the most critical shortages are in Canterbury (and particularly those impacted by flooding), Otago and Southland and so these areas will get higher priority. The decision was made between DairyNZ, Federated Farmers and government.
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 book the MIQ space?
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 migrant 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 migrant worker’s job.
How much will the entire process cost?
Costs will vary per application but are likely to be in excess of $10,000 per worker. A successful employer is required to pay MIQ costs for the worker (and any partner/dependents) along with two weeks’ salary or wages. All 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?
This will not be a fast process, there are considerably more steps than pre-COVID immigration processes and MIQ space needs to be booked. It is likely to take at least 3 months from when the first application is made to DairyNZ before the migrant worker is ready to work on farm.
If I am not successful, how do I dispute the decision?
If your application is declined then an explanation will be provided as to why. There may be an opportunity to add further evidence to support a reapplication.
When do applications close?
A requirement of the class border exception is migrant workers must be in NZ by the end of April 2022. To ensure this happens Applications will remain open until all 200 spots have been filled or until the end of January 2022, whichever comes first.
Why has this taken so long to organise?
Since the immigration instructions were released DairyNZ and Federated Farmers have been working closely and at pace with government to ensure all criteria are fully understood and that a robust process is in place. There is a huge amount of complexity involved and it is important to us that we can be sure we are representing farmers as best as possible.
What if my email won't send with so many attachments?
DairyNZ can accept large files, but your email provider may limit the size of outgoing emails.
If this is the case, send through a series of emails (ideally named 'email 1 of 3', 'email 2 of 3' etc.
The Process Explained
Bringing a migrant worker into New Zealand is a two-step process.
1. Applying for an allocation 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 migrant worker, and their partner and/or dependents, you would like to bring in and your confirmation that you believe 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 migrant worker, will meet all the required costs and obligations as provided to us by government, and that the migrant worker has the experience required to fulfil the role.
Once DairyNZ have assessed and approved the application for a class border exception, we will pass on both your name as the employer and your migrant workers name, and those of their partner and/or dependents, to MPI for their approval. The document DairyNZ will provide to MPI is the ‘checklist’.
Once MPI have reviewed and approved DairyNZ’s recommendation, MPI will pass on both your name as the employer and your migrant 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 migrant 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 approved.
2. Obtaining visas for your workers
Step two begins with INZ inviting your worker to apply for a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa via email. The worker themselves must complete the form and provide any additional relevant information requested by INZ.