Recognised Seasonal Employer/ Supplementary Seasonal Employer visa changes
Click here for information on the SSE Visa
People in New Zealand with expiring working holiday visas will be able to stay in the country to fill short-term horticulture and viticulture roles.
In addition, stranded former RSE workers who are still in New Zealand on flexible limited visas enabling to work part time and do non-RSE work, will be able to ‘re-enter’ the RSE Scheme and work for RSE employers in the horticulture and viticulture industries with 30 hours per week average pay guaranteed.
Working Holiday Scheme Visa Holders moving to Supplementary Seasonal Employer visa
Around 11,000 Working Holiday Scheme visa holders who are in New Zealand, with visas expiring between November 2020 and March 2021, will be automatically granted Supplementary Seasonal Employment (SSE) visas.
This allows them to work until 30 June 2021 in horticulture and viticulture seasonal roles where there are not enough New Zealanders available to do the work.
Eligibility for the Supplementary Seasonal Employment visa will also be expanded so that people who hold or have held a work visa will be able to apply. They will need to have a job offer from an eligible employer when the changes are implemented.
SSE visa holders will be able to work in horticulture and viticulture roles where there are not enough New Zealanders available to do this work.
This means that employers can take on these workers when:
o there are unfilled RSE spaces with an RSE employer, or
o there are roles available with an accredited SSE employer, or
o the roles and relevant region has been put on a list, currently in development, by the Ministry of Social Development on the basis that no New Zealanders are available.
Onshore holders of any work visas who have secured a genuine job offer in horticulture and viticulture roles will soon be able to apply for an SSE visa.
An SSE visa will enable the visa holder to be employed by any of the following:
an employer with an approved SSE Approval in Principle (AIP);
an RSE employer with an approved Agreement to Recruit (ATR) where places have been unable to be filled by RSE workers;
any employer in a role, region and period of time specified by MSD
Message for you as RSE employers
• You need to prioritise your RSE workforce, before seeking to recruit an SSE visa holder.
• There are two ways you can employ an SSE visa holder:
- If you have places in an approved ATR that you have been unable to fill by employing an RSE worker, you can go ahead and employ an SSE visa holder for the shortfall. Government encourages you to set up your employment arrangements so that if there is an announcement that RSE workers enter the country, you can transition to filling the roles with offshore RSE workers. Care should be taken to ensure employment law is followed in the case of any dismissal.
- You could also apply for an SSE Approval In Principle.
If MSD lists a role in your region in the list of approved work, you are unconstrained in the number of SSE visa holders you can employ to do those roles.
However, MSD will continue to monitor employer engagement over the coming season, and they will take into account engagement with them this season in any subsequent ATR applications. It is important you continue to engage genuinely and proactively with them.
Message for your RSE workers
If you have the flexible special direction visa and are happy to stay on for the next season, you can ask your employer to ‘re-enter’ the RSE scheme so that you have 30 hours per week average pay and can only do RSE work.
If you want to leave New Zealand at the first available opportunity, do discuss with your employer about whether ‘re-entering’ the scheme is the right option for you.
Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme
The changes are limited to the upcoming season because the New Zealand Government remains committed to the RSE scheme as the primary vehicle for supporting migrant workers into horticulture and viticulture roles.
RSE workers will be able to return and work in New Zealand when it is safe to do so.
We want to ensure we are providing options for RSE workers who are in NZ to allow their needs to be met, given many RSE workers do not have the option to return home.
Currently, there are approximately 7,000 RSE workers still in New Zealand.