Guide to hiring a migrant worker

Many employers will be familiar with the process of hiring and managing a workforce, but when it comes to hiring workers from overseas, employers need to understand the process will take time and they need to plan ahead. The laws regarding hiring migrant workers are constantly being revised to suit New Zealand’s changing workforce needs.

It takes time

Before hiring a migrant worker, employers need to know it will take time. You’ll need time to find the right candidates, time to conduct the hiring process, time to secure a visa, and if the candidate is not already based in New Zealand time for that migrant to move to New Zealand. It also takes patience, perseverance and funding to possibly advertise or even travel overseas to recruit. Then employers may need to pay for relocation costs for the right candidate.

The “job check”

New Zealand has an unemployment record that is near an all-time low but still has skill shortages and labour shortages. Skill shortages include occupations where someone might take up to seven or more years to train up to New Zealand standards. Immigration New Zealand maintains a list of current occupations where there is a skill shortage.

Labour shortages include seasonal workers for industries such as fruit picking where a kiwi fruit farmer might need to bring in labour to pick the fruit off their vines.

Employers should consider which countries would have workers that would be suitable to fill job vacancies in New Zealand. Are the professional standards similar? Would potential employees fit into the culture? What type of job orientation will you need to provide?

Often employers will need to show that they’ve taken the practical steps to hire locally and found that no one in New Zealand fits the criteria and expertise. This is called a labour market test and is often required for jobs that are not listed on New Zealand’s skill shortage list.

The SkillFinder tool

Immigration New Zealand also has an online tool called “SkillFinder” where employers can search for potential skilled migrants who have already indicated a willingness to come into the country. Regardless of how you find your ideal candidate, you will need to give them a job offer before they can apply for a work visa. For a work visa, potential migrants will also need to pass health and character requirements which warrant a medical check and a police background check in their home country.

There are many types or work visas so employers will need to determine the one which best suits their circumstances as an employer. Once Immigration New Zealand has approved the work visa, your migrant worker can come into the country and begin work.

Settling in New Zealand

Employers should see to it that migrants filling a skill shortage have a viable career path. What will they be looking for three years down the track if they wish to bring their family to New Zealand or become a resident?

Immigration New Zealand has a Facebook page for new migrants as well as a quarterly newsletter which might help migrants adjust to their new country.

Who can give immigration advice?

Only a licensed immigration adviser can give advice on New Zealand immigration matters. This applies whether the advice is direct or indirect, and whether or not the advice is paid for.
This means you should never try to advise a potential employee about choosing the right visa or completing their visa application.

When to seek professional help

If you’re really having difficulty finding workers in a high-demand skill set, we can help.

We can assist employers by:
 Assess whether the person you want to employ has the capacity to secure a visa, and then secure residence over the longer term. (This second aspect is particularly important – there is no point in recruiting from overseas if your hire won’t be able to make a long-term commitment to your organisation)
 Assess which method of work visa application is appropriate
 Review whether your job advertising and local labour market search will be acceptable to Immigration New Zealand
 Review the terms and conditions of the employment agreement to ensure they are within market standard
 Guide you in regard to the documentation needed for the application
 Guide your work visa applicant as to the documentation needed for the application
 Make the work visa application on behalf of the new hire
 Assist you and your work visa applicant in responding to any concerns expressed by Immigration New Zealand during the processing of the application

For all of these scenarios we can advise what is required, help create your case, and assist you in putting your documentation together for a successful submission.

Is it worth becoming an accredited employer?

From 2021 an employer must be accredited to hire any migrant worker on the new temporary work visa. Becoming an accredited employer would simplify many of the complexities of supporting work visa applications.

As part of the accreditation process a business owner must demonstrate to Immigration New Zealand that they are a good employer. We’ll help you make a strong case to Immigration New Zealand and help your business develop a pathway for the smooth recruitment of talent from offshore.

Want to know more?
Read our employer checklist so you can see the documentation and process you will need to follow to employ a skilled migrant.

Read our guide to becoming an accredited employer.

If in doubt, seek advice from our team to review the documentation before applications are made to INZ. Contact our business team now.

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