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Seasonal work visa available to more people

The Government is putting in place a range of immigration policy changes to help fill labour shortages in key industries.

The Supplementary Seasonal Employment (SSE) visa will be automatically given to about 11,000 working holiday visa holders in New Zealand with visas expiring between 1 November 2020 and 31 March 2021. These visas will allow them to work in the horticulture and viticulture sector where there are not enough New Zealanders available to do this work.

“This season we expect more Kiwis, who have lost jobs due to COVID-19, will be available to work in these sectors, but it is likely there will be a shortfall of workers as these industries have often relied on migrants for their seasonal peaks,” said Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi.

Employers can take on these workers when there are unfilled Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme spaces with an RSE employer, or there are unfilled roles available with an accredited SSE employer.

Employers will also be able to take on SSE workers for roles in regions specified on a list which the Ministry of Social Development is currently compiling.

Government changes will also enable other work visa holders to apply for an SSE visa if they have a job offer from one of these employers or if the job is on the Ministry of Social Development list.

In addition, all RSE scheme workers stranded in New Zealand who have been granted a more flexible limited visa to be able to work part-time and do non-RSE work will be able to ‘re-enter’ the RSE scheme and work for an RSE employer with 30 hours per week average pay guaranteed.

The changes are for the 2020/21 season only.

“We know many RSE workers are stranded in New Zealand because of COVID-19. These changes will provide certainty and options for these people, and we expect RSE workers will have priority for any seasonal work that cannot be filled by New Zealanders,” said Faafoi.

 

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