New Zealand Employer Responsibilities and Obligations

Employers who hire foreign skilled migrants must adhere to New Zealand immigration, labour and employment laws to ensure appropriate workplace standards are upheld for all workers.

New Zealand employers are subject to the following obligations and responsibilities:

Complying with Immigration and Employment Law

Employers must comply with the following:

  • Job offers – employers can offer a job to foreign skilled workers prior to them obtaining a work or resident visa
  • Providing immigration advice to migrants – only licensed professionals are permitted to provide immigration advice. It is important that employers do not advise their prospective employees and instead direct them to a immigration adviser
  • Employment law – New Zealand employment law is applicable to migrants and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents alike. Employers should be aware that breaches of employment standards can negatively impact your ability to hire skilled migrants in the future.
  • Feedback about an employee – New Zealand Immigration can be informed when a foreign skilled worker has a visa to work for your business and their employment has ceased unexpectedly
  • Fishing or Boat Crews – employers should be aware that certain employment conditions are applicable to hiring foreign crew members

Attempt to Recruit New Zealanders

Prior to recruiting foreign skilled migrants, employers may be required to:

The only exceptions to this are:

Local Hire Obligations

Employers are obligated to attempt to fill labour shortages by advertising and recruiting locally prior to hiring overseas workers. If they are unsuccessful in their local recruitment attempts, they can then explore hiring foreign skilled workers however they must be able to provide evidence that they could not find a suitable candidate locally.

Types of evidence include:

  • Details of advertising
  • Copes of advertisement and receipts for its cost
  • Information about results of job advertisements

Evidence of Training

If New Zealand Immigration request evidence from an employer that they have attempted to train a local New Zealand citizen or resident, acceptable forms of evidence include:

  • Type of training provided and outcome
  • Plans to train and increase skills of New Zealanders to fulfill the position
  • Evidence confirming industry details
    • Availability of New Zealanders to do the job
    • Need for foreign labour in the market
    • Industry organization or body’s opinion on the terms and conditions of employment offer

Hiring for the Entertainment Industry

There are specific responsibilities and obligations for employers who are looking to hire foreign skilled workers for the entertainment industry. Employers must seek agreement from industry bodies to support the work visa application.

The table below sets out the relevant industry body depending on the entertainment sector:

Entertainment Sector Industry Body
Comedians and Comedy Acts New Zealand Comedy Guild Inc
Performers or Vocalists – Musical Instruments and Support Staff Musicians Branch of the Service and Food Workers Union
Other Performing Artists New Zealand Actors Equity
Screen Directors Directors & Editors Guild of NZ
Film and Television Producers Screen Production and Development Association of New Zealand
Film and Video Production and Post-Production The New Zealand Film & Video Technicians’ Guild
Technical Personnel at Live Events New Zealand Actors’ Guild

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