Notice Type
Notice Title

Special Direction—Grant of RSE Limited Visas to a Class of Onshore Persons Who Were Previously Granted Limited Visas as Stranded RSE Workers to Manage the Effects and Deal with Consequences of Measures Taken to Contain or Mitigate the Outbreak or Effects of COVID-19

Pursuant to section 61A(2) of the Immigration Act 2009 (“Act”), of my own volition, by special direction, I grant a Recognised Seasonal Employer limited visa to the following class of onshore persons.

Pursuant to section 61A(5) of the Act, the following persons are classified as persons to whom this special direction applies. A person who:

  1. Was granted a limited visa by special direction signed 7 July 2020 as they were included in the class of stranded Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme workers (New Zealand Gazette, 10 July 2020, Notice No. 2020-go3037); and
  2. Has an employment agreement with an RSE employer that meets minimum RSE requirements and they or their employer has submitted it to INZ along with the relevant Agreement to Recruit (ATR) number for the RSE ATR place they will fill; and
  3. The agreement is with an RSE employer that has an approved ATR

Pursuant to sections 49 and 52, and in accordance with sections 84 and 85 of the Act, each limited visa granted in accordance with this special direction is for the following express purpose, currency and conditions:

  1. For the express purpose of the visa holder being able to undertake employment for an approved RSE employer with a current ATR.
  2. For a visa currency matching the relevant ATR.
  3. Is subject to the conditions that the limited visa holder:
    1. Undertakes employment only for the RSE(s) who hold the relevant ATR (including joint ATR’s) and with whom they have entered into an employment agreement (refer para 2 of this Special Direction); and
    2. only undertakes work that has been approved in accordance with the approved ATR; and
    3. obtains and holds medical insurance (that meets the same criteria as WH1.25 of the immigration instructions) for the duration of their stay in New Zealand.
    4. Where a joint ATR is held:
      1. The worker starts and ends employment for each employer on the dates specified on the visa; or
      2. the worker starts and ends employment for each employer no earlier than 14 days before the start date specified and no later than 14 days after the end date specified for employment with each employer, as specified in the employment agreement, where all employers have agreed to the amended dates.

I am satisfied that the making of this special direction is reasonably necessary to manage the effects and deal with the consequences of measures taken to contain or mitigate the outbreak of COVID-19. This is because the making of this special direction responds to the border restrictions imposed by New Zealand and other countries which have disrupted the usual flow of RSE workers. This includes the inability of stranded RSE workers to return to their home country, or to apply for further visas as holders of a Limited visa. This special direction would allow those stranded RSE workers to be granted a new RSE visa to undertake work in horticulture and viticulture if they are willing to stay in New Zealand (indicated by their entering into an employment agreement for this purpose).

I am satisfied that this special direction does not materially disadvantage the class of persons to whom it relates because it gives these visa holders the ability to remain in New Zealand and work should they wish with certainty and the full benefits of the RSE scheme.

For the avoidance of doubt, the class of persons included in this special direction does not include excluded persons who may not be granted a visa without a special direction subject to section 17 of the Act.

Dated this 1st day of October 2020.

Hon KRIS FAAFOI, Minister of Immigration.

Explanatory Note

The effect of this special direction is to grant a new RSE visa to stranded RSE workers in New Zealand who have not yet been able to return home and who enter into an acceptable employment agreement with an approved RSE employer. The RSE visa will enable the holder to undertake work in horticulture or viticulture for a specified Recognised Seasonal Employer/s.