Notice Type
Notice Title

Special Direction—Waiver of Requirement to Pay the Prescribed Fee for Certain Recognised Seasonal Employer Limited Visa Applications During COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

  1. Pursuant to section 57(3) of the Immigration Act 2009, I waive by special direction, the prescribed requirement under regulation 10(2)(f) of the Immigration (Visa, Entry Permission, and Related Matters) Regulations 2010 for certain applicants for a Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Limited Visa (as outlined in paragraph B) to pay the prescribed fee and immigration levy (if any).
  2. The waiver of the application requirement to pay the prescribed fee applies to persons who are:
    • currently in New Zealand; and
    • the holder of an RSE Limited Visa; and
    • applying for a further Recognised Seasonal Employer Limited Visa.

I am satisfied that the making of this special direction is reasonably necessary to manage the effects, or deal with the consequences of, the outbreak of COVID-19 or its effects. At present, applicants applying from offshore are subject to COVID-19 border restrictions which requires them to have a critical purpose to travel to and enter New Zealand. An exception has been established for up to 2000 RSE workers to obtain critical purpose conditions on RSE Limited Visas, which is significantly less than the number of workers the horticulture and viticulture industry would usually be able to access from offshore. The border exception anticipates that RSE workers will be deployed to, and moved around, regions and employers where there are the most critical workforce needs. However the short lead in time means industry have had limited time to fully develop a workforce plan to manage this movement of RSE workers. RSE workers travelling to New Zealand through the border exception (as well as any able to remain onshore from last season) may make further visa applications once onshore in order to move around New Zealand during this season (to 30 June 2021). Waiving the requirement to pay the prescribed fee and any levy removes a barrier to movement of RSE workers to where the greatest workforce need is and removes a cost normally borne by the RSE worker. The waiver also benefits RSE workers who are already onshore and continue to be affected by COVID-19 measures offshore, primarily affecting their repatriation. It removes a barrier to their ability to make an application to transfer to another RSE employer during this season.

This special direction expires on 1 July 2021 unless revoked earlier.

Dated this 17th day of December 2020.

Hon KRIS FAAFOI, Minister of Immigration.

Explanatory Note

The effect of this special direction is to facilitate the application for a further Recognised Seasonal Employer Limited visa for visa holders affected by COVID-19 border restrictions. It applies to workers already in New Zealand and those who arrive in New Zealand with a critical purpose condition to work for an RSE employer for some of the 2021 season and could take up further subsequent RSE employment before the end of the season. It enables the horticulture and viticulture industries to seek to employ these workers when ability to recruit migrant workers from offshore if they did not manage to arrange joint recruitment and employment arrangements prior to the workers arriving.