Notice Type
Notice Title

Special Direction—Grant of Limited Visa to Stranded RSE Workers to Manage Effects and Deal With Consequences of Measures Taken to Contain or Mitigate the Outbreak of COVID-19 or its Effects

Pursuant to section 61A(2)(b) of the Immigration Act 2009 (“Act”) of my own volition, by special direction, I grant a limited visa to a class of onshore temporary entry class visa holders, as classified in this direction.

Pursuant to section 61A(5) of the Act, the class of persons granted a limited visa are those persons who:

  1. are in New Zealand and hold a limited visa for the express purpose of undertaking seasonal work in the horticulture or viticulture industry (which is planting, maintaining, harvesting or packing crops) under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) immigration instructions and/or under the COVID-19 Support Restricted Temporary Entry Instructions which will expire in 30 days or less from the date the undertaking from their employer (as specified at (4) below) is received by Immigration New Zealand;
  2. are unable to repatriate to their home country before their visa expires because they have either booked a flight which has been cancelled, or are booked on the next available flight which is scheduled to leave New Zealand after the date of their visa expiry;
  3. have an employment agreement with an RSE;
  4. are named by the RSE in an undertaking that has been provided by the RSE to Immigration New Zealand (the relevant business unit of the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment) (INZ), in the form set out in the Schedule to this special direction and with any documentation required to be provided by the undertaking.

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. The class of persons to whom this special direction applies are in New Zealand holding limited visas for the purpose of undertaking horticulture or viticulture work for a Recognised Seasonal Employer (limiting their ability to lawfully remain in New Zealand once the express purpose of the limited visa has been achieved). The August 2021 Delta COVID-19 outbreak in New Zealand has created significant difficulty for these visa holders to be repatriated as expected due to the cancellation of flights to their home countries (to mitigate the risk of spread of COVID-19). It is anticipated that future flights may also be cancelled due to COVID-19. This special direction will enable workers to remain lawful and work while awaiting a flight.

I am satisfied that the new visa does not materially disadvantage the class of persons involved.

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. the express purpose of the limited visa is for the holder being able to undertake work and earn an income until flights are available to them to depart New Zealand;
  2. the start date of the limited visa is the date the holder’s current limited visa expires;
  3. the limited visa expires three months after the start date;
  4. is subject to the conditions that the visa holder:
    1. remains in the employment of the employer with whom they have entered an employment agreement (refer para 3 of this Special Direction);
    2. holds “acceptable medical insurance” defined as medical insurance that meets the same criteria as under the immigration instructions at WH1.25 of the Immigration New Zealand Operational Manual.
      The limited visa holder is also subject to the condition that the holder comply with:
    3. any order made under section 11 of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020; and
    4. any order made under section 70 of the Health Act 1956 and listed in schedule 2 of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020; and
    5. any instruction from a Medical Officer of Health which relates to a notifiable or quarantinable disease.
      For the avoidance of doubt, limited visas granted to the class of persons identified above are not subject to:
    6. a location requirement;
    7. other than any restrictions arising from the conditions above, any restrictions on the nature or industry of work (other than any restrictions under any New Zealand enactment).

This special direction expires on 31 August 2022 unless revoked earlier.

Dated this 28th day of September 2021.

Hon KRIS FAAFOI, Minister of Immigration.

Explanatory Note

The effect of this special direction is to grant limited visas to the class of persons described in this direction. These are persons in New Zealand on limited visas for the purpose of working under the RSE Scheme, who face difficulty departing New Zealand in accordance with those visas and that Scheme, and are unable to seek another visa and otherwise earn an adequate income to support themselves while they are unable to depart.


RSE Undertaking for the grant of Limited Visas for certain RSE workers awaiting repatriation

Undertaking in regards to the employment, work and care of onshore RSE workers who are awaiting repatriation

The commitments in this undertaking are given to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) (a business unit of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the responsible department for the administration of the Immigration Act 2009) by __________________________________________________

(being the employer of the persons named in this undertaking, and a Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) under the Recognised Seasonal Employer immigration instructions, as published in the Immigration New Zealand Operational Manual) (the employer).

This undertaking is given on the date that it is provided to INZ.

The information provided in this document is for the purpose of an undertaking given to INZ, committing the employer to certain requirements in respect of named employees.

The employer, in giving this undertaking, confirms that each person named and attached to this undertaking is employed by them and is awaiting repatriation (either because there is a gap between the end of their current contract and the next repatriation flight, or because a flight has been deferred or cancelled).

The employer, in giving this undertaking, warrants that they have the full knowledge and informed consent of each person named. Each named person will, on the giving of this undertaking and verification by INZ that they otherwise are a person within a class of persons granted a visa by special direction of the Minister of Immigration under section 61A of the Immigration Act 2009, be granted a limited visa on the terms set out by the Minister.

Information provided by the employer will be managed within the requirements of the Privacy Act 2020 (where personal information), the Official Information Act 1982 and the Public Records Act 2005. This undertaking (and verification of meeting the commitments within) will be relevant to the employer’s future status as a RSE and for determining an application for an Agreement to Recruit.

Details of the person/persons/entity giving the undertaking

Person(s) giving the undertaking on behalf of the employer:______________________

Nominated person (point of contact for INZ communications): ____________________

Phone number and email address for INZ communication: ______________________

Commitments Given

The employer acknowledges and agrees that they will abide by the following terms:

  1. They will work cooperatively with any and all relevant parties and authorities (as determined by INZ in its sole discretion) to coordinate the repatriation of each named person that is granted a limited visa following the giving of this undertaking, at the earliest practicable opportunity.
  2. For the duration of any limited visa granted by special direction of the Minister of Immigration to a person named in this undertaking, they will guarantee that they will, for the duration of the visa:
    1. take all reasonable steps to provide full time work, including finding opportunities with other RSE employers if necessary
    2. arrange for the named persons medical insurance to be extended
    3. provide the named persons with pastoral care (as set out at WH1.10.1(f)) of immigration instructions).
  3. They will comply with the RSE commitments specified in WH1.5.5(c) of the immigration instructions with the exception of:
    1. the requirement that employment agreements comply with minimum remuneration and RSE work restrictions under WH1.5.5(c)(iv); and
    2. the requirement to have direct responsibility for the daily work output and supervision under WH1.5.5(c)(ix), which does not apply if workers are contacted to a third party.
  4. That no person named below will be deployed to a third party that is on the stand down list of non-compliant employers maintained by the Labour Inspectorate.


The employer acknowledges that:

  • They commit to meeting the obligations of this undertaking as it relates to the named persons in order to establish that they are members of a class of persons and facilitate the granting of limited visas by special direction under section 61A of the Immigration Act 2009 by the Minister of Immigration. If any of the named persons are not, in fact, in the class of persons the employer is not bound to fulfil this undertaking in respect of that individual.
  • They may be required to provide information (including documents) to INZ to demonstrate that they have met the commitments above and/or have otherwise complied with their obligations in this undertaking.
  • Failure to meet the commitments given, or to provide information (including documents) to demonstrate they have met their commitments, may negatively impact future applications by the employer to obtain or renew RSE accreditation or Agreement to Recruit under the RSE Scheme.
  • That they enter this undertaking with the full knowledge and informed consent of each person named.

Named Persons

Include the following identifying details of each named person in a spreadsheet attached to this undertaking:

  • Full name with family name in CAPITALS
  • Date of birth

The undersigned declares that they have the full authority of the employer to make this undertaking

Signed for and on behalf of the employer: