Notice Type
Notice Title

Special Direction—Waiver of the Requirement to Provide Passport Photographs for Certain Recognised Seasonal Employer Limited Visa Applications During COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

A. Pursuant to section 57(3) of the Immigration Act 2009 (“Act”), I waive by special direction, the prescribed requirement under regulation 10(2)(e)(ii) 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 provide two passport-sized photographs of the applicant’s head and shoulders.

B. Pursuant to section 57(5) of the Immigration Act 2009, the waiver of the application requirement to provide two passport-sized photographs of the applicant’s head and shoulders applies to persons who are:

  • currently in New Zealand; and
  • the holder of a limited visa under the RSE immigration instructions and/or the COVID-19 Support Restricted Temporary Entry Instructions (an RSE limited visa); and
  • applying for a further RSE 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.

The class of persons to whom this special direction applies are currently in New Zealand holding RSE limited visas which restricts them to working for an RSE with an Agreement to Recruit. New Zealand’s ongoing border restrictions has limited the number of RSE workers who have been able to travel to New Zealand, and the August 2021 Delta COVID-19 outbreak in New Zealand has created significant difficulty for visa holders in New Zealand to be repatriated as scheduled due to the cancellation of flights to their home countries. It is anticipated that future flights may also be cancelled due to COVID-19. Waiving the visa application requirement to provide passport photographs streamlines the application process and removes a logistical barrier for workers – many of who are working in remote rural areas – from obtaining subsequent RSE limited visas. This will allow these workers to remain lawful and earn an income until they can repatriate to their home country, while also supporting New Zealand’s horticulture and viticulture industries during ongoing labour shortages.

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 facilitate the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) limited visa application process for the class of persons described in this direction (all being persons in New Zealand on RSE limited visas, who face difficulty departing New Zealand and have limited options to remain lawfully in New Zealand and earn an income to support themselves while they are unable to depart).