Hire migrant workers

Note: the information below is subject to major changes in 2022. Find out more here.

Things to consider

With many industries experiencing skills shortages, it may be tempting to look elsewhere to find the right candidate for your business. The process is not as daunting as it may appear at first glance, but you as an employer must be mindful of a few important steps. If you have carefully considered all the steps below, your candidate will need a written job offer, and will also have to meet requirements to be healthy and of good character.

Lastly, as of mid-2022, a business must hold employer accreditation before they can support an international worker's work visa application.

Become an accredited employer

Is the staff you need available locally?

Hiring migrants should aim to fill gaps in the New Zealand workforce

In many –not all– cases, you will have to show that you are unable to find suitable staff locally, before you can offer a role to a migrant. Immigration New Zealand refers to this as the 'labour market test', ie are there suitable New Zealanders to fill the role? In essence, your attempts to recruit New Zealanders can be is easily proven by advertising the position on major platforms such as Seek or Trademe, and showing evidence that no other candidate was suitable. Recruiters may also provide supporting evidence, and potential candidates for lower-skilled occupations can be searched with the help of your local Work & Income branch (in the form of a Skills Match Report).

Some occupations/candidates/employers may see the 'labour market test' requirement waived, depending on their circumstances. This means you can hire a migrant without advertising the role if the conditions are met.

The labour market test

Will your candidate require a visa?

Some individuals may already have work rights in New Zealand as part of their existing visa, or they may require a visa based on the position you are offering them. Temporary visitors on a general visitor visa do not usually have work rights. Resident visa holders may accept any job, in any occupation, in any region.

What visa options are available for your staff?

There are several visa options available to your candidate, depending on their credentials, your status as an employer, the job offered, the region, etc. However, as of mid-2022, the main visa applied for will be the Accredited Employer Work visa.

Find out more about visa options


Contact our friendly team today to discuss your accreditation or visa requirements.