Hire migrant workers

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.

Since 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. The main visa applied for is typically the Accredited Employer Work visa.

Find out more about visa options

How we assist New Zealand employers

Recruiting offshore can be a costly, and time consuming endeavour. But it does not have to be a stressful one. To maximise the chance of success, we like to work in partnership with New Zealand employers. To assist with the process, we can:

  • Assess whether your ideal candidate is eligible for a visa. In immigration terms, this means to determine whether they will meet the relevant immigration instructions in place at the time of submitting the application, are they suitably qualified, do they hold the relevant registration in New Zealand, is their documentation in place?
  • Confirm what your candidate's prospects are for long term settlement in New Zealand. The vast majority of international workers aim to secure permanent residence in New Zealand.
  • Recommend the best pathway(s) for your candidate and their family.
  • Review and discuss the labour market check requirements. In other words, does the role need to be advertised, and if so, how?
  • Guide both applicant and employer throughout the documentation stage.
  • Review employment documentation against relevant regulations.
  • Act on behalf of the applicant throughout the visa application, including documentation instructions, application preparation, review, lodgement, and liaison with Immigration New Zealand until approval.


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