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Hiring the right employee is an investment, and with a bit of thought a retention plan can make a real difference to your bottom line. Taking some simple, common sense steps to help your employee settle in will benefit both your business and your employee.


As any good employer knows, ensuring pay and conditions are equitable and in line with those of other employees is part of the foundation for a positive employment relationship.




From the first contact with your new employee to the time they arrive in New Zealand be positive but be realistic. Don’t promise anything that you – or New Zealand – cannot deliver.




If you can provide the migrant and their family with information and insight into the basics like introductions to schools and even employment opportunities for their partner, this will help. A happy, well settled family equals a happy, well settled, productive employee who is more likely to remain loyal.




Making support networks available for the migrant and their family prior to their arrival in New Zealand can be invaluable. This will help the migrant to plan their new life as well as creating a support network that operates prior to arrival, when they land and for the crucial few months post-arrival. Settlement Support NZ can assist with this.




Think about practical steps you can take to help your employee get established. Can you provide flexible working hours at the start to give them time to set up their household?




Migrants bring with them different ways of thinking and doing. They may have ideas and networks that could benefit your business. Not only could this improve work practices but your new employee could also open up new market opportunities.

Other Services:

If you’re new to recruiting staff from overseas, here are some pointers to help you through the recruitment process.


  • Check that your job vacancy will meet the requirements of one of the visa categories, and find out what you need to do to support a migrant’s visa application.


  • When planning offshore recruitment, consider which country or countries you are likely to find suitable candidates in. Some countries have rules and regulations that you may need to take into account when recruiting, for example China.


  • Can you increase your reach by being creative about getting the message out there? For example with or via other employers, your industry association or a recruiter?

Set realistic timeframes:


  • Allow time to undertake your usual employment processes such as advertising, evaluating CVs, interviewing, and checking references.


  • Allow time for the migrant to prepare to migrate, eg. sell their home, gather documents for their visa application (such as medical and police certificates), and to obtain occupational registration if necessary.


  • Allow time for the visa application to be processed.

Describing the job


  • Write a clear, realistic and specific job description that candidates you wish to target will understand.


  • Include key details such as the nature of the role, leave provisions, salary and a job title that they will understand. Migrants will be interested in a relocation package.


Making an offer


Once you find the right person, you can make them a job offer. The offer should include conditions that indicate the job is subject to the applicant gaining an appropriate work or resident visa.


Your new employee cannot start working for you until they have the appropriate visa and the job offer must be current when the person applies for their visa.

Work visa applications are very complex, require careful handling and must meet a high threshold of proof that there are no New Zealand residents or citizens available to fill the positions.


In most cases, the candidate will need a job offer before applying for a work visa , though some migrants already hold an ‘open’ work visa or working holiday visa to work for any employer.




The Essential Skills in Demand Lists are Immigration New Zealand’s (INZ’s) three occupational skill shortage lists. If you offer a job to someone in an occupation on one of the lists and the candidate has qualifications and experience as specified on the list, it is normally easier to obtain an Essential Skills work visa. You can check whether or not an occupation is on one of the skills shortage lists here.


If you have a temporary or short term vacancy in an occupation not listed on the Essential Skills in Demand Lists you may still be able to recruit a worker from overseas. You’ll need to show you have made genuine attempts to recruit New Zealand residents or citizens.




You could apply to Immigration New Zealand for Approval in Principle to recruit workers from overseas. If your application is approved, you’ll have assurance that you can recruit appropriately qualified and experienced people from overseas.




If you need to employ someone temporarily for a specific purpose or event, they can apply for a work visa. The people who qualify for this visa have skills and expertise that will benefit New Zealand, such as specialist machinery installers, sports referees, or people involved in film production.




If you need seasonal workers to plant, maintain, harvest and pack crops in the horticulture and viticulture industries, you might like to consider becoming a Recognised Seasonal Employer.




To engage foreign fishing crew you must request an approval in principle from Immigration New Zealand.




Working Holiday Schemes


You can temporarily employ young people from overseas who are travelling around New Zealand on Working Holiday visas. They can work for any employer.


International Students


Many international students studying full-time in New Zealand are able to work for any employer for up to 20 hours per week in term time.


Silver Fern Visas


There are two types of Silver Fern Visa. The Silver Fern Job Search visa is a nine month open work visa, designed to bring skilled young people to New Zealand. Once these candidates have obtained skilled employment, they can apply for the two year Silver Fern Practical Experience visa. After that, it is likely they will be eligible to apply for a Skilled Migrant Category resident visa.


Work Visas for People Joining their Partner in New Zealand


If your prospective employee is the partner of a New Zealand citizen or resident, or the partner of a work visa holder, they could have an open work visa and be able to work for any employer.


Visa Options Diagram


To find out more on visa options for employing migrants please visit Immigration New Zealand

Are you confused about the immigration requirements for your migrant staff? Are you tired of filling in forms and dealing with Immigration New Zealand? Are you concerned about meeting your immigration obligations when employing migrant staff?


Heartland Immigration is able to assist with all of your immigration needs.


At Heartland Immigration we understand how difficult it can be to find and retain good employees. We appreciate the challenges that employers face in recruiting overseas workers and managing the perplexing immigration process.


We offer a range of services directly to employers. These services include:


  • General immigration advice: If you have any questions about the immigration process, are having difficulty with Immigration New Zealand or want to support your employees in their visa applications, we offer a service whereby we provide immigration advice to you on an hourly rate basis. We can come to your place of business or we can meet in our office. Everything that is discussed will be strictly confidential.


  • Processing visa applications for employees: We offer a comprehensive visa service for your employees. We can handle their Work Visa application or Resident Visa application for you. We will prepare all of the documentation and liaise with Immigration New Zealand. This is a complete and personalised service for those employees that you just don’t want to lose. We are happy to help with a single employee or all of your overseas workers. The choice is yours.


  • Employer applications: We can assist you with an application to become an Accredited Employer or with an Approval in Principle to Recruit Overseas Workers request. These are two key applications that employers can make to Immigration New Zealand that can greatly assist in the recruitment and retention of staff. They are complex and require a lot of supporting documentation but the benefits are countless.

There are many different types of visas and choosing the right one can be confusing. Here, we present a brief overview of the most common visa types.




Skilled Migrant


Applying under the Skilled Migrant category has always been the most popular visa class for obtaining residence in New Zealand. All principle applicants for this visa class must be under 56 years of age and are required to meet a minimum standard of health, character and English language prerequisites before an Expression of Interest can be lodged with Immigration New Zealand. The Skilled Migrant visa is for those with skilled employment in New Zealand and/or who have recognised qualifications and experience that will benefit New Zealand.




If you have family member who is already a New Zealand citizen or residence you may be eligible to remain in New Zealand permanently. The family class is divided partnership, parent and dependent child category of residence.


The Partnership category is for those living together in a exclusive, genuine and stable relationship. You do not have to be legally married and you maybe in a same-sex relationship.


The Parent category is for those with an adult New Zealand citizen or residence and income and sponsorship criteria applies. Application are submitted by submitting an Expression of Interest and then being invited to apply for residence.


The Dependent Child category is for children (in some circumstance up to 24 years of age) of New Zealand citizens and parents.


Investor and Business Categories


For those with a proven record of running a business, have capital and are wanting to actively engage in running and business opportunities in New Zealand.




Work visa:


The most common type of work visa is the Essential Skills work visa. If you have a job offer from a New Zealand employer, then this is probably the visa for you. The employer will need to show that there are no New Zealand citizens or residents available to fill the vacancy. They can do this by showing that the occupation is on one of the Essential Skills in Demand Lists or by providing evidence of advertising for the vacancy.


You will also need to meet health and character requirements as well as be able to demonstrate that you are appropriately qualified by training or experience to take up the position.


Important note: New Zealand employers can sometimes be reluctant to sponsor offshore candidates unless there are specific skills shortages and the candidate is generally unable to start for 4-6 weeks so careful planning is required.


Working Holiday Visa:


Younger citizens, generally between 18 years and 35 years, of certain countries may be eligible for a Working Holiday Visa. These visa, and schemes can differ, allows you to work and travel for one year with Canadian and United Kingdom passport holders able to stay longer. You must not undertake permanent employment and some schemes have a restricted on the length of employment for any one employer


Student Visa:


If you are enrolled into a qualifying course at a New Zealand tertiary institution, you can apply for a student visa. Some student visas also allow you to work up to 20 hours per week.


Temporary Retirement Category:


This is an extension visa designed for people who wish to stay in New Zealand longer than the 12 months of a visitor’s visa. Applicants will be issued with a 2 year multiple entry visitor’s visa which allows for travel in & out of New Zealand. It is only a temporary visa. At the end of the 2 years, applicants must leave New Zealand or re-apply for a further visa under this category, subject to meeting the requirement of this visa.


Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be aged 66 or over;
  • Nominate funds/assets of at least NZ$0.75 million and undertake to invest that money in New Zealand for a period of two years;
  • Be able to show that they own the (legally earned or acquired) funds/assets;
  • Be able to transfer & invest the said funds in an acceptable investment in New Zealand;
  • Be able to nominate funds of NZ$0.5 million of maintenance funds and demonstrate ownership of these funds;
  • Have an annual income of at least NZ$60,000.


In this category, the applicant may include his/her partner but dependent children cannot be included. Both the principal applicant and partner must also meet the health and character requirements and hold and maintain comprehensive travel and or health insurance for the two year duration. Should you be successful in your application, you will need to transfer and invest your funds in New Zealand within 3 months of your approval in principle. If you fail to do so your application will be declined.


Visitor Visa


If you wish to visit New Zealand for a short time for tourism or visiting family, then you may need to apply for a visitor visa. Nationals of some countries are not required to apply for a visitor visa before travelling to New Zealand. Others must obtain visitor visa before travelling to New Zealand. Generally, visitors may stay for a maximum of nine months in New Zealand, although this can be extended in certain circumstances.


Australian citizens and people who hold a current Australian permanent residence visa or a current Australian resident return visa do not need a New Zealand visitor visa to enter New Zealand.

What We Do – Individuals

Heartland Immigration offers a range of different services. We are happy to tailor our services to meet your needs, whatever they may be. We understand that sometimes you want someone to take care of everything for you and other times, you just need some advice. Our friendly staff are here to help you and to make the immigration process stress free.


  • Advice: We also offer a service whereby we provide advice on a half hourly rate basis. So if you are not sure what your options are, require some in depth advice or have a number of different queries, then we can assist with advice and will charge you based on the number of hours we spend working on your queries.


  • Challenges in obtaining an approval from Immigration New Zealand: If you have had your application returned to you because documents were missing, or you have received a letter from Immigration New Zealand setting out some concerns about your application, we can help. We would tailor our services to your specific needs.


  • Complimentary online assessment: We offer a complimentary online assessment of your eligibility for residence. You can complete the questionnaire here


  • Employer specific solutions: We work with employers to gain accredited Employer status, apply for Approval in Principle and source suitable candidates offshore.


  • Reviewing visa applications: We also offer a service that involves checking and reviewing your visa application. We appreciate that some people do not wish to engage an adviser to represent them with Immigration New Zealand but still want an experienced eye to look over everything. We can review your application before you submit it to Immigration New Zealand and let you know if you have all of the documentation required. We can let you know if we think Immigration New Zealand will raise any concerns about your application. This is a great option if you think you have a good grasp of the immigration requirements but want an adviser to double check your application before you submit it.


  • Tailored to your needs: We assist individuals with the visa process. We handle the entire visa process on your behalf and charge a set fee for this. We prepare the forms, collate the documentation and deal with Immigration New Zealand for you.