Home Blog INZ UPDATE: Supplementary Seasonal Employer visa changes

INZ UPDATE: Supplementary Seasonal Employer visa changes

• Work Visa and Immigration


People in New Zealand with expiring working holiday visas will be able to stay in the country to fill short-term horticulture and viticulture roles.

Around 12,000 Working Holiday Scheme visa holders who are in New Zealand, with visas expiring between 1 October 2020* and March 2021, will be automatically granted Supplementary Seasonal Employment (SSE) visas. * NOTE: for all eligible WHV holders with visas expiring in October 2020 (those onshore without on hand temporary applications on the day their visa expires), we will retrospectively record the SSE visa in [our system] and remove their UNLI record.

This allows SSE visa holders to work until 30 June 2021 in horticulture and viticulture seasonal roles where there are not enough New Zealanders available to do the work.

Eligibility for the SSE visa has been expanded so that people who hold or have held a work visa will be able to apply. They will need to have a job offer from an eligible employer.

Employers can take on SSE workers when:- They are a Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) with unfilled spaces, or
- They are an SSE AIP employer, or
- The role and region is included on a list maintained and published by MSD (https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/about-work-and-income/news/2020/supplementary-seasonal-employer-visa.html)

An SSE visa will enable the visa holder to be employed by any of the following:- an employer with an approved SSE Approval in Principle (AIP)
- an RSE employer with an approved Agreement to Recruit (ATR) where places have been unable to be filled by RSE workers
- any employer in a role, region and period of time specified by MSD

For Non-RSE employersTo employ an SSE visa holder for work that has not been identified on the MSD list of approved roles/regions, you will need to obtain an SSE Approval In Principle (AIP). This involves:

- demonstrating your efforts to employ New Zealanders, including through MSD, and satisfying INZ/MSD there are no suitable New Zealanders to do the work
- showing that you are compliant with employment and immigration law providing access to suitable accommodation
- INZ encourages you to engage with MSD to get an indication of support before you lodge an application. This will help speed up the process.

For RSE employers1. You need to prioritise your RSE workforce, before seeking to recruit an SSE visa holder.
2. To employ an SSE visa holder:
- you must have places in an approved ATR that you have been unable to fill by employing an RSE worker, you can go ahead and employ an SSE visa holder for the shortfall.
- you can apply for an SSE AIP – employers can only employ SSE visa holders if they have a current approved ATR/SSE AIP space available in the region of employment.

Working holiday visa holders not covered by special direction- Anyone who is in New Zealand and whose visa is expiring should leave before the visa expires or secure a new visa or a visa extension.
- If your visa does not expire between 1 October and 31 March, you will not be automatically granted an SSE visa by special direction. 
- If your visa is expiring between 1 October 2020 and 31 March 2021 (inclusive) and you have applied for a new visa, but would prefer to be granted the SSE visa instead, you can withdraw your application so that you are automatically granted the SSE visa. You should seek to withdraw your application as soon as possible before the expiry of your visa to ensure that you are eligible for the SSE visa.

Working holiday visa holders covered by special direction- You are invited to stay in New Zealand to seek work in the horticulture and viticulture season. However, you will only be able to work in certain roles, for certain employers, in certain regions for certain periods of time.
- If you have been offered work that is not listed in MSD’s list of approved work, you should ask to see the employer’s approval to hire SSE visa holders.
- If you do not want to be granted the SSE visa, you will need to lodge an application for a different visa appropriate to your circumstances or leave New Zealand before your current visa expires. SSE visas will not be automatically granted if you have applied for another visa.

Visitors/students/other work visa holders onshore- You can apply for an SSE visa and will have the same work rights as those being granted by special direction.