RSE employer update
8 November 2022
Industry discussions with Government officials and union representatives are continuing as part of the Government’s ‘tripartite agreement’ approach to the future functioning of the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme.
This approach saw the Government increase the RSE cap to 19,000, while also requiring the industry to provide RSE workers with sick leave.
What follows is an update on where discussions with the Government and the unions are at.
Please note that the tripartite agreement and the substantive policy review of the scheme are being managed as two separate pieces of work by the Government. This is not the industry’s preferred approach. Given the crossovers between the two pieces of work, we believe the tripartite agreement work should be covered by the policy review.
Workstreams – or areas for discussion – under the tripartite agreement include:
- Clearer information for RSE workers
- Independent support for RSE workers
- Improved benefits for RSE workers, including sick leave
- Review of the current accommodation standards. This includes a discussion on how RSE facilities could be used by New Zealanders when not in use for RSE workers
- Better management of poor performing RSE employers.
Action for employers
Industry chief executives from NZ Kiwifruit Growers Inc, NZ Apples & Pears Inc, Summerfruit NZ, NZ Winegrowers, NZ Ethical Employers and HortNZ have been asked to put forward potential RSE employer representatives for each of the workstreams.
If you would like to be nominated for a workstream, email Rebecca Fisher at RSE@hortnz.co.nz by 5pm, Wednesday 9 November. Please note, at this stage, we do not know the time, travel and associated cost commitment involved. These details are still to be determined.
RSE policy review
Government officials have advised the industry about the timing of the RSE policy review and the workstreams.
October 2022 - February 2023
Policy development and consultation
March - April 2023
Analysis of submissions
The Minister of Immigration finalises the policy package and takes it to Cabinet for its decision
- Cap setting
- Streamlined labour market test
- Strengthened compliance framework
- RSE worker wellbeing.
Working Holiday visas and Accredited Employer Work Visas
Government officials informed us late last week that the inclusion of Working Holiday Scheme (WHS) visas in the Accredited Employer Work Visas (AEWV) before June 2023 is unlikely. There are ongoing discussions within the Government about implementation timeframes, including the possibility of pushing it out till 2024.
While no decisions have been made about timing, it’s likely that if employers apply for accreditation now with the intention of using it to employ WHS visa holders, they will get very little, if any, use out of the accreditation before it expires.
We will continue to push the Government on this topic and ensure, if implemented, there is plenty of notice given to employers.
Communication and further information
We will update you as soon as we have clarity on proposals.
Please also keep an eye out for Immigration New Zealand’s own RSE updates.
If you have any questions, please contact your industry group, as follows: