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. 

Tripartite agreement

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 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
 Recommendations to the Minister of Immigration on policy   package

 May 2023

 The Minister of Immigration finalises the policy package   and takes it to Cabinet for its decision


  • Cap setting
  • Allocation
  • Streamlined labour market test
  • Accommodation
  • Strengthened compliance framework
  • Flexibility
  • 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:

NZ Apples & Pears Inc                             
New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc         
Summerfruit NZ                                         
NZ Winegrowers                                       
NZ Ethical Employers