Immigration webinar update - 17 July

16 Jul 2020

Due to the Minister of Immigration having had surgery, he will not be able to do the webinar scheduled for 2pm Friday 17 July because he has no voice.

The webinar is now scheduled for Wednesday 22 July at 4.30pm.  

Zoom webinar details are below, click here to view.

The Minister of Immigration will be answering the following questions that the industry has put together.  There is not likely to be an opportunity for other questions from attendees.  


Question One
Moving forward we need certainty (as far as that is possible) as to what Immigration Policy arrangements / settings are going to be going into next season. There are probably three likely situations:

  1. A Pacific Bubble has formed – in which case there should be normal movement between the Pacific and New Zealand.
  2. Quarantine is permitted in employers’ seasonal worker purpose built accommodation and so there can still be movement between the Pacific and New Zealand.
  3. There is no movement which is the case at present for the non-Pacific RSE workers

In any of these situation it would seem that as we enter spring there will be around 4,000 RSE workers in country. We need to plan for each of the above situations and we need to do our best for the 4,000 RSE workers who will not get home.
Will you approve the extension until the end of winter 2021 the Visa for all RSE workers in country at the beginning of spring 2020?

Question Two
If we can bring RSE staff in from what are essentially Covid-19 free countries to ChCh (on charters), offload them directly to buses and then re-introduce the live/travel/work bubbles that were implemented so effectively and approved by MPI during Level 4 and 3 lockdown, would that be acceptable?

Other requirements such as food deliveries, Covid-19 testing on arrival or even tighter quarantine at home could be considered and PPE can be provided at all stages in accordance with current public health/DHB advice. This avoids any transit via Auckland and removes the need for any domestic air travel (charters to Q/town and/or Dunedin could be considered but they are not open for international flights.)

Workers entering the country via ChCh can be transferred to Otago (including Timaru and Waitaki), North and South Canterbury, Nelson and Marlborough allowing sharing of charters between employers when required.

Question Three
We are a medium size orchard whom have recently completed a purpose built accommodation facility for RSE workers. 16 beds, consented to grow to 32 in future. (This is a direct response to the ministers requests for high quality accommodation that does not really on NZ housing market). Last year when we asked for our genuine increase in RSE staff of 16, your ministry issued us 6. This number is flat 40% of our genuine request. This flat 40% was blanket applied to all RSE employers regardless of size, current RSE numbers, quality of facilities, pastoral care etc. Will you continue to show disregard for employers genuine needs for additional staff by way of applying blanket increases, or will you use the skills and time of MSD staff on the ground and in the regions to divide RSE staff to employers that really need it.

Question Four
At what point will ATRs start to be issued again for the upcoming season? We have people going home at the end of September (if they can get home) but will need to replace them right away with the next group of RSE workers.

Question Five
How long will the 4/5 month stand down period be relaxed for as it is likely it will need to be relaxed for both 2021 and 2022? If we can get out next group of RSE workers here in late September they will be 3 months late and in order to get them back to their usual season start date they will need to stay home for only 3 months in 2021.

Question Six
We have met your challenges Minister but with the cap limitation it is very difficult to fairly allocated numbers across employers. Will you consider some flexibility in the cap to allow for a fairer system of allocation to be developed?

Question Seven
The RSE Policy review is urgently needed for the future and needs to now take account of the changed situation due to Covid – this also includes the allocation issue raised at question six. Can this review be commenced without delay? If not, would you accept industry doing a review and presenting that to you?

Question Eight
There are a number of working holiday visa people remaining in country who just can’t get home, similar to the RSE workers who do not come from the Pacific. Can both their visas being extended to spring 2022?



The webinar is now scheduled for Wednesday 22 July at 4.30pm.

Meeting ID: 949 5641 8966
Password: 855949

One tap mobile
+6448860026,,94956418966# New Zealand
+6498846780,,94956418966# New Zealand

Dial by your location
        +64 4 886 0026 New Zealand
        +64 9 884 6780 New Zealand