Global Alerts

New Zealand – Non-Compliant Employers to Be Temporarily Prevented from Hiring Migrant Labour

Effective April 1, 2017, employers that have incurred a penalty for a breach of employment standards will be included on a list provided to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) by the Labour Inspectorate.

Employers on this list will face a set stand-down period preventing them from recruiting migrant labour for six months, one year, 18 months, or two years, depending on the severity of the breach.

Who is affected?

The new measures will apply to all employers intending to recruit migrant labour, including those employers who are: supporting work visa applications and approvals in principal; seeking accredited employer status or supporting residence class visa applications based on employment; and employers who are part of the Recognized Seasonal Employer scheme.

How might employers get on the list?

Criteria for inclusion on the list will be set out in Appendix 10 of the immigration instructions, as presented in Amendment Circular 2017-04.

The threshold for non-compliance threshold is set at formal infringement notices and above, and does not include employers at the very minor end of breaches, such as those who have entered into an enforceable undertaking with the Labour Inspectorate, have mostly adequate wage and time records and demonstrate a desire to comply.

Employers who received employment standards penalties before April 1, 2017 will not be included on the list, but any previous non-compliance with employment standards may still be taken into account by INZ when making decisions.

How can employers get off the list?

Employers may challenge the enforcement action that lead to inclusion on the list. If the penalty is subsequently overturned, then the employer will be removed from the list.

What if an employer receives multiple penalties at one time?

There is a maximum time employers can be placed on the list for multiple penalties issued at one time. For example, each infringement notice received at one time results in six months on the non-compliant employers list, up to a maximum of 12 months.

What about existing migrant employees at a business added to the list?

Migrant workers will not be prevented from working out their visa at a non-compliant employer. Any further visas granted will need to be for employment with an employer who does have a history of compliance with employment law.

New Zealand employers intending to recruit foreign national workers should urgently review their compliance with employment standards, to avoid penalties which could lead to them being put on the non-compliant employer list and being prevented from hiring migrant labour.

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