The cap on the number of temporary visas that can be granted for employing foreign seasonal workers is set to rise by 3150 over 2 years to 16,000. In 2019/20 the cap will increase by 1550 to 14,400. The Government has given conditional approval to raise the cap for 2020/21 by 1600 places. The 2-year approach is designed to give RSE employers more certainty and allow them to better plan their workforces. However, the 2020/21 increase is conditional on the industry: proving it is making the horticulture and viticulture sectors easier and more attractive for Kiwi workers to work in reducing its use of residential housing, and building more accommodation for seasonal workers.
The Government has also introduced restrictions on the further use of residential housing by RSE employers to house their workers. These restrictions apply to accommodation not used for RSE workers in previous seasons. The intention is to make sure the RSE cap increase does not make it harder for New Zealanders to get access to residential and rental housing. The restrictions apply to some regions. In the Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay, only residential houses that are owned by the employer and bought before 26 September can be used to accommodate RSE workers. In Northland, Auckland, Nelson-Tasman, Marlborough and Otago, employers cannot rent residential houses to RSE workers. Non-residential housing that can be used includes suitable accommodation purpose-built for RSE workers and guest accommodation. Areas that are not listed, and are deemed to have low housing pressure, are exempt from the restriction. Recognised Seasonal Employer Limited Visa Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme factsheetPDF 330KB
The method of allocating places to individual employers is currently being finalised. More details will be provided to RSE employers shortly. Allocation of RSE workers in 2019/20 (11 October)