New Zealand increases Recognised Seasonal Employer Cap

New Zealand’s Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme cap will increase by 1,750 to 12,850, providing much-needed labour for the horticulture and viticulture industries in New Zealand.

New Zealand’s RSE scheme was introduced in 2007, with the aim of helping meet labour shortages in some of New Zealand’s most important industries.

“The horticulture and viticulture industries have experienced significant growth in recent years,” explains NZ Immigration Minisier Iain Lees-Galloway. “Industry reports say that since 2015, apple and kiwifruit orchards have increased in value by around 70 per cent each, and the 2018 wine vintage was 2.6 per cent larger than the previous year.

“However, this growth has been accompanied by prominent labour shortages across industries and regions, notably in the past year. This is expected to continue, with growers forecasting 2,600 more workers are needed to help support the industry,” the Minister warned.

Minister of Social Development Carmel Sepuloni says that while it’s important the industry is able to access seasonal workers in peak season it’s equally important they keep their commitment to employing New Zealanders.

“There are some horticulture employers like Turners & Growers (T&G) in Hawkes Bay that’ve hired thousands of New Zealanders and MSD clients over the years. Through its industry partnership with MSD, T&G is able to offer flexible work hours and pastoral care for clients. The model is a hit with workers and business is booming for the Hawkes Bay grower.

“The Ministry will continue to grow industry partnerships with Horticulture businesses that’re committed to providing training and jobs for New Zealanders and grow a more skilled domestic workforce,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

Lees-Galloway recently issued four challenges to RSE Employers at their annual conference:

– Make the industry more attractive to New Zealand workers, by providing better wages and conditions;

– Build more accommodation for workers to alleviate local accommodation pressures;

– Take greater responsibility for supply chains and labour contractors to help stamp out migrant exploitation; and

– Transform the horticulture and viticulture industries from low cost industries to industries based on quality, productivity, and high value products.

“The commitments from employers and industry will be supported by ongoing monitoring and compliance activity undertaken by Immigration New Zealand and the Labour Inspectorate,” Lees-Galloway explained.

“The Government will be conducting a comprehensive review of the Regional Seasonal Employer scheme in 2019 to ensure it delivers improvements while remaining consistent with the original intent of the scheme,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.

Article published 5th November 2018