Helping our regions get seasonal support

  • Hon Iain Lees-Galloway

This Coalition Government is making good progress in helping our regions to thrive by increasing the numbers of workers who can come to New Zealand to provide seasonal support and providing more certainty to growers for the future, announced Minister for Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway today.

“We are helping our regions’ growers to plan ahead and get the support they need. For the first time we are announcing a two-year increase to the RSE quota. This will help address industry concerns that a lack of certainty on RSE numbers makes it hard for them to plan for labour needs and accommodation requirements,” Iain Lees-Galloway says.

“The cap on the number of temporary visas that can be granted to employ foreign seasonal workers is set to rise by 3,150 over two years to 16,000:

  • In the first year it will increase by 1,550 to 14,400 for 2019/20.
  • Approval has also been given for the cap to be raised by a further 1,600 places to 16,000 in 2020/21.”

“The cap increase set for 2020/21 is conditional on the industry proving it’s making the horticulture and viticulture sectors easier and more attractive for Kiwi workers to work in. They’ll also have to up their game and make sure there is more accommodation built for their workers”.

“Last year I challenged the industry to:

  • do more to employ New Zealanders
  • consider paying workers more
  • consider automation
  • build accommodation for additional workers at the same time as you plant the extra crops
  • take responsibility for your supply chains to stamp out exploitation.”

“New Zealand is dealing with a housing crisis left to us by the previous government. So, this year restrictions will be placed on the further use of residential rental housing by RSE employers to accommodate RSE workers,” Iain Lees-Galloway says.

“I continue to encourage the industry to do more to accommodate its workforce and make sure Kiwis aren’t squeezed out of local housing by an increase in the RSE cap”.

Areas that are deemed to have low housing pressure will be exempted from the restriction.

“The decisions made on the RSE cap are the result of careful consultation and deliberation.”

“I’m confident we’ve struck the right balance between supporting industry growth and preparing for forecast labour shortfalls, while ensuring there are clear incentives for employers to hire more Kiwi staff and improve worker accommodation,” Iain Lees-Galloway says.