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Recovery Visa – Fast Track to Recruit Migrant Workers

Thursday 2 March 2023

Cyclone Gabrielle and other extreme weather events in January/ February 2023 have devastated significant parts of the North Island of New Zealand, including Hawkes Bay, Gisborne, and parts of Auckland. The NZ Government has brought in a Recovery Visa which is a Specific Purpose Work Visa to enable employers to bring in migrant workers to assist in the recovery. This visa is a fast-track visa allowing migrant workers to come in for up to 6 months to support in the recovery response. The support can include:

Employers must confirm that the role supports the recovery by completing a Recovery Visa Employers Supplementary Form (INZ1377). The employer must provide information regarding the position as well as how the work will support the recovery from the weather events. The employee is then to apply for a Specific Purpose Work Visa on that basis.

The application fee for the work visa is $700 which is refundable if the applicant is successful.

Unlike the Accredited Employer Work Visa, this process does not require the employer to get accredited. Only very basic information regarding the employer is required. Also, there is no job check requirement. Employers do not have to demonstrate there are no suitable New Zealanders to do the work, or that they will pay at least median wage. The emphasis is to enable fast recovery.

The migrant worker must still apply for a Specific Purpose Work Visa. As the visa is only for 6 months, there will be no character requirements and very limited if any health requirements. Migrant workers presumably would still need to show they have the qualifications and/or work experience to carry out the requirements of the position.

For workers with the required skills in the recovery area, this presents an opportunity for them to work in New Zealand. They are able to approach a New Zealand employer who may be dealing with recovery. This visa enables those employers to bring in workers without going through the significant bureaucracy and costs as under the Accredited Employer Work Visa regime.

While the Recovery Visa is only for six months, it is possible for the worker to apply for an Accredited Employer Work Visa after that. At that point the employer must get accredited, but hopefully the six months trial of an overseas worker will enable the employer to be more confident in taking on that risk. Hopefully this will be a win-win for New Zealand, NZ employers and migrant workers.


This article is for general use only. Advice should be sought for specific circumstances. Please consult Teresa Chan at Teresa Chan Law Limited, Level 3, Westpac Building, 106 George Street, Dunedin 9016, 03-4771069, or email teresa@tchanlaw.co.nz

KEYWORDS: Recovery Visa, fast-track work visa, Specific Purpose Work Visa
Dunedin Shanghai Association property law section ADLS