The Government has unveiled charges to working holiday and seasonal employment visas, in a move it says will provide certainty to employers and visa holders over summer.
Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi announced on Tuesday morning working holiday visas and supplementary seasonal employment (SSE) work visas due to expire between December and June will be extended for six months.
"This offers employers and visa holders the certainty they've been asking for going into this summer's harvest season and which we said we'd provide, if necessary, back in June when we announced the last six-month extension," Faafoi says.
More than 8500 people will benefit from the six-month extension, which will continue to allow them to work in any sector to help meet labour market demands.
"With borders remaining closed until the first quarter next year it's important we ensure employers can retain their existing workforce for the upcoming summer period," Faafoi says.
"It will allow employers across a range of industries to make use of the onshore workforce while our border restrictions are in place."
But Faafoi warns employers to remember these extensions are only "temporary measures", and the Government remains "committed to our long-term vision" for New Zealand's immigration system. This sees sectors moving away low-paid and low-skilled migrant workers toward training and upskilling Kiwis into jobs to support New Zealand's COVID-19 recovery.
"I encourage sectors and employers to use this time while our border restrictions are in place to think about how to make this transition and how to recruit more New Zealanders into roles before looking to utilise temporary migrant workers."
The extension fits with several other changes the Government has made to help employers, such as the one-off 2021 Resident Visa to fast-track residency for an estimated 165,000 migrants and their families.
Other changes over the past 18 months have included border exceptions to bring in over 18,000 critical workers and their families, and extending the length of new essential skills visas from 12 to 24 months for jobs paid below the median wage.
Immigration New Zealand will contact all visa holders eligible for the working holiday or SSE visa extension by the end of November.