Government gives sweeping work visa exemptions to anyone associated with FIFA Women's World Cup

Newshub can reveal the Government's granted sweeping work visa exemptions for anyone associated with the FIFA Women's World Cup.

But just three months ago, the Immigration Minister in charge told Newshub there's no good argument to give one sector special treatment.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was on Thursday prepping poi at an event for the Women's Rugby World Cup. She'll be doing all the fanfare again for next year's football Women's World Cup.

Sporting tournaments like that require a lot of international workers.

"We want to make sure that when we're hosting an event like this... that when we have things like visa issues, that may be a part of hosting, that that's as smooth as possible," said Ardern.

So smooth for FIFA that Newshub can reveal the Government's giving anyone associated with it a work visa waiver - they don't need any paperwork to work here.

The football free-for-all allows anyone under the heading 'FIFA workforce' to be allowed in on a visitor visa to work here from now until September next year. That's anyone from actual players to commercial FIFA affiliates and FIFA guests.

Immigration lawyer David Cooper said he's never seen anything like it. 

"Normally people coming in for sporting events can work for up to three months on a visitor visa, after that they're expected to get a work visa," he said.

This kind of sweeping exemption wasn't handed out for the likes of last year's America's Cup or the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Vaughan Couillault from the Secondary Principals' Association said he wished "the same opportunity was afforded to teachers, nurses, doctors, as is currently being afforded to FIFA officials". 

But here's what Immigration Minister Michael Wood had to say just three months ago about exemptions for education: "There is in my view no good argument for taking one particular sector and giving it special treatment over and above other sectors."

National's calling foul play. 

"New Zealanders will look at that and think why is that we're not able to bend the rules for them yet we're able to bend the rules for an international soccer organisation," said immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford. 

In a statement on Thursday, Wood told Newshub that granting temporary entry visas for events like this is commonplace and the Aussies did it for FIFA, so we have to match it. 

But the Aussies also give nurses and teachers far easier visa options.