INZ Introduces Exception for 200 Farm Workers

On 10 June, the minister of agriculture, Damien O’ Connor, announced that the government would be making a border exception to allow 200 farm workers and 50 vets into NZ.

Fair warning – the information that is available is minimal and being drip fed but we’ve been told so farm is as follows:

The 200 are divided by title and pay:

  • 50 will be at farm assistant level and paid at the median wage (likely $27 as this increase is effective 19 July)
  • 150 at senior level of Herd Manager and above.  The salary has been set as $79500 for HM and $92,000 for Assistant Manager and above
    • these respective figures are based on 1.5x the $25.50 at 80 hours per fortnight and 1.7x the $25.50.  Its unclear why INZ are using the new median wage for lower titled workers and the old median wage for the higher titled.
  • 50 general practice veterinarians to come in.
    • The requirements are that they are paid $85,000 and have 2-3 years experience.

To bring a worker in, the employer will need to:

  1. fund the cost of the two weeks of isolation which is $5,500
  2. pay the worker a salary for those two weeks at the above rates

A realistic estimate is $7,660 to $9000, depending on title.

What We Don’t know

INZ will be working with Dairy NZ and MPI to sort out all the outstanding questions with regards to how this will all work, with the short list being:

  • how this anemic quota will be allotted
    • its likely that priority will be given to workers who were working in NZ but got stuck outside the borders when they were shut
  • the process for farmers to express interest and commit to the requirements
  • the timeline
  • the INZ process for doing the application
  • what happens for workers who go stuck overseas or for those who were approved but couldn’t make it in, where
    • jobs are valid but visas have expired
    • visas have not expired but the job or company is no longer
    • if the employer would like to change the title
  • the medical requirements beyond standard eMedicals and the 72 hour pre-flight negative covid test
  • how can farmers protect themselves if they fund this worker to come and they leave within x time

Dairy NZ, who have been forthcoming in providing answers where they can, have told us that INZ will be coming out with instructions the week of 21 June from which Dairy NZ and MPI will drafting a informational pieces – one for farmers and one for immigration advisers as its likely that only advisers will be allowed to undertake the required applications.

In the meantime, please let us know if you have any questions and/or you are a worker who is stuck overseas or you are a farmer who has someone overseas you need to get back/in.



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