The border is closed but you need workers

Thinking about recruiting skilled workers from overseas? Be prepared for a complex, frustrating and time consuming process. Apart from New Zealanders and their families coming home no one can travel to New Zealand without getting approval to cross the border.

A select group of health workers and a very small list of other skills (controlled by a quota) are approved by the government to gain border entry.

All other workers fall into the category of “other critical workers”. Around 30% of border entry requests for this group were approved until a recent rule change allowed those with “unique experience and technical or specialist skills that are not readily obtainable in New Zealand” improved the odds for approval.

However whether there is a “time – critical” element to the job, the rate of pay, if the purpose of being here has government support or whether the work will significantly contribute to the local or national economy are all factors that make securing approval a roll of the dice. Proving any claims to meet the criteria is paramount.

The new government will need to decide how tight they want to control the border while New Zealand businesses cry out for the skills they simply cannot get locally. Employers do not look overseas if the talent is close by. It has the hall marks of a crisis for business if not sorted quickly .

If you are looking for advice on offshore recruitment talk to Lukas Sousa, Licensed Immigration Adviser on mobile 022 689 5500 or email

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