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Employers who take on seasonal workers under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme are praising it as meeting the needs of New Zealand’s horticulture and viticulture growers.

Nearly all the 79 RSE employers who took part in the 2014 Employers Survey believed that the benefits of taking part in the scheme outweigh the costs with more than half of them investing in new plant and equipment and / or expanding their businesses in the last 12 months.


The RSE policy allows the horticulture and viticulture industries to recruit workers from overseas – mostly from the Pacific Islands –  for seasonal work when there are not enough New Zealand workers. Under the scheme employers can bring in up to 9,000 workers a year.


The Immigration New Zealand manager for RSE, Matt Hoskin, says the survey found that participation in the scheme has resulted in a more stable workforce than in the past and the ability to employ more New Zealand workers in addition to RSE workers.


“This survey demonstrates yet again what a tremendous difference the RSE scheme has made to employers,” Mr Hoskin says. “The stability and reliability of the workforce has enabled employers to expand and invest in their business and take on more New Zealanders.


“RSE workers have benefitted significantly from gaining invaluable work experience and being able to send money back to their communities at home. The RSE scheme is making a real difference to small island developing economies.


“It is also interesting to note the high number of RSE workers returning to New Zealand, which shows how highly it is valued.’’


Almost all RSE employers who use returning workers say that managing their pastoral care is getting easier. The survey found that most RSE employers are continuing to make improvements in pastoral care and in many cases these improvements are also benefitting non-RSE workers.


RSE Monitoring: 2014 Employers Survey is available on our Labour information website [external site].


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Jig Patel