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Immigration New Zealand Strengthens Enforcement for Non-Compliant Employers

Starting April 11, 2024, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will be equipped with new tools to address minor immigration non-compliance by employers. This initiative aims to deter businesses that exploit migrant workers and ensure a fair playing field for those who follow the rules.


Addressing Non-Compliance:

Previously, INZ’s primary enforcement tool for employer non-compliance was the criminal justice system. The new system allows for issuing infringement notices, offering a faster and more efficient approach for addressing minor offenses.


Infringement Penalties

Employers found breaching immigration regulations can face a range of penalties through infringement notices, including:

  • A minimum fine of NZ$1,000.
  • Loss of accredited employer or Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) status.
  • A temporary ban on supporting further migrant worker visas, depending on the number of offenses.
  • Public listing on a non-compliant employer list.


Stand-Down Periods:

Stand-down periods prevent employers from regaining accreditation or supporting visa applications for migrant workers. The duration is determined by the number of infringement notices received:

  • Single infringement notice: 6-month stand-down.
  • Each subsequent infringement notice adds another 6 months.
  • Maximum stand-down: 12 months for multiple notices issued simultaneously.


It’s important to note that employers can still hire overseas workers with open work visas during a stand-down period. However, regaining accreditation after the stand-down requires demonstrating corrective measures to prevent future violations.


Transparency and Fairness

Stephanie Greathead, National Manager of Immigration Compliance at INZ, emphasises that most employers comply with regulations. However, these new tools target the minority who disregard the system.

“Infringement notices allow us to take immediate action against non-compliant employers,” states Greathead. “Additionally, publishing a stand-down list on the INZ website adds transparency and strengthens enforcement.”


Focus on Compliance

The new enforcement measures aim to achieve three key objectives:

  • Deter employers from exploiting overseas workers.
  • Ensure employers comply with essential regulations.
  • Create a fair and balanced environment for all New Zealand employers utilising migrant labour.


This initiative signals INZ’s commitment to upholding immigration and employment standards, fostering a more equitable system for both employers and migrant workers.


For any questions regarding this update or any further immigration matters, please contact Arno Nothnagel, our NZ Immigration Director

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