Immigration alert – Fixed term employment agreements for working holiday makers
The Immigration Act 2009 (IA) does not allow a Working Holiday Maker (WHM) to take up permanent employment. However, the Employment Relations Act 2000 (ERA) requires a genuine reason based on reasonable grounds for a fixed-term employment contract. This creates confusion for employers who are looking to comply with both Acts.
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has clarified that the IA provides a genuine reason based on reasonable grounds for offering fixed-term employment to a WHM. This means that employers can specify that the fixed-term duration is to comply with both the IA and ERA.
This position is limited to the WHM visa category. INZ will not accept a fixed-term contract for most other temporary visa categories, based on the duration of a visa only.
If a fixed-term contract is used for other categories of visa, there must be a genuine reason based on reasonable grounds for the fixed-term duration that is not related to visa status. This could include seasonable work, project work or parental leave cover.
When offering employment to a WHM, employers should state that the contract is fixed-term because the employee is a WHM. This is to comply with both the IA and ERA.
The visa duration cannot be used to justify a fixed-term employment contract for most other work visa categories.
PDF version: here.