New Zealand Implements Enhanced Measures to Address Minor Immigration Offences by Employers  

Date: 13 June 2024

In April 2024, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) introduced a robust enforcement tool to ensure the equitable treatment of migrant workers and reinforce compliance with immigration laws. This tool allows INZ to issue fines to employers who commit minor immigration violations, thereby safeguarding migrant workers and upholding legal standards.

Introduction of the Infringement Scheme  

The infringement scheme was established in response to the Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Act, which significantly strengthens enforcement measures against employers who exploit migrant workers. The Act ensures that these workers are protected under immigration and employment laws, addressing gaps in the previous regulatory framework.

Specifics of the Infringement Scheme  

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Immigration now has the authority to issue infringement notices to employers, whether accredited or non-accredited, for minor offences. These offences include:

  • Unauthorized Employment: Allowing a person not authorized under the Immigration Act 2009 to work for the employer.

  • Non-compliance with Visa Conditions: Employing a person in a manner that is inconsistent with the work-related conditions of their visa.

  • Failure to Provide Documents: Failure to submit the requested documents to an immigration officer within 10 working days, as mandated by new section 275A of the Act.

Penalties for Infringements  

Penalties under the scheme can vary but typically include:

  • Monetary Fines: A minimum fine of $1,000 for individual employers and $3,000 for companies or other corporate entities.

  • Loss of Accreditation: Revocation of accredited employer status or Recognized Seasonal Employer status, which are crucial for hiring migrant workers.

  • Hiring Ban: A temporary prohibition on supporting new visa applications for migrant workers, the duration of which is dependent on the number of infringement notices received.

Stand-Down Periods and Their Implications  

Employers found in violation and placed on the stand-down list cannot regain accreditation or support visa applications during the specified period. The stand-down periods are structured as follows:

  • Single Infringement Notice: Results in a 6-month stand-down period.

  • Subsequent Infringement Notices: An additional 6-month stand-down for each subsequent notice.

  • Multiple Notices Issued Simultaneously: A maximum of 12 months stand-down.

During the stand-down period, employers may continue to hire migrants on open work visas or those holding a current Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV). However, once the stand-down period concludes, employers must demonstrate that they have addressed the underlying issues and implemented measures to prevent future violations before regaining accreditation under AEWV. MBIE will notify all affected parties, including employees, of any decisions regarding stand-downs.

Promoting Transparency and Accountability  

As part of its commitment to transparency, INZ will publish the names of employers who have been penalized and temporarily barred from hiring migrant workers on its official website. This public listing is intended to enhance accountability within the immigration system and deter other employers who might consider violating immigration laws.

Rights to Dispute Infringement Notices  

Employers who receive an infringement notice have the right to dispute the notice or request a review. The options available to them include:

  • Denying Liability: Employers can contest the notice if they believe they are not responsible for the offences.

  • Challenging the Fines: Employers can dispute the amount of the fines imposed.

  • Requesting a Review: Employers can seek a review or reconsideration of the infringement notice through an internal process.


This comprehensive infringement scheme represents a critical step forward in protecting migrant workers and ensuring that employers adhere to immigration laws, thereby fostering ethical and legal employment practices across New Zealand.

About ICL Immigration

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We specialise in a broad spectrum of visa services, including work, residency, student visas, and business-related services like employer accreditation, ensuring personalised solutions for individuals and businesses aiming to navigate New Zealand’s immigration landscape successfully.

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