RSE Wage Threshold to Increase from 1 April 2024

In a significant update from New Zealand Immigration dated 21 February, it has been announced that the minimum wage threshold for workers under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme will see an increase effective from 1 April 2024.

  • New Minimum Wage: From 1 April 2024, RSE workers’ minimum hourly wage will be NZD$25.47, a 10% increase over New Zealand’s minimum wage.
  • Current Rate: The minimum hourly wage for RSE workers is NZD$24.97.

This adjustment aims to ensure that RSE workers’ remuneration continues to align with the rising minimum wage, providing them with fair compensation for their labour.

Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme

The RSE Scheme is a pivotal labour initiative by New Zealand to address seasonal labour shortages within the horticulture and viticulture sectors. It permits employers in these critical industries to recruit foreign workers for seasonal tasks when the local labour supply falls short.

This policy supports New Zealand’s agricultural output by ensuring timely crop management. It substantially benefits participating workers and their home countries, primarily in the Pacific region.

Impact of the RSE Scheme

The RSE Scheme’s impact is multifaceted, benefiting both New Zealand’s economy and the livelihoods of numerous Pacific Island residents. For New Zealand, it ensures that the horticulture and viticulture sectors have the necessary workforce to maintain productivity and meet market demands, particularly during peak seasons.

For workers from participating countries, it offers valuable employment opportunities, allowing them to earn competitive wages that significantly contribute to their families’ income and their countries’ economies.

Impact on Migrant Workers:

  • Financial Stability: Increased hourly wage to NZD$25.47
  • Working Conditions: Reflects New Zealand’s commitment to fair compensation
  • Attraction & Retention: Makes New Zealand an attractive destination for foreign workers

Industries Under RSE

  • Horticulture: Includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and flowers
  • Viticulture: Focuses on grape production for winemaking

Economic and Social Implications

  • Wage Alignment: Ensures wages keep pace with the cost of living
  • Labour Standards: Reflects global trends towards improving labour standards
  • Worker Welfare: Enhances the economic well-being of Pacific nations’ workers

In summary, the RSE Scheme is a testament to New Zealand’s innovative approach to solving labour shortages in critical sectors while fostering positive international relations and supporting the economic development of Pacific nations through ethical employment practices. The upcoming wage increase marks another step forward in upholding the dignity and welfare of RSE workers, ensuring they are rewarded fairly for their essential contributions to New Zealand’s agriculture.


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