In today’s dynamic economy, company formation and liquidation happen very frequently.

According to a report by the New Zealand government, as of 30 June 2024, there were 731,314 registered companies.

In the second quarter of 2024 alone, 14,921 new companies were incorporated, and 10,662 companies were removed. Additionally, 629 liquidator appointments were made during this period, representing a 36.1% increase from the same quarter last year and a staggering 101.6% increase from the same quarter in 2022.

Given these statistics, migrant employees must understand their rights and options if their employer enters liquidation or receivership.

Rights of Migrant Workers

All workers on temporary visas have the same employment rights as New Zealand citizens. This includes the right to be paid at least the minimum wage and to work in conditions free from exploitation.

Visa Options for Employees

If your employer goes into liquidation or receivership, here are your options:

Job Change & Variation of Conditions

One of the primary pathways available to you is applying for a job change, which involves varying the conditions of your current visa. This process allows you to transition to a new employer while maintaining your lawful status in New Zealand.

Applying for a Job Change: When you receive a job offer from a different employer, the conditions of your current work visa can vary to reflect this change. This process does not extend the duration of your visa. Still, it updates your visa conditions to permit employment with a new accredited employer.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Accredited Employer: Your new employer must be accredited to hire migrants under the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) program.
  • Valid Job Check: Your new employer must have a valid job check for your new position.

Steps to Apply:

  1. Receive a Job Offer: Secure a job offer from an accredited employer. Ensure the job offer outlines the role, salary, and duration of employment.
  2. Check Employer Accreditation: Verify that the prospective employer is accredited under the AEWV program.
  3. Submit Application: Prepare your application for various conditions, including required forms and supporting documents such as the job offer, proof of employer accreditation, and the job check approval.
  4. Await Approval: Submit your application to Immigration New Zealand and await their decision. Your visa conditions will be updated to reflect your new employment situation if approved.

Additional Considerations:

  • Timely Application: Apply for a job change and variation of conditions as soon as possible after receiving a new job offer to avoid any gaps in your lawful status.
  • No Extension of Visa Duration: This process will not extend the duration of your current visa. Address any upcoming visa expirations separately.
  • Legal Rights: Retain the same legal employment rights as any other worker in New Zealand, including fair wages and working conditions.

For further assistance, you can contact the INZ Customer Service Centre or Licensed Immigration Adviser.

Staying Lawfully in New Zealand

Remaining in New Zealand after your visa expires is illegal. Overstaying by 42 days or more can result in a ban on re-entering the country.

Making a Section 61 Request

If your visa has expired and you are still in New Zealand, you have two options:

  1. Leave New Zealand immediately.
  2. If you believe you have special circumstances, you can submit a request for a special temporary or resident visa under Section 61 of the Immigration Act 2009.

How to Apply:

  • Write an email explaining your situation and attach supporting evidence.
  • Send your request to
  • Contact a Licensed Immigration Adviser 

Partners/Dependents of AEWV Holders

Suppose your dependent or partner holds a visa based on their relationship with you as the primary AEWV holder. In that case, they may not need to take any immediate action. However, it is advisable to contact the INZ Contact Centre or consult a licensed immigration adviser.

Understand Migrant Exploitation

The Migrant Exploitation and Protection Visa (MEPV) is designed for workers who successfully report exploitation. This visa allows you to leave your job quickly while the exploitation is investigated. It’s important to note that issues like non-payment of wages due to receivership, liquidation, or redundancy do not typically constitute exploitation.

Examples of Migrant Exploitation Include:

  • Bullying or threats from your employer.
  • Confiscation of your passport or wages.
  • Restriction of your freedom to leave the workplace.
  • Forced permission to eat, sleep, or use the toilet.
  • Lack of time off work.
  • Underpayment or non-payment of wages.
  • Forced labour to repay a debt.
  • Threats to harm you or your family.

By understanding your rights and the available options, you can navigate the challenges of your employer going into liquidation while staying compliant with New Zealand immigration laws.


About ICL Immigration

ICL Immigration, based in Auckland, is an established licensed immigration adviser with over 20 years of experience and a remarkable 97% approval rate. We’ve helped over 1,000 immigrants realise their New Zealand settlement dreams.

We specialise in a broad spectrum of visa services, including work, residency, student visas, and complex cases like Section 61, IPL Appeal, ensuring personalised solutions for individuals and businesses aiming to navigate New Zealand’s immigration landscape successfully.

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