Employers who have breached minimum employment standards

All employers are required to comply with minimum employment standards.

From 1 April 2017, new measures will stop employers who do not comply with or who have breached employment law from recruiting migrant workers. An amendment to immigration instructions means that, as a consequence of not having complied with employment standards, employers that have received a penalty (or similar) for a breach will be viewed as non-compliant with New Zealand employment law and will face a set stand down period from the ability to support a visa application.

A stand-down period commences from when an infringement notice or penalty is issued.

Employers who receive penalties as a result of having been taken to the Employment Relations Authority or to the Employment Court independently of the Labour Inspectorate will also be subject to stand-down periods. The new measures will apply to all who support visa applications, including employers who are: supporting work visa applications and Approvals in Principle; seeking Accredited Employer status or supporting residence class visa applications based on employment; and employers who are part of the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme.

Further information on the legal requirements for supporting a visa application can be found on the Immigration New Zealand website (external link)

The following stand down periods apply to employers who have breached employment standards:

Enforcement action Stand down period
Infringement Notice is issued 6 month stand down for a single Infringement Notice
A further Infringement Notice, if issued outside this 6 month period, will incur another 6 month stand down period.

A maximum of 12 months' stand down for multiple Infringement Notices
If more than one Infringement Notice is issued at one time, or at any time within the following 12 months, a fixed 12 months' stand down period will apply.
Penalties ordered by ER Authority or by the Employment Court Non-pecuniary penalties

Individual Penalties Company Penalties Stand Down Period
$1,000 or less $1,000 or less 6 months
greater than $1,000 but less than $10,000 greater than $1,000 but less than $20,000 12 Months
$10,000 or greater but less than $25,000 $20,000 or greater but less than $50,000 18 Months
$25,000 and above $50,000 and above 24 Months
Pecuniary penalties
24 month stand down for pecuniary penalties ordered for a case from the Court.
Declaration of Breach ordered by the Employment Court 12 month instant stand down when Declaration of Breach issued, adjusted upwards as appropriate to reflect the resulting penalties ordered (up to a total of 24 months.)
Banning Order ordered by the Employment Court  12 month stand down from recruiting migrant workers for employers incurring a banning order of less than 5 years, to be added at the end of the ban period.

24 month stand down from recruiting migrant workers for employers incurring a banning order of 5 years and over, to be added at the end of the ban period.

Table of employers on stand down periods

The table is maintained by the Labour Inspectorate and details employers who have received penalties for breaches of minimum employment standards and the length of their stand down period as set in Appendix 10 of the Immigration New Zealand Operational Manual. (external link)

Published stand down report [PDF 207KB]

Additional information

  • Stand down periods do not apply to employers that received Infringement Notices or penalties prior to 1 April 2017.
  • Immigration Instructions require that a visa applicant’s employment be with an employer who is compliant with New Zealand employment and immigration law and has a history of compliance.
  • Employers who have challenged their penalties will remain on the table until the outcome of their challenge.

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Page last revised: 27 March 2019

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