Employers who have breached minimum employment standards

All employers are required to comply with minimum employment standards. Employers who have breached employment standards are restricted from recruiting migrant workers.

Immigration instructions mean that, as a consequence of not having complied with employment standards, employers who 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 starts when an infringement notice is issued by a Labour Inspector, a penalty is ordered by the Employment Relations Authority, or a more serious sanction is ordered by the Employment Court for a breach of employment standards. 

The Immigration restrictions 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. 

Find out more about the legal requirements for supporting a visa application.

Employ migrants – Immigration New Zealand (external link)  

Enforcement action and stand-down period

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

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 Employment Relations Authority or 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.

Employers on stand down

Employers who have breached employment standards face a set stand-down period from the ability to support visa applications for migrant workers.

A list of employers subject to a stand-down period is made public and maintained by Employment Services. This table details the employers currently subject to a stand-down period and the length of their stand-down period as set in Appendix 10 of the Immigration New Zealand Operational Manual.

Published stand down report [PDF 356KB]

Additional information:

  • 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 remain on the table until the outcome of their challenge.

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Page last revised: 09 October 2020

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