New Zealand presents a unique opportunity for international farm workers, combining its stunning natural beauty with a commitment to sustainable and ethical farming practices. Recognized for its innovative approach to agriculture, New Zealand offers a diverse range of high-demand farming jobs, from dairy and sheep farming to horticulture and viticulture. With competitive wages and the potential for skill development, it’s an attractive destination for those looking to advance their agricultural careers in harmony with nature.
Navigating the move to New Zealand is made accessible through various work visa options, such as the Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) visa for short-term roles and the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) for longer-term and skilled positions, offering pathways to permanent residency. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the opportunities and processes involved in moving to New Zealand as a farm worker, covering everything from understanding the different visa types to settling into the vibrant farming community of New Zealand.
Earning Potential in New Zealand’s Farming Sector
Farm worker salaries in New Zealand vary based on skill level, job type, and location. Entry-level workers can expect around NZ$20-25 per hour, while mid-level skilled workers earn about NZ$25-35 per hour. Experienced managers can command annual salaries exceeding NZ$50,000. Additional benefits like accommodation or travel allowances often supplement these wages.
Path to Permanent Residency (PR) as Farm Worker in NZ
New Zealand provides pathways for farm workers to become permanent residents. Under the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV), PR could be achieved within 2-3 years, but a more realistic timeframe is 3-4 years. The Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) route may take 3-5 years or longer, depending on various factors. Consulting a licensed immigration adviser can provide a more accurate assessment.
High Demand Farming Occupations in New Zealand in 2024
There is a wide range of high-demand occupations in New Zealand’s farming sector, including positions in dairy farming, sheep and beef farming, horticulture, arable farming, and other specialized areas like beekeeping and veterinary services. Here’s a list of some farming job occupations that are typically in high demand in NZ:
- Dairy Farmhand
- Calving Shed Worker
- Herd Manager
Sheep and Beef Farming:
- Orchard Worker
- Vineyard Worker
- Packhouse Worker
- Nursery Worker
- Tractor Driver
- Harvester Operator
- Irrigation Technician
Other Agricultural Occupations:
- Apiarist (Beekeeper)
- Poultry Farmer
- Deer Farmer
These roles are essential in maintaining and enhancing New Zealand’s agricultural productivity and are often areas where skilled workers are in short supply.
List of New Zealand Work VISA Suitable for Farmers in 2024
New Zealand offers several types of work visas tailored for individuals seeking farming-related job opportunities. Each visa caters to specific needs, durations, and skill sets. Here’s an overview of the NZ work visa types, including the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV):
- Designed for those who wish to work in the horticulture and viticulture industries.
- Typically for a seasonal period of up to 9 months.
- Requires a job offer from an RSE-accredited employer.
- For individuals who have been offered a full-time job in New Zealand, and the employer has proven that no suitable New Zealand candidates are available for the role.
- The duration depends on the skill level of the job and labor market conditions.
- This visa leads to residency after two years of work in a skilled job.
- Applicants must have a job offer from an accredited employer and meet specific salary thresholds.
- Introduced in 2021, replacing several previous visa categories.
- Designed for skilled workers, where employers need to be accredited to hire foreign workers.
- Aims to fill genuine skill shortages and offers a pathway to permanent residency.
- Requires a job offer from an accredited employer, meeting the median wage requirement, and the employer must prove that no suitable local candidates are available.
- Includes visas like the Silver Fern Job Search Visa (for highly skilled young people) and visas for specific roles in demand in New Zealand
6 Simple Steps to Move to New Zealand as Farm Worker in 2024
Moving to New Zealand as a farm worker involves several steps, from assessing eligibility to settling into your new role. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process:
1# Determine Your Eligibility
- Visa Options: Research different visa types (e.g., RSE, Work, Skilled Migrant) to find which best suits your skills, experience, and intended stay duration.
- Job Offer Requirement: Most work visas require a job offer from a New Zealand employer.
- Skill Assessment: Evaluate your farming skills and experience against New Zealand’s demand in specific farming sectors.
2# Find a Job in the Farming Sector
- Job Search: Utilize online job portals, New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries website, and agricultural recruitment agencies.
- Networking: Connect with New Zealand farming communities and professionals online to learn about unadvertised job opportunities.
- Application Process: Prepare your CV and cover letter tailored to New Zealand employers, highlighting relevant farming experience and skills.
3# Apply for a NZ Work Visa
- Visa Application: Once you have a job offer, apply for the appropriate work visa. Ensure you meet the criteria for the visa type you are applying for.
- Documentation: Gather necessary documents, including your job offer, proof of qualifications, work experience, and any required health and character checks.
- Submit Application: Apply through Immigration New Zealand’s official website or an accredited immigration adviser.
4# Prepare for the Move
- Accommodation: Arrange temporary or permanent accommodation in New Zealand.
- Healthcare and Insurance: Familiarize yourself with New Zealand’s healthcare system and consider obtaining health insurance.
- Financial Planning: Organize your finances, including setting up a New Zealand bank account and understanding the tax system.
5# Arrive in New Zealand
- Travel Arrangements: Book your travel to New Zealand and ensure you have all the necessary documents for your arrival.
- Orientation: Familiarize yourself with the local area, culture, and your workplace.
- Networking: Join local community groups or farming associations to integrate into your new environment and build a support network.
6# Work and Settle In
- Adapt to Work Environment: Understand and adapt to farming practices and workplace culture in New Zealand.
- Compliance: Ensure you comply with all visa conditions and New Zealand employment laws.
- Long-term Planning: If you intend to stay longer, explore pathways for extending your visa or seeking permanent residency.
Where to find Farming Jobs in New Zealand in 2024?
To find farming jobs in New Zealand, exploring opportunities directly with large farms can be a highly effective strategy. Here’s a categorized list of 20 large farms in New Zealand, along with their websites where potential job openings are listed:
Top Dairy Farms in New Zealand:
- Westland Milk Products
- Synlait Milk
- Open Country Dairy
Top Sheep and Beef Farms in NZ:
- Silver Fern Farms
- Alliance Group
- Te Mania Group
- Landcorp Farming
- Lochinver Station
Horticulture and Viticulture Players in NZ:
- T&G Global
- Zespri International
- Turners & Growers
- Orchard Exports
- Kumeu River Wines
Top Arable Farming Groups of NZ:
- GrainCorp New Zealand
- NZ Agri Ventures
- Panuku Farm
- Plant & Food Research