21 July 2024

Migrant workers with any work visa to get wage subsidy

Intl. students with visa to work also eligible

All migrant employees who have a visa that allows them to work in New Zealand, are entitled to receive Covid-19 wage subsidies and leave payments as any other NZ worker.

This was confirmed to NewsViews this morning by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in response to a query.

George van Ooyen, Group General Manager, Client Service Delivery of MSD says, “The Covid-19 wage subsidies and leave payments are available to anyone legally working in New Zealand. This includes people here on temporary work visas.”

As per details available on their Work and Income website, Covid-19 Wage Subsidy entitlement is for all those employers whose employees are legally working in New Zealand, incl. employees who:

  • have a NZ work visa
  • have a condition on their NZ temporary visa that allows them to work in NZ
  • are international students whose visa allows them to work in NZ

In a statement to NewsViews today, van Ooyen says “We understand the current situation is impacting people in many ways and are doing all we can to provide assistance to people in need…The Covid-19 wage subsidies and leave payments are available to anyone legally working in New Zealand.

“Currently our advice to people who are here from overseas, who are not currently employed, and are experiencing financial difficulty during COVID-19 alert level four should talk to their Embassy or Consulate for assistance. This includes workers here on a Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme, working holiday, short-term visa, students and tourists.

“We encourage them to also continue to check our website in the coming weeks for further updates.”

According to Immigration New Zealand (INZ), all migrant workers, including Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme workers, are entitled to government funding if they fall sick or have to isolate themselves while working in New Zealand (from the start date of their contract). This equates to NZD $585.50 per worker per week.

Several thousand migrant workers who are here in New Zealand on a work visa, have been impacted by this COVID-19 crisis and felt ‘abandoned’. They have been anxious about their job losses and many are currently facing loss of income and/or redundancies as a result of 4-weeks lockdown period. Currently, there are over 33,000 migrants on work visa itself.

Work & Income service centres are currently closed, but their staff are still at work helping clients get the Wage Subsidy as quickly as they can. 

For more information and to apply for a Wage Subsidy, please visit:


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