Navigating NZ’s Immigration Employment Infringement Scheme

Navigating NZ’s Immigration Employment Infringement Scheme

The Immigration Employment Infringement Scheme, was launched in April 2024 by Immigration New Zealand (INZ). It is a crucial initiative designed to ensure the fair treatment of migrant workers and enhance compliance with immigration regulations. This guide provides an in-depth exploration of the scheme, highlighting its implications for employers, the penalties involved, and the steps for compliance.

Introduction to the Employment Infringement Scheme

The Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Act introduced significant changes to strengthen the enforcement measures against employers exploiting migrant workers. The infringement scheme allows INZ to issue fines for minor immigration violations, thereby promoting adherence to both immigration and employment laws.

Key Provisions of the Employment Infringement Scheme

1. Scope and Applicability

The scheme applies to both accredited and non-accredited employers who commit minor offences, such as:

  • Allowing an individual not entitled under the Immigration Act 2009 to work.
  • Employing a person inconsistently with the work-related conditions of their visa.
  • Failing to provide requested documents to an immigration officer within 10 working days.

2. Penalties for Infringements

Employers found in violation may face various penalties, including:

  • Fines: A minimum fine of $1,000 for individuals and $3,000 for corporations or other entities.
  • Accreditation Loss: Loss of accredited employer or Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) status.
  • Visa Support Ban: Employers may be banned from supporting further visa applications for migrant workers for a period corresponding to the number of infringement notices received.

Also read: NZ Permanent Resident Visa applications are now Online

3. Stand-Down Periods

An employer receiving an infringement notice can be subject to a stand-down period, which prevents them from supporting new visa applications:

  • Single Infringement Notice: 6-month stand-down.
  • Subsequent Infringement Notices: Additional 6 months per notice.
  • Multiple Notices: Maximum 12-month stand-down if multiple notices are issued simultaneously.

During the stand-down period, employers can still hire migrants on open work visas or those holding a current Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV). However, regaining accreditation post stand-down requires rectifying the infringements and demonstrating measures to prevent future violations.

4. Transparency and Accountability

INZ maintains a public list of employers penalized and temporarily barred from hiring migrant workers. This transparency aims to uphold the integrity of the immigration system and protect migrant workers from exploitative practices.

Procedures for Disputing Infringement Notices

Employers have the right to challenge infringement notices through two primary methods:

  1. Court Dispute: Employers can deny liability and contest the infringement notice in court.
  2. Internal Review: Employers can request an internal review or reconsideration of the infringement notice or dispute the amount of the fines.

Ensuring Compliance with Immigration Laws

To maintain compliance with immigration laws and avoid penalties under the infringement scheme, employers should:

  • Regularly review and adhere to the visa conditions of their employees.
  • Ensure all necessary documentation is promptly provided to immigration officers upon request.
  • Implement robust internal policies to prevent unauthorized employment.


The Immigration Employment Infringement Scheme is a significant step towards safeguarding migrant workers’ rights and ensuring employer compliance with immigration regulations in New Zealand. By understanding the scope, penalties, and procedures associated with the scheme, employers can effectively navigate the requirements and maintain lawful employment practices.

By adhering to the guidelines and understanding the implications of the Immigration Employment Infringement Scheme, employers can contribute to a fair and compliant workplace for migrant workers in New Zealand.

Immigration Chambers can assist you by providing a comprehensive analysis of the immigration infringement scheme, detailing the specific implications for employers and the associated penalties. We guide you through compliance steps to avoid fines and ensure adherence to current immigration laws. Contact our expert team of best immigration lawyers in New Zealand who offer personalized support in addressing disputes and navigating legal complexities, ensuring your business meets all regulatory requirements.


Immigration Employment Infringement Scheme