Working in New Zealand

New Zealand work Requirements

There are a few requirements for working in New Zealand, below you will find information on working holiday visas, the RSE scheme, NZ tax number and insurance.

Working Holiday Visas

The Working Holiday Visa is a specific travel visa which has been created to help backpackers earn money as they work their way around New Zealand. The visa allows you to undertake casual work and travel around New Zealand for up to one or two years.

It is currently available to citizens of the following countries:

Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, USA, Uruguay.

If you are not from one of these countries then you will only be able to obtain a visitor visa to enter New Zealand and will not be able to work.

If you are planning a long trip to New Zealand, it’s worth getting hold of this visa in case you get short of money. However, be aware that you can only get one working holiday visa in your lifetime so make the most of it!

The requirements for obtaining a Working Holiday Visa are different for each country. For the exact requirements for your country’s scheme, please see NZ Immigration Working Holiday Section.

General Requirements
  • Be at least 18 and not more than 30 years old
  • Be able to show you have sufficient funds to support yourself (approx $4200 in cash, travellers cheques, bank draft or bank statement)
  • Have a return ticket or sufficient funds to purchase one
  • Have no dependent children with you
  • Never been on a Working Holiday to New Zealand before
  • Main reason you’re coming to NZ is to holiday; work being your secondary intention

In addition, the Working Holiday Schemes for each country have their own unique requirements, such as limitations on the number of visas issued each year and restrictions on the length of time you can work for each employer. You may be asked questions and be required to provide evidence that you meet the above requirements before being allowed into NZ, so make sure you have all the relevant documents with you! Most citizens can now apply for their Working Holiday Visa over the internet, although citizens from some countries must apply by completing an application form and sending it to your local NZ Immigration office. Check out what your options are available to you here.

How to Apply Online

  • To apply for your Working Holiday Visa online, you must first register here with the NZ Immigration website. You can then follow the directions on the site to apply for your visa.
  • Alternatively, you can use an independent visa agent, who can help you with your application.

How to Apply Manually

To apply manually for your visa, follow these steps:

  • Obtain the NZIS form 1085 (Application for a New Zealand Working Holiday) either by contacting your local NZ Immigration office and requesting an application pack or by downloading it from the NZ Immigration website. Click here to download it.
  • Complete the application form using your own personal details. You are not asked to provide evidence of funds at the time of application but you may be required to do so on entry to New Zealand. Remember to attach a recent passport photo to your application form and sign it!
  • Obtain the address of your local NZ Immigration branch and the fee charged to process this at your branch. To do this click here.
  • Check if you need to complete a Temporary Entry X-Ray Certificate. For information on countries who need to complete this, see the NZ Immigration Health Requirements Leaflet.
  • Send your completed application form through to your local NZ Immigration branch along with:
    • Details of how you will leave NZ after your Working Holiday (return flight or funds available)
    • Any evidence thats shows you meet the requirements of a specific scheme
    • Your attached passport photo
    • A valid passport
    • The fee for processing your Working Holiday Visa (click here to view fees)
    • Your Temporary Entry X-Ray Certificate if needed (see point 4).

Obtaining a Tax Number in New Zealand

In order to work and to get taxed properly in New Zealand, you need to obtain a tax number from the New Zealand Government. You can apply for this when you arrive in NZ. The process is relatively simple:

  1. Download the Tax Number Application Form (IR595) from the Inland Revenue website ( For a direct link to the application form click here.
  2. Print out and complete the application form you have downloaded.
    • Please note: you need to have a permanent address in New Zealand to get a tax number.
  3. You now need photocopies of 2 supporting documents such as your passport and international drivers licence – see the form for a list of suitable documents.
  4. Now take the completed form and photocopies of your supporting documents to either a New Zealand Post Shop, Automobile Association offices or PickNZ offices.
  5. Your IRD number confirmation will be sent to the postal address you supplied within 8-10 days. Alternatively you can ring up to obtain your number. You can then give this to your employer when you start working. For more info on income tax see the NZ Inland Revenue website.

RSE Scheme

The Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme came into effect in April 2007. The policy allows the horticulture and viticulture industries to recruit workers from overseas for seasonal work when there are not enough New Zealand workers.

M A Orchards became approved as RSE employers in 2016 having 20 employees come over for the 2015/2016 harvest on a joint ATR with Hortus, meaning the boys then went up to Blenheim to work after harvest. M A Orchards had 8 employees from Vanuatu come over from October 2016 to help with thinning and harvest. In 2017 we had 60 Come over for harvest on joint ATRs as well as having the 8 employees returning for 7 months. In 2018 we had 103 employees come for harvest on joint ATR’s as well as 10 employees who were with us for 7 months. In 2019 we then had 45 employees from Vanuatu come to help in winter, as well as our 10 returnees and 120 employees to help with harvest. In 2020 we had 117 employees from Vanuatu and 48 from the Solomon Islands to help with harvest. We have also had 29 Tongan workers to help with winter pruning.

Insurance Information

  • You have to pay for medical care in NZ. Whether it’s a quick trip to the doctor with a cold or scraping you off a valley floor, your insurance company will pay the bill.
  • Although New Zealand is a very safe country, there are still opportunist thieves who can’t pass up the chance of swiping an unguarded iPad, so make sure your insurance covers any belongings you don’t want to lose.
  • As a backpacker, plans can change and unforseeable events occur, so cover yourself for missed departures and cancellations so you don’t precious dollars while trying to make it to the next place on your itinerary.
  • If you are going to NZ on a working holiday, you are required to have adequate medical insurance to qualify for the visa.
  • New Zealand is the adventure capital of the world, so you will be doing lots of crazy things! Insurance will cover you in case things get out of hand.

Working at
M A Orchards

At M A Orchards we rely heavily on seasonal workers from around our area and beyond. Between November through to May we have plenty of job opportunities.

Living in Timaru

There are plenty of activities to keep you busy in the South Canterbury region. These include trails for walking, running, and cycling.

Honey Crisp Apples

Organic production sustains the health of the environment, ecosystem and people. Organic farmers only avoid synthetic and soluble fertilisers.