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How To Be A Good Employer For Both Local And Overseas Talent

How To Be A Good Employer For Local And Overseas Talent

When the borders closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, New Zealand employers were limited to local staff to fill their roles. But now the border restrictions have been lifted and New Zealand is open to the world again. 

That means overseas employees are back on the radar! 

If you run a business in a sector that has traditionally relied on migrant workers - like horticulture, tourism, aged care and health - you have probably welcomed the relaxing of restrictions. 

But having not employed overseas workers for a while, it's important to remember how to do it well. And how to be fair to your local talent at the same time.

Let's look at some key things you need to consider when recruiting a mix of local and overseas talent.

Four Key Areas Where You Can Be A Good Employer


If you are recruiting for a role, you need to ensure you advertise it in an effective way for both New Zealanders and migrant workers to apply. Remember that you must give local people a chance to apply before you open the job to overseas candidates who need assistance with working visas.

Make sure your advertisement is clear and contains all the relevant details of the job. Many employers are reluctant to add pay rates to their job listings, but it adds transparency to your advert and should help attract more relevant candidates.


A fair wage seems like a given, but it's still something that must be considered carefully. You want to make sure you are balancing your responsibilities to pay appropriately and attract recruits while maintaining healthy company finances.

In today's tight job market, you might also want to think about any extras you can offer new hires. This can be especially important for local talent who might be considering more than one offer. Extras might include things like extra leave or wellbeing days, work from home options, fuel cards, providing equipment like a cell phone or perks like a gym membership.

Of course, you will still need to pay a fair wage even if you are looking overseas. We've all heard horror stories of migrant workers being exploited for very low wages. Don't be that employer. You should pay your overseas workers a fair wage that will enable them to live comfortably in New Zealand. In some cases, immigration regulations say that your proposed salary has to be above a certain level, so be sure to check this before you advertise.


Once you have made an offer and it has been accepted, you need to go through the process of helping your new team member settle in and all the admin associated with making a new hire. A great onboarding process makes this as stress-free as possible.

Remember that if you are employing someone from overseas, there is some extra admin involved. Firstly, they will need a visa to work in New Zealand. If they do not already hold one, it may take some time before they obtain their documentation and can start work. You may also be able to apply to the Accredited Employer Work Visa scheme to help bring in new workers. Overseas workers will also need to be set up with an IRD number and other paperwork to enable them to work and be paid in New Zealand.

Recruiting a local staff member is usually more straightforward, but there is still plenty of paperwork with contracts to be signed, health and safety to cover and accounts to be set up. A clear process makes this easy for you and your new recruit. If your new hire is in New Zealand but is relocating for the job, remember to factor in the logistics of moving and finding a new home.

Finally, once the paperwork is all signed, you want to position your new team member for success. So, a detailed onboarding strategy should be implemented. That means giving them all the equipment, tools, training and support they need to settle into their role.

Settling in

If you are employing overseas workers, then it will also be essential that they get help to settle not only into the job but also into the country properly. If they aren't happy in New Zealand, then no matter how good your job is, they may not stay.

They might need help finding accommodation or navigating the local school system or just with simple things like finding things to do in the local community or connecting with other people from their home country.

Even if you are employing a New Zealander, it's good business practice to help them settle into their new role. Make it clear who they can ask for help and, if possible, assign them an experienced staff member to show them around and make them feel welcome.

If you have a mix of new workers from different countries or backgrounds, you might like to find a way of celebrating these or giving staff a chance to find out more about each other, through a social event.

Make Recruiting A Smooth Process

While a necessary task for your business, recruiting can be time-consuming. That’s why it can be an excellent idea to get support from an experienced recruiter.

If you'd like help with your recruitment, whether you are looking locally or further afield, LD Recruit is at your side. We work with you to find your ideal candidates and have thorough recruitment processes to ensure we are only putting forward the right people. We can help with as little or as much of the process as you need with our unbundled support services.

Contact us to see how we can make your next round of recruiting stress-free.