How To Hire Migrant Workers: A Guide For Employers

Skills shortages continue to choke business growth in many sectors in New Zealand. So how do you get ahead? The answer could be to recruit skilled workers from overseas.

Recruiting from overseas – and dealing with all the visa and immigration challenges that go with it – can seem daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before.

However, VisaAide and our People Inc partners, RecruitNZ and ConsultingHQ, can take care of the entire process for you – and you’ll have one point of contact throughout. We focus on recruiting from the Philippines, as Filipino workers tend to be hard working and are a surprisingly good cultural fit. Read more about why you should consider hiring from the Philippines.

If you’re wondering how to hire migrant workers from the Philippines, here are the steps involved.

How to hire migrant workers from the Philippines

VisaAide and our Partners at People Inc provide an end-to-end international recruitment and visa service:


Step 1: Consultation

We’ll have a consultation meeting with you to ascertain exactly what’s needed in terms of:

  • Employer accreditation: All NZ employers wishing to recruit migrant workers need accreditation from Immigration New Zealand.
  • POEA accreditation: When hiring from the Philippines, a job order needs to be verified by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). Read more about the POEA.
  • Job checks: You need to prove that there are no suitably qualified New Zealanders available for the role you’re recruiting.
  • Recruitment: Ascertaining the role(s) your recruiting for, plus the skill and experience levels needed, as well as required qualifications.

From that meeting, we’ll create a brief and provide you with a proposal for the work involved and the next steps.

Step 2: Accreditation and recruitment

If you don’t already have employer accreditation, the team here at VisaAide will get that underway for you. And the team at Recruit NZ will work on the POEA accreditation.

At the same time, RecruitNZ commences the overseas recruitment process, liaising with our partner agency in the Philippines. You can be involved in the interview process – either via video link, or in person – and trade testing can also be organised. Find out how our Filipino recruitment agency manages the interview and selection procedure.

These accreditation and recruitment processes can run simultaneously, to save time.

Step 3: Documentation

ConsultingHQ now creates the necessary HR documentation. This must be compliant with both NZ employment law, as well as with Immigration New Zealand requirements. Even if you already have employment agreements and position descriptions, they are likely to need editing to suit Immigration NZ specifications.

Step 4: Job Checks

RecruitNZ, being the recruitment specialist, takes care of the necessary job check advertising. Once the results of that are available, we at VisaAide submit the job check application to Immigration New Zealand.

Step 5: Accredited Employer Work Visa application – and the selected worker prepares to come to New Zealand

This is when things start getting exciting! The team here at VisaAide will submit the Accredited Employer Work Visa applications for the workers you’ve selected.

Each worker also needs to apply to legally leave the Philippines for work. The process for this is the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC), managed by the Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) in Wellington. RecruitNZ takes care of that whole process, as it requires documentation from both the worker and from the employer.

Step 6: On-going HR compliance

ConsultingHQ will work with you to ensure your documentation remains compliant, and that accreditation is renewed (if required). You’ll also get updates if there are any changes to employment law or Immigration New Zealand rules that may impact you. And if any of your employees’ work visas are likely to lapse soon, we’ll discuss available options well ahead of time.

Pastoral care for Filipino workers

The Philippine Government has recognised that workers from their country are highly sought after; contribute significant earnings to the GDP of the Philippines; but are also open to exploitation. For that reason, hiring from the Philippines is highly regulated and monitored – hence all the special rules and registrations that are in place.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) demands that there is full settlement support for Filipino workers, plus on-going pastoral care for them. Read more about employers’ obligations when they hire Filipino workers – including a run down of who pays for what.


If you’re daunted by the process of how to hire migrant workers – it can be easy and straightforward when you’re working with an experienced team. If you’re wondering if it’s a viable option for your business, contact our team for a no-obligation discussion to see if it’s right for you. 

"The team at RecruitNZ have been working with us to bring immigrant construction workers to NZ. They have handled the recruitment process from initial screening to interviewing to liaising with various governments. Their consultants are invaluable to our business. Their local knowledge of the Filipino employment market and government processes is instrumental to ensuring a smooth, efficient recruitment process. They how exactly what we are looking for in an employee and deliver every time"

Katie Geck – Proclad

Do you have questions on how to hire migrant workers?

We specialise in international recruitment and NZ visas – contact us for up-to-date advice.

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