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Employing in New Zealand

At a glance

Employment in New Zealand

Foreign companies that employ workers in New Zealand face several challenges and must adhere to the legal and regulatory framework that is in place.  Most notably there are restrictions depending on the type of industry and amount of investment. In some cases, using an outsourced employer will make the process smoother, and it is recommended to use professional legal services as well.  Our guide explains New Zealand policies on leave, termination and payment of benefits.

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Payroll & Tax in New Zealand

Complying with local payroll and tax requirements is essential for a company doing business in New Zealand.  Issues such as tax rates and withholding and social security are all essential in ensuring a seamless human resources operation.  Many companies will consider outsourcing these administrative tasks to a GEO (Global Employment Organization).

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Immigration / Work Permits in New Zealand

Foreign workers are required to have the proper visas and work permits in New Zealand, as established by immigration laws.  This often requires incorporation and licensing prior to sponsoring work permits for employees, which can be a problem if your company is trying to enter the country quickly.

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There are several business structures available for incorporation in Zealand, and each has advantages and disadvantages.  In some cases it will depend upon the type of industry that you are in, capital investment and the scope of planned business activity.  Our guide has a comparison of the time and cost for incorporating standard company structures including Branch Office, Limited Liability Company and Limited Partnership.

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GEO Solutions or DIY Employment in New Zealand?

Companies entering New Zealand must make a decision whether to use their own resources for a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approach, or to use a Global Employment Organization to handle payroll and employment responsibilities.  A GEO or New Zealand Employer of Record solution makes it faster, easier and cheaper to deploy staff if they don’t have a New Zealand entity established that can run payroll.

A DIY approach will typically be delayed until there is a properly incorporated Branch Office or Company ready to run payroll and will include the cost of registered capital. The Shield GEO Solution is already properly incorporated in New Zealand, it has an active payroll and it is setup to sponsor work permits. This greatly reduces deployment times. Additionally Shield GEO is responsible for all compliance issues related to the employment.

Shield GEO

Shield GEO provides a fully outsourced employment service in New Zealand. Companies expanding into New Zealand can contract with Shield GEO to employ and payroll their staff on their behalf in New Zealand.  Shield GEO then assumes the legal responsibility for these employees, becoming the Employer of Record, sponsoring them on work permits, complying with local employment law and running their monthly payroll.

Using Shield GEO Employer of Record Services in New Zealand

Payroll New Zealand
Management Fee for Employer of Record Services / Monthly Payroll Costs

Please contact us for a quote

Grossed income Tax Rate (%)
0 – 14,000 10.5%
14,000-48,000 17.5%
48,000-70,000 30%
Tax Returns Supplied


Employers Social Security and statutory contributions

There is no Compulsory Social Security Scheme in NZ but employers are required to pay a levy towards the Comprehensive no fault Accident Compensation Scheme. Levies are payable on income up to NZD 118,191 for year ending 31 March 2015. Rates are dependent on industry.

Employees Social Security and statutory contributions

There is no Compulsory Social Security Scheme but employees are required to pay a levy towards the Comprehensive no fault Accident Compensation Scheme. Levies are payable on income up to NZD 118,191. Rates are 1.45% from April 2014.

Insurance requirements

1% Professional Indemnity and Public Liability Insurance

Work Permits
Can Sponsor Work

Yes, Shield GEO’s NZ entity is able to sponsor foreign workers on Work Permits which allow them to work in New Zealand. As the employer of record, Shield GEO handles all of the formalities and employment requirements in New Zealand. The client maintains responsibility for day to day employee management.

Work Permit cost

USD $3,000

Work Permit processing time

2-6 weeks

Work Permit process

Shield GEO applies for an Essential Skills Work Visa. The application can be completed online along with supporting documents. An offer of employment must be submitted together with the Employer Supplementary Form.

The employee must work in an occupation currently on one of the Essential Skills or Demand Lists.

Evidence that the NZ health requirements must also be lodged: if working in NZ for less than a year a Chest X-ray Certificate is required, for more than a year a General Medical Certificate is also required.

Additionally if the role is for 2 years + a police certificate from your country of residence is also required.

The application must be lodged and approved before you can enter New Zealand and commence working.

Documentation required : Completed Application Form, Employer Supplementary Form, Medical Certificates and Police Certificate as above, passport copy, passport photos, employment contract, professional references, copies of degree/diploma/professional certifications,

Can Work Permit be processed in country

Yes but nationality dependent

Switch Business Visa to Work Permit?

Yes but nationality dependent

Can Spouse work on dependent visa?


Business Visas
Can do Business Visa


Business Visa Cost

USD $450

Business Visa processing time

5-10 days Consulate dependent

Can supply private health care


Can assist opening bank accounts


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