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Recovery Visas - The new specific purpose work visa category


The Recovery Visa allows employers to sponsor experts such as engineers, technicians, and insurance assessors to come to New Zealand.


Cyclone Gabrielle and other extreme weather events have devastated many communities and businesses in the North Island. The Recovery Visa (a Specific Purpose Work Visa) is for migrant workers who are assisting with the recovery.


The visa is for migrant workers coming to New Zealand for a short time (up to 6 months) to do a job that supports the North Island recovery from extreme weather events in January and February 2023.

This support can include:

  • providing emergency response

  • immediate clean-up

  • assessing risk or loss

  • infrastructure, building and housing stabilisation and/or repair (including planning functions)

  • work that directly supports the recovery (e.g. producing relevant materials for road rebuild, transport drivers etc).

Employers must confirm that the role supports the North Island recovery from extreme weather events.


This visa is not available to industries providing indirect support (e.g. businesses in the affected areas facing an increased demand for services) or to backfill vacancies of people leaving roles to work on the recovery.


These employers will be able to access labour through other visas such as the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV). Changes are being considered to the AEWV to support faster processing for identified roles that will support the recovery and rebuild. These roles will be exempt from the labour market test.


The Recovery Visa is not limited to roles in the North Island only, recognising that some direct support industries will be South Island-based.

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