New Zealand Seasonal Work Scheme

Get help with costs like travel, clothing or temporarily moving home, when you're starting seasonal horticulture or viticulture work.

Before you start a seasonal job, talk with us to see if you're eligible. You don't have to be on a benefit to qualify for the scheme.

What you can get

The Seasonal Work Scheme is made up of three types of support:

  • Support with costs
  • Accommodation costs payment
  • Incentive payment.

Support with costs

To help pay for:

  • daily transport to work
  • clothing and work gear
  • moving home if you have to move to take up seasonal horticulture or viticulture work
  • training for the job

We can't pay for any costs that you've already paid for.

You may also be able to get:

Accommodation costs payment:

  • You can get up to $200 a week for accommodation costs, for up to 26 weeks.
  • To help pay for temporary accommodation if you've had to move somewhere closer to work, and still have to pay your normal accommodation costs at the place you usually live.
  • You can get up to $5200 in a 52 week period.

Incentive payment:

  • $500 paid halfway through your work, and $500 paid when your work ends.
  • You can get up to $1000 in a 52 week period.
  • Who can get it

    To qualify for the scheme you must meet the general criteria below. There's also extra criteria you need to meet to get an Accommodation costs or Incentive payment. If you're not sure whether you qualify, call us on 0800 779 009 to talk to us about your situation.

    Work criteria

    You'll need to talk to us about this when you have a job starting soon, or you’ve recently started in a job. The job must last for at least 6 weeks, and you need to be working at least 30 hours a week. You need to show us proof of the job, for example emails from your employer, or your employment contract.

    The work must be seasonal work in either a horticulture or viticulture role, doing either:

      • packing
      • picking
      • planting
      • pruning
      • plant maintenance
      • thinning.

    Any horticulture or viticulture roles not listed above can't get New Zealand Seasonal Work Scheme because they are Essential Skills roles. For example, the New Zealand Seasonal Work Scheme cannot be paid for a Winery Cellar Hand. This is because the role's main tasks are operating machines and making and bottling wine - not packing, picking, planting, pruning, plant maintenance or thinning.

    Age criteria

    You need to be aged either:

      • 16-64, or
      • 15 and participating in the Youth Service, or
      • 65 or older and you don't qualify for NZ Super.

    Residency criteria

    You need to either:

      • be a New Zealand citizen
      • be a resident with a residence class visa
      • be recognised as a refugee or protected person, or
      • have a temporary visa that allows you to work in New Zealand and either:
        • have applied to be recognised as a refugee or protected person and are waiting on the outcome, or
        • have applied for a residence class visa and are compelled to stay in New Zealand because of unforeseen circumstances.

    You also need to be ordinarily resident in New Zealand.

    Other criteria

    We'll also take into account your:

      • situation
      • work history
      • work experience
      • level of skills and qualifications.

    There must be a risk that you could be unemployed for a long time. For example, if you're a student and have a short gap between study, you are not likely to qualify for the scheme.

    Accommodation costs payment criteria

    To get the accommodation costs payment you need to:

      • meet the general criteria for the scheme above
      • be taking up seasonal horticulture or viticulture work for 6 weeks or more, at 30 hours or more a week (this can be for more than one job)
      • temporarily move to start seasonal horticulture or viticulture work because travel between your home and your workplace is unreasonable or not possible
      • have accommodation costs in the place you're moving to, and
      • still be paying accommodation costs for your home.

    Incentive payment

    To qualify for the incentive payment, you need to:

      • meet the general criteria for the scheme above
      • be taking up seasonal horticulture or viticulture work for 6 weeks or more, at 30 hours or more a week
      • temporarily move to start seasonal horticulture or viticulture work because travel between your home and your workplace is unreasonable or not possible, and
      • work the period agreed between you and your employer
      • not have already got the $5K to Work payment from us.
  • How to apply

    To apply for any part of the NZ Seasonal Work Scheme, you can either:

    We'll talk to you about:

    • what types of support you qualify for
    • what area you're looking to work in.