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Meet-ups set to grow

Registered Master Landscapers is committed to adding more value to its members by hosting informative regional meet-ups – with relevant guest speakers – more regularly

Registered Master Landscapers’ (RML) pledge to host more regional meet-ups and add value by inviting speakers was already in full swing late last year. It hosted Immigration NZ (INZ) at most meetings in November and December. Feedback has been positive, and RML has organised another series of meet-up for next month, this time with Primary ITO.

“The role as advocate for our members and industry is one that we’re focused on,” explains RML chief executive officer Janine Scott.

“We believe that hosting INZ will prove to be of great benefit to our members, who were updated on the latest information for the employment of migrant workers, policy and processes around the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) and roles and pathways to residence.”

In addition to the value provided by the information itself, Scott says the robust discussion sparked by the sessions provided employers opportunities to seek answers on the details of the new AEWV.

“This is just one of many steps we are taking as we seek to increase our influence and secure better connections with government, organisations and industry partners, who will help achieve our objectives and overcome challenges.

“These discussions highlighted the need for our industry to work together to communicate with the Government on matters that impact our businesses and industry.

We may be small, but we will be building on these relationships and working alongside other industries with similar issues.”

The industry wants overseas workers

Some businesses are no stranger to the impact visa changes can have.

“While not specifically thanks to the AEWV, the post-Covid extension to some work visas was a big relief for us,” said Girls on Grass founder Emma Kunac. “As an all-female business by design, recruiting is extra hard for us due to the lack of women in landscaping. We’ve been able to retain three female staff, who would have had to leave the country under pre-Covid rules!”

However, not all landscapers are in the same boat. Gardens with Attitude owner Wal Vendt says that while open borders help in theory, if migrants don’t appear willing to come to New Zealand, nothing will change.

“At the moment, we’re looking for four staff but there’s nobody about! Opening the borders might help in that respect, although we’re not seeing many visa-holders asking for work.”

Complicity of the system remains an issue

Longtime member Roger Morgan from Readylawn praised RML for getting INZ to the meet-ups. However, he said some attendees were wary of the complexity and risks of getting accredited.

“We weren’t sure if it would be worth the effort for typical landscape businesses, even the bigger ones. However, we agreed there is opportunity in hiring temporary six-month work visa holders from approved countries, which we’ve done successfully in the past.”

RML meet ups staple going forward

A fresh round of meetings will take place in February 22 (Waikato and Wellington) and February 23 (Christchurch and Auckland). Featuring talks from Primary ITO, they will focus on what employers can expect from the organisation over the coming year. There will also be a Q+A session.

“If you have apprentices or are considering expanding your workforce in 2023, this is a must-attend meeting,” added Janine.

“If you cannot attend, consider sending a staff member. Our meetings are open not only to business owners, but also to your employees and others with close links to our industry.”

However, not all meet-ups feature presentations or talks. Some focus on fostering better relationships between that region’s landscapers.

“I recently attended the regional catch-up in Wellington in December 2022 and it was great to see such a wide range of professionals swapping tips, comparing plans for the future and talking about the benefits of being an RML member,” says Onlandscape’s Ollie Newman.

“I was really impressed by the enthusiasm a lot of people have for the industry and for our organisation and I’m looking forward to the February catch-ups already!”

Accredited employee work visa explained

The Accredited Employee Work Visa (AEWV) began in July 2022 and replaces six work visas that were previously available (according to licensed immigration advisors Emigration New Zealand). It is a temporary work visa, although some applicants may be able to gain residence through the scheme.

The visas it replaces are:

  • Essential Skills Work Visa.

  • Essential Skills Work Visa — Approved in principle.

  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa.

  • Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa.

  • Silver Fern Job Search Visa.

  • Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa.

Accreditation Process

Employers need to become accredited before they can invite a worker to apply for an AEWV. Then, they need to advertise the role for at least two weeks on a national listing website or channel, where New Zealanders are likely to apply. However, you do not need to give evidence of advertising if the job pays at least twice the NZ median wage of $29.66 per hour, or if the occupation is on the Green List.

Once employers have accreditation and have posted a job ad, they must apply for a 'Job Check' with Immigration NZ, which will assess the job offer, employment agreement and the advertisement (if it was required). Job Checks are valid for six months or until you no longer have accreditation.

Once the Job Check is approved, you can ask your potential migrant employee to apply for the role.

There continues to be a lot of change related to immigrant work visas. For the latest updates, go to

Still unsure? For licensed advice, try

Registered Master Landscapers is committed to supporting landscape professionals and young future leaders.

For more information contact CEO Janine Scott on or phone 0275 444 090


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