NZ has been heralded as the country of the future, especially regarding its superb endeavors in battling the COVID crisis that has shook the entire world, including major world economies. Apart from introducing several immigration reforms that include automatic work and visa extensions, improved provisions for the skilled migrant categories, etc., the country has also rolled out several employment law reforms in 2021. The Government, immigration, and employment ministries work in tandem to minimize laborer exploitation and improve workplace conditions. The improvement in the minimum wage rates is one of the significant steps taken in this regard.

RSE Workers’ Payment Procedure Streamlined

Following the success of the RSE Remittances and Superannuation pilot project last year, INZ and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Private financial services provider – Appello Services Limited came together in a new project to build on the continuing results.

The 2020 pilot has been extended to Vanuatu, Samoa, and Tonga – three of the most significant source areas of RSE workers (accounting for 85% of all Pacific RSE arrivals in 2018/19). It hopes to bridge an insurmountable gap in the economic sector and address a very long-standing problem in NZ.

With the Government rolling out a clearly envisioned plan, the result is that of a new project that will allow all participating Recognized Seasonal Employers (RSE) workers to make payments -

‘into superannuation schemes in their home countries, as well as send remittance payments home.’

This new project will provide a low-cost, secure and transparent online system for RSE workers to remit money home.

History of the RSE

The Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme was introduced back in 2007, but it faced several hurdles in its early days.

Seasonal Workers in New Zealand had been largely excluded from the benefits of superannuation schemes that facilitate long-term savings for retirement.

For most of the RSE workers who wanted to make contributions to the superannuation funds, to date, there had been limited options to transfer the contributions without that amount being absorbed by transaction costs and other fees.

When the pilot project kicked off in July 2020 by Appello Services, on behalf of NZ's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with prominent support from INZ, Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF), and RSE employers – they launched an online system enabling RSE workers to make payments into their VNPF accounts. The RSE workers could also use the same platform for regular or lump-sum remittance transfers direct to their bank account.

During the trial and testing of this system, a total number amounting to 163 voluntary superannuation contributions and 23 remittances were processed on behalf of the RSE workers.

The Tested Pilot and its Functioning

This system, now launched as the Seasonal Worker Superannuation Administration Service (SWSAS), functions by seamlessly linking an employer’s electronic payroll to the National Provident Funds (NPF) in the Pacific.

The SWSAS provides employers with an easy, trusted, and low-cost system to transfer funds from a worker’s weekly wage.

This system is compliant with New Zealand’s anti-money laundering obligations. All participants are identified, checked, and - making it one of the most secure platforms for sending money home conveniently and cheaply.

The Visible Benefits of SWSAS

  • The Seasonal Worker Superannuation Administration Service (SWSAS) guarantees the primary benefit of low transaction costs, achieved by aggregating payments
  • Instead of numerous small, individual transactions, each incurring a transaction fee; aggregated payments mean bank and transaction fees are reduced, and more significant foreign exchange transactions are processed, which offer more favorable foreign exchange rates
  • There are provisions of making small weekly contributions or remittances (NZ $5) without losing any of it in transaction costs and other fees
  • The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals target is to reduce remittance transaction costs to less than 3% by 2030
  • SWSAS has already achieved that goal, offering transfers at a total cost of 2.9%

For all RSE employers and workers in NZ, the SWSAS is the most straightforward, simple, and transparent system and far better than traditional wire service providers.

The SWSAS system allows employers and workers to have their own online client portals, which are accessible from all electronic devices (smartphones, tablets, computers, laptops), and it stores all details of payroll deductions for voluntary contributions remittances.

The SWSAS can also be used to send holiday pay (8% of earnings) and any ‘end of contract’ amount back to their home country upon completing the contract.

What Problems Does SWSAS Solve for RSE Workers?

Security Coupled with Better Forex Rates

Before the pilot and the RSE scheme, most RSE workers withdrew large sums of cash and carried it back home at high risk. On arrival, most of them had to exchange that cash for home currency at poor exchange rates.

Money sent via the SWSAS will provide a much secure option with the prospect of better foreign exchange rates.

Sending Remittances Back Home Swiftly Without Money Transfer Agents

If RSE workers did not travel with large sums of cash, they had to visit money transfer agents in person to send money home. The problems of this are manifold, and in the era of the COVID crisis, this has been almost impossible to do.

The online service in SWSAS will allow the RSE worker to send remittances back home without any problem.

Online and Fast Service

RSE workers using SWSAS can also check or use the foreign exchange rate used to convert their contributions and the resulting amount in their home currency.

This online and fast service allows for sending remittances or retirement savings from NZ without having to travel in the middle of an ongoing pandemic.

In regards to any queries regarding the operation and overall functioning of the SWSAS and how it has solved a lot of staggering financial problems for the RSE workers in NZ, book a consultation with our experts.

We are staffed with highly qualified and well–versed NZ immigration advisors who would be delighted to answer all your questions calmly and help you navigate the entire process with ease.

Conclusion

Considering the world is gearing up to battle against a new strain of Covid, RSE workers in NZ would feel relieved to know that the SWSAS allows for an economic guarantee that will help their families back home to survive and live despite them being unable to travel.

Thanks to the effort taken by the Government of NZ, Appello Services LTD, and RSE workers, the pilot tested only a year back has allowed for thousands of RSE workers and their families to be secured.

If you are an RSE worker in NZ who wants to send money home efficiently, you need to understand the nuances of the new system in place. Book a consultation with our immigration experts to get a detailed overview of the entire procedure. Our friendly and amicable NZ immigration advisors will help you take the easiest way to send your earnings back home.