Support in the workplace

Starting any new job is always stressful. Starting a new job in a new country where people do things differently is even harder.

It's ok to ask for help

Most employers  know settling in can be hard, so if you need help, don’t be afraid to ask.

It can affect everything you feel about your new adventure.

You need to be patient, stay open to new ideas, and take advantage of the various resources available to you.

Help with understanding our workplace culture

We have a range of general and specialist resources to help you settle into a new workplace and understand how we do things here.

Guide to New Zealand workplaces

Working in construction

Working in aged care

Working on a dairy farm

Working in Hospitality



If English isn’t your first language, you may be able to access English for Employees courses run by English Language Partners, a not-for-profit community-based organisation.

English for Employees is a part time, flexible programme designed for people who are already in work. As well as looking at language, the course will also help you with understanding the workplace in New Zealand.

The course is free for citizens and permanent residents, but other migrants can join the classes at a cost.

English for Employees | English Language Partners

Help from your employer

Many larger workplaces in New Zealand provide a service to help employees with any problems they are experiencing.

It’s called an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). Ask if there’s one available in your workplace when you start work.

Most employers understand that settling in as new migrant can be hard, so if there’s some form of help you need, don’t be afraid of asking.

You may simply need some time off during the day to sort out some paperwork or for an appointment. Or, they may be able to offer you a “buddy” who you can help explain things you don’t understand, or some extra leave if there’s something back in your home country that you need to do.

Know your rights

The law protects New Zealand employees in a number of ways. Make sure you’re aware of your rights. There’s more information on our Employment rights page.

Employment Rights

Migrant exploitation

New Zealand is committed to ensuring migrant workers are treated fairly. If you feel you or someone you know is being exploited, or if your employment rights aren’t being respected, you should ask for help. Information about what to do in this situation is available on the Immigration New Zealand website.

The same information is available in other languages, including Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Fijian, Gujarati, Hindi, Korean, Malay, Samoan, Tagalog, Tongan and Vietnamese.

Get help if your employer is exploiting you | Immigration New Zealand


Unions are organisations that represent groups of workers with employers. You have total freedom over whether or not you’ll join a union in your workplace. It is illegal for your employer to influence that decision.

If you choose to join a union, you will pay a membership fee, which can be paid directly or taken out of your wages.

More information about unions and which ones cover your occupation is available on the Council of Trade Unions (CTU) website.

Find your union | Council of Trade Unions

Workplace support

Getting help

If you have a dispute in the workplace, there are various services to help you resolve it.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has an Employment Relations unit which offers a mediation service.

In many towns and cities there are Labour Inspectors. They work with employers and employees to make sure that employment laws are being applied properly in workplaces.

Community Law has a comprehensive guide to resolving employment problems.

Using mediation services effectively | MBIE

Labour inspectors | MBIE

Employment - resolving problems | Community Law

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