Dewhirst Law.Wills, Estate Planning, Property and Business Law. Better, faster, more fun. Phone (06)281 3461

March 2019

Work visas - turning a Bush Regenerator into a silviculturist

We are busy with visa applications for forestry workers and silviculturists, due to increased

forest sector activity. The Government’s focus on tree planting, a zero-carbon economy, and

carbon incentives has seen our forestry grow to near capacity.

Clients ask how they can import skilled workers for forest regeneration work, including

silviculturists eager to learn but who do not have sufficient skills or experience to qualify for a

work visa.

Silviculture migrant staff need an ANZCO 4 classification to qualify to work in New Zealand.

This means they must have a Level 2 NZQA qualification, or at least one year’s relevant

forestry experience. Some candidates are declined because of the lack of skills or work

experience, and this has created a skill shortage.

Fortunately, a new worker classification has been approved by Immigration New Zealand,

known as the ANZCO Level 5 “Bush Regenerator”. This is good news because the ANZSCO 5

classification has a much simpler entry requirement. A Bush Regenerator is someone who

plants trees to regenerate a forest. The required skill-set does not include chain-sawing, as

is required for tree pruning or trimming. This job is a low-skilled role for seasonal tree


It gets more interesting. To get the application over the line, you may be required or may

choose to offer on-the-job training for health and safety and planting techniques. If the

worker is able to do more training while in New Zealand, then he or she could potentially

increase his or her skills to a NZQA Level 2, which will bump them to a Level 4 ANZCO. The

employer can then apply for a subsequent work visa for that worker as a silviculturist.

With the right training and opportunity, an employer can grow its own silviculturist team from

the Bush Regenerators brought into New Zealand.

Our immigration specialists are eager to help with your work visa applications. Dewhirst Law

takes the paperwork away, so you can get on with growing your business and your team.

Dewhirst Law.Wills, Estate Planning, Property and Business Law. Better, faster, more fun. Phone (06)281 3461