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Temporary work visa cost increased

IMNZ is increasing the visa fees for all visa types from November 5th.

Immigration NZ is a mostly user-pays system, but lost $20m from work visas alone last year, suggesting the price paid for them no longer covered the cost of processing them.
The main increase will apply to the temporary work visa category which will increase from $380 to $580.
In a Cabinet paper, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said an increase in migrant trafficking and exploitation was to blame for increasing visa processing costs. Checks were becoming more rigourous, therefore taking longer.
Immigration NZ’s memorandum account was set for the $43m deficit by the end of the 2017 financial year.
That was despite investing $140m in technology to move visa processing online.
Immigration NZ deputy chief executive Greg Patchell said without the technology investment, its accounts would have been further in the red and the proposed increase on visas would be higher.
“The changes are actually making it more efficient to process visas, however the risk situation changes, therefore other things come on board at the same time.”
Mr Patchell said the increase in visa pricing would not necessarily reduce processing times.
Along with other changes, such as increasing the cost for employers to gain an accreditation from Immigration by 20 percent, that would balance Immigration NZ’s account within three years.
You can download the full list of fee increases here: New visa fees

Bureaucratic insanity, the Immigration law that caused over-staying…

The introduction of interim visas was a welcomed change, but a major flaw in the process resulted in many people illegally overstaying in New Zealand, despite legitimately trying to follow the law. Recent changes have amended, but not without leaving a number of serious implications for migrants.

Immigration New Zealand’s own processes around Interim Visas have been increasing the number of over-stayers in New Zealand. Thank fully, Immigration New Zealand changed their policy on the 27th of August to address this issue.

Interim visas are what Australians sensibly call “bridging visas”. If Immigration New Zealand can’t make a decision on a new visa application before the applicant’s existing visa expires, it can issue an electronic interim visa to allow the applicant to stay in the country until the decision is made.

Prior to the introduction of interim visas, if your existing visa expired and Immigration New Zealand hadn’t decided on your application for a new one, you became an over-stayer. So Immigration New Zealand’s own timeliness in decision-making (or lack of timeliness) contributed to creating a pool of over-stayers.

Interim visas were intended to stop that problem. But there was a fundamental flaw in their operation: they expired the day after a decision was made on an application.

If you made a new application on 1 June, and your existing visa expired 1 July, the interim visa would start 2 July to allow you to stay here lawfully until a decision was made. But if Immigration New Zealand declined the new application after 1 July, your interim visa would end one day after that decision, making you an over-stayer.

That one day became crucial to many: you could use it to apply for reconsideration of the decline decision, or to reapply for the same visa.

Applications for reconsideration, however, required you to submit your passport to Immigration New Zealand along with the request for reconsideration. If your passport was held by Immigration New Zealand when the decision to decline the visa was made, you often wouldn’t get it back until three working days later. That meant you were unlawful in New Zealand, and being unlawful meant you lost the right of reconsideration.

Even if you had your passport, if the decision to decline your application was made late in the day on a Friday, by Monday when Immigration New Zealand opened to receive a reconsideration application, you were unlawful in New Zealand and therefore not allowed to apply for reconsideration.

This bureaucratic insanity meant many people legitimately trying to follow the law ended up illegally in New Zealand.

Even when people in this situation decided to leave New Zealand, the practical reality of packing up a life meant they would have a period of over-staying. This would then prejudice their ability to obtain visas offshore in order to return to New Zealand.

Think of all the things you need to do when moving countries: if you have rented a house, you need to give notice in accordance with the tenancy agreement. If you are in a job, you need to give notice in accordance with your employment agreement. You have to close bank accounts, sell cars, and sell personal possessions. You need to arrange accommodation back in your home country – which you may have not lived in sometimes for five years or more. All these things simply can’t be done in 24 hours.

For people who complied with the law, moved back overseas, and applied for a visa to re-enter, Immigration New Zealand would often consider any period of unlawful presence in New Zealand as a basis for claiming the applicant was non-compliant with visa rules and therefore should not be permitted to re-enter New Zealand. This decision was made for people who did not intend, want, or deliberately become over-stayers.

Finally, Immigration New Zealand has followed the Australian model and now the interim visa expires 21 days after a decision is made. This permits a practical window of opportunity for people to challenge a decision that may be incorrectly made. Or, alternatively, it gives them a realistic and practical period of time to leave New Zealand.

It is unfortunate that the change comes after so many people have had their immigration history destroyed by poor policy.

Worried about deportation? Have a look at our deportation page here.

If you have questions regarding the Interim Visa or any other recent policy changes, please contact us here.

For more migrant information and resources, have a look here.

Why NZ needs skilled migrants

NZ needs skilled migrants

Immigration is a hot topic in the news, stories highlighting an increase in migrant workers often brings a backlash from the public as there is a perception that skilled migrants are taking opportunities for lower pay that could be filled by a local workforce.

 So why does New Zealand have to recruit workers from overseas?

Immigration New Zealand’s website currently lists over 60 areas that immediately need skilled workers. These include IT, agriculture, education, the health sector, and trade and construction.

If the job is not in an area of skill shortage, and the visa applicant is not qualified as detailed in that list, current visa criteria requires companies to make significant attempts to fill vacancies with New Zealanders. And it goes without saying that companies would prefer to hire locally. As prominent immigration lawyer Aaron Martin says: “Why on earth would an employer go through the paperwork of a visa application process if they don’t have to?”

But, as the lengthy list of shortages shows, there just aren’t enough Kiwis with the required training and experience to fill the gaps. Talent is the single most important factor in the future prosperity of many industries, in fact the lack of available talent will be the greatest restriction in their growth.

Even in areas facing skill shortages, hires can take months or more. Catherine Clarke of Roam Creative, a leading digital product and innovation agency, told us: “It can take at least two to three months to fill a vacancy. Roam has been recruiting continually all year to fill roles including testers, designers, developers, and product managers. With perseverance and a strong employer brand, we’ve been lucky enough to source some amazing talent recently, but it is challenging as there simply aren’t enough skilled local candidates to cope with the growth of the IT industry in New Zealand.”

Roam recently set up an office in Sydney, but shortage of IT personnel is a problem there, too. With difficulty filling roles in New Zealand, and even stricter immigration laws in Australia, Clarke knows the vacancies won’t be filled quickly.

Crop production is another area on the immediate skill shortage list. Pedro Wylaars, National General Manager of Zealandia, has over 220 staff working to grow and supply millions of plants to commercial growers and garden centre businesses across the country. The company is always advertising for staff, and it struggles even to fill roles that offer on-the-job training.

It’s also a challenge for Zealandia to find New Zealanders with relevant tertiary qualifications. “The universities in New Zealand can’t fill up the horticulture papers,” says Wylaars. “And most of those students end up switching over to the agricultural sciences anyway.”

Wylaars says that if they couldn’t take on staff from other countries, they’d be “in big trouble”.

But aren’t migrants taking jobs from Kiwis who need work?

Both Roam and Zealandia are in industries on the skills shortage list, and are lucky enough to be able to recruit from overseas. But some people think these jobs should go to unemployed Kiwis.

Martin says this is a misconception of the realities of operating a business. “Some New Zealanders have a myopic view of the needs of New Zealand employers who are (often) trying to compete internationally” he says. “Some think ‘being a Kiwi’ is a qualification in itself that should put them first in terms of candidate selection”

Martin believes that employers should be able to choose staff who are the best fit for their company, with the best skills and the highest expertise. “If you miss out on a job to someone from overseas, it means you were not the best-qualified person, and you need to get out and upskill yourself. The best-skilled people get the jobs – it’s that simple”.

What benefits do migrants bring to jobs? 

It’s not just skills, training, and experience that migrants bring to roles; it’s a whole different ethos. Drive, ambition, energy, and a willingness to continuously upskill come as part of the package.

Martin credits this to one simple reason: “When you uproot yourself and family, and say good bye to your friends, your professional networks, and the comfort of a labour market that understands your skills, and you drop yourself into a completely foreign country, there’s no room for failure.”

Most migrant employees come from countries where there are several billion people. With intense competition for jobs and employment it’s necessary to adopt a strong work ethic to make yourself shine. New Zealand employers find this incredibly attractive. “It’s not a one-way equation,” says Martin. “It’s not as if migrants are the only ones benefitting – we actually get something that we need, too. It’s a two-way exchange. We get the benefit of their skill and experience. We get an opportunity to learn new things and that knowledge transfer benefits business and local employees.”

 Migrants also bring valuable diversity to the workplace. Roam, which creates apps and digital solutions across a variety of industries, finds this hugely beneficial. “Every product we build is designed with the user in mind. Migrants have been so valuable in bringing new insight and different perspectives when it comes to designing products for the user, which gives our Product teams a broader understanding of users on a global scale, empowering us to design products for the global market.”

The skills and experience migrants bring can also help take businesses up to another level. Wylaars experienced this first-hand when he employed an overseas candidate who is recognised globally as one of the top five in their field. “We thought we were already doing a pretty good job,” says Wylaars. “But this new employee has taken us two or three rungs further up the ladder – we’re now getting global attention for some our new techniques and processes.”

What benefits do migrants have on the economy?

Clarke says that areas experiencing skill shortages, such as IT, have become “candidate-driven job markets” where locals can demand high salaries. “In some cases, IT salaries have been driven up because of this,” she says.

High salaries obviously impact employers, with the cost usually passed onto clients. But the claim that migrant labour dampens wages is not the reality of employers experience.

Clarke states: “Our employees are hired for their expertise and their value to the business. Whether they were hired locally or overseas, this is irrelevant. It’s neither fair, nor sustainable to offer migrants lower pay as they’ll just move on to another job”.

International employees use their previous connections with overseas companies to help businesses grow, as well as create new businesses. This helps our overall economic growth. Migrants bring innovative concepts, methods and different perspectives with them from overseas.

“When you look at the net gain on economic activity of New Zealanders versus migrants, migrants perform well as their draw on publicly funds services is often low,” Martin says.

Migrants are less likely to claim benefits and, contrary to popular belief, actually create more jobs, mostly due to supply and demand. “As more migrants come into to the country we begin to see more smaller businesses established,” says Martin. “Migrants are often entrepreneurial and seek economic freedom and control over their own destiny by being self-employed. These new Kiwis create vital economic activity for our country.”

Looking for Immigration advice? If you have a concern about your visa or would like to speak to our expert immigration team for support with a migrant employee application, get in touch today.

Will the new KiwiBuild visa cut the mustard for migrant workers?

KiwiBuild visa changes

On the 27th of June the Government announced it is revising the KiwiBuild visa scheme and changing immigration settings to try to address New Zealand’s shortage in construction workers. But will these changes address the issues?

New Zealand as a destination is a difficult sell even for large construction companies. It takes a lot to get a builder from the UK to move to New Zealand, where the cost of living is high but the wages are not.

It’s even harder if you can’t offer that person the certainty of residence. If the potential talent that might be recruited using these schemes can’t get a residence visa, the ability of employers to attract that talent will be compromised.

Continue reading Will the new KiwiBuild visa cut the mustard for migrant workers?

Kiwibuild visa replaced with new Kiwibuild skills shortage list

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The Government has scrapped its KiwiBuild Visa plan in favour of wider proposed changes to immigration settings to fix a 30,000 worker gap in construction.

The government-is trying to make the process easier for employers to recruit the staff they need to work in construction and fast track the immigration process for workers who meet the right criteria.

The proposed changes include a KiwiBuild Skills Shortages list which would set up a simplified process for employers to quickly hire overseas workers in critical roles without Immigration NZ needing to conduct a market test each time.

Continue reading Kiwibuild visa replaced with new Kiwibuild skills shortage list

Migrant employers need to get the record straight…

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Migrant employers need to get the record straight…

Employers hiring migrants have been making headlines lately for breaching immigration and employment law. Leading immigration lawyer Aaron Martin and solicitor Eleanor Gregan of Davenports Harbour Law discuss the most common mistakes made by migrant employers and how to avoid them.

From 1 April 2017, employers who incur a penalty for breaching employment standards have faced a stand-down period preventing them from recruiting migrant labour. The stand-down period is for six months, one year, 18 months, or two years, depending on the severity of the breach.

Continue reading Migrant employers need to get the record straight…

Aaron Martin Review

“We used NZIL to get our permanent resident visa’s.

Before meeting Aaron, I had been in contact with another Immigration firm who I felt didn’t seem to have the in-depth knowledge about what to do that we got from Aaron.

From making an initial website inquiry, Aaron was proactive and knowledgeable. Every step of the process Aaron and his team have been very professional and easy to deal with and unlike with previous lawyers we did not have to continuously chase up, they were very proactive and on top of our application. Thank you, Aaron and team.” Rebecca Weeks

Demand for labour vs work visa numbers – the Government’s rock and hard place

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Demand for labour vs work visa numbers – the Government’s rock and hard place

It’s time to get real:

  • Auckland needs skilled labour
  • Employers in Auckland need to be able to retain staff.

The new budget will be announced on the 17th of May and one of the most critical issues facing the government is how they going to tackle the immigration limits they campaigned on setting, vs economic growth.

Continue reading Demand for labour vs work visa numbers – the Government’s rock and hard place

Helping Families

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Recently my partner and I tried to register our first child. That’s when we discovered my partner didn’t have the papers to be living in New Zealand. He was adopted as a child from Samoa, and it turns out his family never sorted his papers. So he’d unknowingly been living and working illegally in New Zealand for over 21 years.

I wanted to find a lawyer to help with our situation, and I needed it to be someone I felt I could trust. I rang several lawyers but they were very hesitant to speak over the phone and requested payment up front in return for information.

Aaron was different. He was very honest and offered up advice immediately. That’s how I knew we could trust him.

Aaron was very transparent in his services and always made the potential outcomes clear. There were no false promises. Within the first three to four months of working with him we were able to get a temporary 12-month visa. From there we successfully got residency.

It was a highly stressful year, but Aaron and his team were there supporting us every single step of the way. They made the experience a lot easier for us.

If it wasn’t for Aaron, none of this would have been possible. He was very respectful and gave accurate and practical advice. He also provided payment solutions to fit our financial situation. His honesty and integrity are the qualities that stand out the most to me.

If I ever come across someone who needs help with immigration, I will strongly recommend Aaron and his team.

Tufa Schuster
Temporary Visa & Residency Visa

If you need help with temporary or residency visas, get in touch with our team here.

Helping Businesses

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Our Auckland business focuses on commercial refrigeration, air conditioning, and ventilation systems. We needed to employ a new specialised technician, and one applicant for the role had all the right skills and experience that we were looking for. But there was a problem: he was currently on holiday in New Zealand and didn’t have the rights to work here.

I’m from overseas myself, and when I immigrated I did all my own paperwork. So I know what a mission the visa process can be. This time I wanted to talk to an immigration lawyer who knew what they were doing and could get the best results for our employee.

A colleague recommended I talk to Aaron and his team, and with their help we navigated the process of obtaining a visa for our prospective hire.

People’s futures really do depend on these services, and Aaron and his team thoroughly and effectively supported us and our employee through the entire process. Aaron has been nothing but professional and honest and has offered consistently practical and cost-effective advice. He always communicates clearly and provides excellent information.

Working with New Zealand Immigration Law has been a great experience. They’ve always followed through on their word and there were never any false promises. I would definitely use Aaron and his team again and highly recommend them.

Paul Hefer
Set Point Technology
Skilled Migrant Visa

If you need honest and reliable help with your Visa application, contact our team today.