Category Archives: Employer information

All you need to know as an employer managing migrant workers in New Zealand

How to prepare for your appointment with an immigration lawyer

How to prepare for your appointment with a New Zealand immigration lawyerIf you’ve booked or are planning to book an appointment with an immigration lawyer in New Zealand, it can be hard to know what the process is, and what you need to bring.

Firstly, if you are yet to book your appointment, it’s best to check that you really do need an immigration lawyer. If you’re unsure, check out our article: immigration adviser vs immigration lawyer – whose help do you need?

We understand that immigration cases and New Zealand visa applications are expensive.

We want to make sure you get cost-effective and timely advice during your appointment. We’ve compiled a list of what you need to prepare before your appointment with a New Zealand immigration lawyer to make sure you get the most out of it.

Preparing for an immigration law appointment

For all appointments, bring:

  • Your visa (a photocopy is fine)
  • The date of your last police clearance check
  • The date you supplied your medical and x-ray certificates to Immigration New Zealand.

We strongly recommend preparing a list of any questions you might like to ask on the day. It is also helpful if you write a brief summary of your situation covering everything you think we may need to know. It is in your best interest to be honest and upfront about your situation with your immigration lawyer so that missed information doesn’t trip you up later on.

How to prepare for your appointment with a New Zealand immigration lawyer

You are welcome to bring a support person(s) and/or a translator if you struggle with English. Please keep in mind, however, that you will be discussing highly personal matters, so you need to trust this person to keep your information confidential.

There is no need to arrive early before your appointment, but do arrive on time. If you need tp change your appointment or are running late, please let us know as early as possible.

Other documentation required for your appointment is dependent on your reasons for going to an immigration lawyer in New Zealand.

How to prepare for your appointment with a New Zealand immigration lawyer

If you are applying for a New Zealand residence or New Zealand work visa, you will need to bring:

  • Photocopies of your offer of employment and, if possible, contract and job description
  • Background information about your employer, including:
    • The size of the company
    • How many employees it has
    • Whether it has supported work/residence visas in the past
  • Photocopies of any qualifications
  • Work experience references, and/or details of your prior work experience including dates of employment and descriptions of the tasks you performed
  • Copies of any correspondence from Immigration New Zealand relating to previous applications.

If you are wishing for help or intervention on a case you have filed, you need to bring:

  • A timeline of events, and any evidence to support this
  • A copy of the application documentation (especially in the case of an unsuccessful New Zealand visa application)

Copies of letters from Immigration New Zealand that detail the problems with the case.How to prepare for your appointment with a New Zealand immigration lawyer

Perhaps you have prepared your own case or visa application and just want:

  • A review of your application to ensure you have everything covered
  • A review of your documentation to ensure it meets the right visa criteria, and that you have everything you need
  • An assessment of whether your case is strong enough.

In this case, we recommend our 90-minute immigration clinic appointment. This appointment has a set fee and is the most cost-effective way to ensure your application is as strong as it can be, saving you the risk of spending time and money on an unsuccessful application.

You can book or find out more about our 90-minute immigration clinic appointment here.

How to prepare for your appointment with a New Zealand immigration lawyer

If you are an employer in the process of hiring a migrant employee(s), you must bring:

  • Copies of any advertisements for the position
  • A draft of the employment agreement and job description.

For more information about hiring migrant employees, check out our Employer Resources section, and our Employer Checklist. You can also view more about our business services here.

How to prepare for your appointment with a New Zealand immigration lawyer

If you are a migrant and already have an employment or skilled migrant visa, but feel you are being exploited by your employer, you will need to bring:

  • A copy of your contract
  • Evidence of exploitation. If this is on your phone (i.e., text messages or voice mail) you are welcome to simply bring that. If you don’t have evidence, please write a detailed timeline of the events that took place.

We understand that this is a very difficult situation, as your New Zealand visa can depend on your employer complying with New Zealand law. We take these situations very seriously, and we are legally required to keep your information private, so you can be sure that anything discussed with us won’t be shared. If you are unsure whether you are being exploited in your place of work, you can find out more about your rights as an employee here.

How to prepare for your appointment with a New Zealand immigration lawyer

After your first appointment, you can expect to have gained:

  • An understanding of your current legal position
  • An understanding of the application process and your chances of securing the type of visa you want
  • An understanding of any weaknesses in your case and whether they can be strengthened
  • A strategy for your application to ensure best chance of success.

We will provide you with a written Terms of Engagement that will map out the work we intend to undertake, as well as an estimate of fees, how long it is likely to take to receive a decision, and, finally, our terms and conditions.

As each case is hugely different from the next, we do not charge a set rate for case appointments (except for our 90-minute immigration clinic appointment). However, the first half hour of the initial appointment is free, which should give us enough time understand the situation and estimate costs, and allow you to decide whether you wish to proceed.

Find out more about our process here.

Aaron Martin, principal lawyer of NZIL, has been working as an immigration lawyer in New Zealand for over 20 years. In this time he has worked with many clients with a wide range of situations – from New Zealand visa applications to deportation. If you’d like to hear some of our client’s success stories, check out our client testimonials here.

If you have any other questions about your specific case, or what you may need to do to prepare for your case, please do not hesitate to contact the office either through our website, or by emailing questions@nzil.co.nz, or calling +64 (0) 9 869 2952.

Employer accreditation – avoid the log jam and act now

Employers act now: New Zealand Immigration is making changes to the Migrant Work Visa Category

The Government is proposing changes to employer-assisted temporary work visas. These include introducing a new framework for assessing all employer-assisted temporary work visas, and compulsory employer accreditation for those hiring from overseas.

These changes will affect all businesses who wish to employ migrant workers, particularly across the hospitality, construction, and IT industries.

One of the most notable changes to the policy is the legal requirement for all businesses to be accredited before making a migrant hire. The intent is to streamline the visa process, allowing for an employer-led work-visa system, and to decrease migrant exploitation.

While this may ultimately benefit both workers and employers, the process for accreditation isn’t a quick one.

The sudden surge in businesses needing accreditation, coupled with Immigration New Zealand’s current backlog of work (and resulting snail-paced turn-around) is, as RNZ reports, set to “compound existing delays to hiring foreign labour”.

For employers who don’t already understand the system, the accreditation requirement will simply make the process more complicated.

Becoming accredited means that businesses must prove their “trustworthiness” across several areas. There will be several different types of accreditation, but all businesses will have to show evidence of:

  • compliance with labour laws
  • high-practice human resource processes and policies
  • financial stability
  • commitment to increasing worker benefits and pay.
  • Commitment to training and hiring local workers

For roles other than those above a certain wage threshold (above $78,000pa) or on a regional shortage list, labour market testing will also be required. This is to show the company has made an honest attempt to recruit locally.

Employers will also need to prove they have training systems in place to transfer knowledge from migrant workers to local staff, as well as systems to avoid their business becoming reliant on migrant workers.

Then, of course, will be the migrant’s own visa application process.

Now is the time to act. Businesses that want to make a migrant hire in the next 24 months must begin the process now, to avoid the inevitable visa-application log jam.

For more details on these changes, see our article “Employer-Assisted Work Visa Changes Proposed By Government”.

If you would like advice on how your business can become an accredited employer before the changes, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

If you’d like to read about a client who has gone through the employer accreditation process, check out their story here.

 

Employer Assisted Visas: addressing the unwritten trade-off…

Employer Assisted Visas

Last month it was announced that changes are being made to the conditions of the Employer Assisted Work Visa. If Kiwi employers allow for it, these changes won’t only be a win for new migrant graduates, protecting them against exploitation, but for Kiwi employers as well.

Upcoming Immigration law changes in November mean holders of Employer Assisted Work Visas will no longer have to name their employer on their visa. Currently, when an employer is noted on a visa it is a condition of the visa that the holder remain in that employment with that employer for the duration of the visa.

This change will allow a new cohort of graduating international students to secure work rights for a three-year period to work for any employer.

This will give those seeking work experience relevant to their qualification a much greater chance in gaining meaningful employment that not only benefits them but also New Zealand. It will hopefully stop the gross under-utilisation of skill and talent we see where young international students who have completed good tertiary-level qualifications end up in jobs well below their skill level, often being paid very poorly.

Having a work visa that permits employment with any employer evens the playing field. These migrants can now fully participate in a free labour market and move to better positions commensurate with their skill level if new opportunities arise. This will prevent many becoming captive to unscrupulous employers who underpay for the skill level of the role being performed as some form of unwritten trade-off for supporting visa applications.

I hope this change will also encourage more New Zealand employers to consider hiring from this group of ambitious young professionals. Employers will hopefully no longer be frightened off by visa expiry dates and the perceived complexity of becoming involved in immigration matters.

If you’re wondering how this will affect your current Employer Assisted Work Visa, contact NZIL

If you’d like to read an Employer Assisted Work Visa success story, click here.

If you’d like to know other benefits of hiring a migrant, check out our last article.

For other migrant information check out our Migrant Resources.

If you’re thinking about hiring a migrant, read our Employer Checklist

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.

Helping Businesses To Become Accredited

Recently, we assisted the nationwide horticulture business Zealandia to become an accredited employer. With over 200 staff they were facing constant skilled labour shortages, gaining employer accreditation is now saving them both time and money when they need to go offshore to recruit.

“I work for a horticulture business that employs over 200 staff. We’re considered to be a large horticulture business in an industry with a skill shortage. If we weren’t able to hire offshore staff, we’d be in big trouble.

Thanks to the assistance from Aaron, Zealandia is now an Immigration New Zealand Accredited Employer.
Gaining accreditation means we’ve almost completed the immigration process before we recruit. As long as our candidate fits the criteria, Immigration New Zealand has already given us preapproval. This means we don’t risk going through the whole expense of recruiting from overseas with the risk of not being able to have the selected candidate be successful from an immigration perspective.

We’ve been working with Aaron for years now. I really like how upfront and honest he is about whether a case is likely to be successful. I don’t think he likes coming second very much, and I get the feeling he doesn’t submit a case unless he’s pretty sure it will get across the line.

We’ve also experienced cases that were unsuccessful where Aaron went into bat for us because he believed the law had been interpreted wrong. He has had decisions overturned by challenging the decision-maker. As a lay-person, that’s exactly what you need from your immigration lawyer.

We have huge confidence in what Aaron says and we lean on him for advice. He’s a good man. We wouldn’t have achieved the success from an immigration perspective in our business without someone like him in our camp.”

 

Pedro Wylaars
General Manager, Zealandia Horticulture

 

Speak to us if you need help getting your business accredited with Immigration NZ.

Migrant employers need to get the record straight…

Migrant employers need to get the record straight

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…

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

demand for labour

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

Immigration Law changes NZ September update

Immigration Law changes NZ September 2018 update

What are the implications of the new visa changes for immigrants and employers?

The changes to the Skilled Migrant points system and work visa rules announced in April 2017 have now been implemented.

*Editors note: this article was originally Published In September 2017, since then Immigration NZ have amended the visa pay thresholds twice more. Therefore, we have updated the figures in this article to reflect the figures as of the 26th of November 2018.

Continue reading Immigration Law changes NZ September update

New Immigration rules will severely impact New Zealand business

New Immigration rules will severely impact New Zealand business

Analysis of the new immigration law changes has so far focused on the effects on the economy and the flow of migrants. But there are several other ramifications of the recent law changes that have been overlooked.

*Editors note: Since this article was published, Immigration NZ have amended the visa pay thresholds. Therefore, we have updated the figures in this article to reflect the figures as of the 26th of November 2018.

As the changes restrict pathways to residence under the skilled migrant category, New Zealand employers will find it more difficult to fill positions. Some employers may have roles available that would have been previously been defined as skilled jobs but with the new income thresholds that will no longer be the case.

Continue reading New Immigration rules will severely impact New Zealand business

The Employers guide to recruiting offshore staff

The Employers guide to recruiting offshore staff

The Employers guide to recruiting offshore staff

With the New Zealand economy booming, we are seeing an increasing demand from many business sectors to recruit from an offshore skilled labour talent pool. We created this guide to help employers understand what they need to do when considering hiring a skilled migrant.

Continue reading The Employers guide to recruiting offshore staff