Tag Archives: skilled migrant visa

Help with difficult cases

New Zealand immigration lawyer client testimony for residence visa

Aaron described the steps we would take, how the case would go, and what could happen. He used “we” instead of “I”, emphasising to me how genuine and helpful he was. He was with me by my side.

 I came to New Zealand in 2010 to study a Bachelor of IT. I chose New Zealand because the education system is similar to my home country. I also wanted to come here for the environment and lifestyle, and because my father’s friends spoke highly of it. Friends who have gone to other countries experienced a lot of discrimination, but here I have not experienced racism at all. It’s very safe to practise Islam in New Zealand.

Unfortunately, in 2016, a very serious case was put against me. I was falsely accused of taking advantage of personal data. I worked with a lawyer who successfully cleared the case, but I was left with a criminal conviction. My New Zealand visa was due for renewal in 2017 – if I applied for residency, the conviction could mean I wouldn’t get it. Worse, I could be deported.

I was frightened, and I couldn’t find anyone to help me or give me direction. I went to two different lawyers but no one could give me any hope. All they said was: “This isn’t going to go well for you.”

Then I came across New Zealand Immigration Law on Google. I emailed Aaron and he invited me to meet with him.

Aaron reviewed my situation and told me there was a high possibility he could resolve the issue, but it was going to be a long case. Right from the start he mapped everything out for me. He described the steps we would take, how the case would go, and what could happen. He used “we” instead of “I”, emphasising to me how genuine and helpful he was. He was with me by my side. I opened my file with him on the same day because I genuinely trusted him.

After more than a year of battle, I finally heard great news from New Zealand Immigration: I was allowed to stay in New Zealand legally and not get deported. This was all possible because of Aaron’s helpful hand, expertise, and vast knowledge on New Zealand immigration matters. Everything he said at the start happened just the way he said it would.

Aaron was so professional, and he helped me with a lot of things. If I hadn’t found him, I would have given up. I would have stayed without a plan for a visa and probably just had to leave.

I can’t thank Aaron enough for helping me out and getting a positive outcome from Immigration New Zealand. I am really grateful to him and Junior, who kept communicating updates with me.

ASIF AMAN

Residency Visa

If you need help with a difficult situation, contact our team now.

Employer-assisted work visa changes proposed by Government

At the end of last year, the Government released a consultation paper for changes to the employer-assisted work visa. This is the class of work visa issued when the applicant has an offer of employment and the employer proves they cannot find a local to do the job. 

These changes will make it more complicated for an employer to recruit a skilled migrant if they don’t understand the new requirements. Employers in Hospitality, construction and IT services need to prepare themselves now, if they plan to recruit from the skilled migrant pool in the next 24 months.

Changes aim to create an employer-led simplified work visa system. Currently there are six work visa categories: essential skills, approval in principle, talent (accredited employer), work to residence – long term skill shortage list, and Silver Fern visas. The new framework will replace this multitude of application types, rules, and processes with a single pathway.

Conceptually the proposal amalgamates and transforms elements of the original six categories such as visa approval in principle, accredited employer processes, and labour market testing requirements.

Under the new proposals, no labour market testing would be needed for jobs that meet a higher pay threshold. This is similar to the current system of work-to-residence visas issued on the basis of an applicant having a job with accredited employers.

Labour market tests also would not be required for higher-skilled roles that are on regional skill shortage lists. As part of the proposals, new regional lists will be released in mid 2019. These are intended to be better tailored to the needs of the regions than is currently the case.

The new framework has three key parts:
1. The employer check

Employers who want to recruit staff from overseas will have to gain accreditation with Immigration New Zealand (INZ).

The accreditation process pre-clears an employer in terms of satisfying INZ that the employer:

  • is compliant with labour laws
  • has high-practice HR processes and policies and is financially stable to offer employment
  • has a commitment to increasing worker benefits/pay.

Employers will need to present evidence of financial performance, have a commitment to training and up-skilling, and show they put upward pressure on wages and conditions.

The type of accreditation will depend on the needs of the employer. The “standard” accreditation will last for 12 months and is intended for employers who wish to hire expatriate workers without offering a pathway to residence. The “premium” accreditation is for those who wish to offer a pathway to residence through employment with the company.

Obtaining accreditation (of whatever type) will be mandatory for all employers. Those who employ six or more expatriate workers within a 12-month period will be made to seek “premium” accreditation. For employers who employ five or fewer expat workers in a 12-month period, “premium” accreditation will be voluntarily.

2. The job check

This is the labour market test stage of the work visa process. Labour market tests will not be required for jobs above a certain wage threshold or on a regional skill shortage list.

All other roles will undergo labour market testing, where the employer will have to satisfy INZ they have made genuine attempts to recruit locally. But the proposal to increase the wage for the work-to-residence pathway for “premium” accredited employers to $78,000 or $37.50 per hour does seem high.

Given the restrictive nature of the requirements currently in force for the skilled migrant residence visa, the Government will need to ensure it does not create a “hole” whereby valuable workers cannot transition over to residence from work because of pay rate alone.

Employers will need to demonstrate they have training systems to achieve knowledge transfer from migrant workers to local staff and also show there are systems in place to avoid their business becoming dependent on migrant workers.

The expectations of bureaucracies can often be at odds with the reality of private-sector business in this area.

3. The migrant check

This is the actual visa application.

There is a suggestion that capability checks (the assessment of whether the visa applicant is suitably qualified to perform the job) should be undertaken by the employer. My intuitive response is that this is unlikely to happen, given concern within INZ about the potential for abuse.

INZ needs to understand that except for situations where there is abuse and collusion to commit a fraud in the border control area, businesses only hire people they believe can do the work and after they have conducted appropriate checks to ensure that is the case.

Of course, these checks may still result in mistakes being made and an employer hiring someone who has oversold their ability. But the 90-day trial under current employment law and the facilitation of visitor visas to those who are dismissed within that 90 days protects the integrity of the system in these cases.

A warning to employers to become accredited before it is too late.

If accreditation is mandatory, there will be a significant influx of applications into INZ. Businesses will want their applications processed quickly so they can recruit the talent they need in their organisation.

But INZ has had a large budgetary shortfall and is unable to process its current applications quickly due to high volumes. It does not have the resources to deal with more work.

This change represents a resource issue that will need to be addressed to make the process workable for employers, especially if the Government wants this process to be “employer-led”.

I advise any employer who knows that they will be recruiting skilled migrants to apply to become accredited now under the existing system and avoid the backlog at INZ that will come once the new visa criteria and processes are in place.

If you’d like to read more of Aaron’s thoughts on the Employer Assisted Work Visa, check out our previous blog: Employer assisted visas: addressing the unwritten trade-off…

If you’d like to discuss any of your immigration or visa concerns, get in touch with us here.

Major bureaucratic flaws in New Zealand’s immigration system

New Zealand's immigration system

Leading Auckland immigration lawyer Aaron Martin knows from extensive experience with clients exactly where the frustrations and incompetencies of the current process lie. He has some suggestions for the new Government about where its focus should be when it comes to immigration.

The Labour Party election campaign focused on positive messages. So I eagerly looked forward to an equally positive message from the new Minister of Immigration. But in an article on the Newsroom website on 1 December the Minister started on a negative: the immigration system was broken and required more money to catch those who try to shaft it.

Continue reading Major bureaucratic flaws in New Zealand’s immigration system