Advice On How to Integrate Skilled Migrant Workers into Your Workplace
As an accredited employer hiring migrant workers, it is necessary for you to help them integrate and adjust to their new country. Learn how in this article.
September 13, 2022
As an accredited employer, when hiring migrant workers into your workforce, it is necessary for you to help them integrate and adjust to their new country as well as your workplace. As an accredited employer, you need to help your migrant employees find accommodation, ensure they understand how to access healthcare, and help them obtain an IRD number.
By supporting your new team members with information related to living in New Zealand, the rights they have, and what local services can help them, you are empowering a sense of security. The challenges of adjusting to a new country are large enough. Therefore with this information, they will know who to talk to and where to get help outside their work. You are minimising issues with their settling in and allowing them to concentrate more on their performance at work.
Adjusting to the change in their environment, surrounding people, and culture can be daunting. They may take a bit more time adjusting to how things are done in NZ. Depending on where they come from, they will need to learn about the new Kiwi way of living and practical things like the NZ banking system, new road rules, laws, etc.
As an accredited employer, be prepared to help their family's settlement process. Many migrant workers come to New Zealand with their families or partners.
At Malcolm Pacific Immigration, we understand this process can be time-consuming for your team. We have developed employer and employee education modules to help you and your migrant workers gain the right information and support to simplify this process. Get in touch with our licensed immigration advisers.
In the meantime, here’s our advice on effectively integrating your new migrant workers into your place.
Tips for Integrating Your New Migrant Workers
Be Culturally Supportive in the Workplace
To ensure migrant workers feel included in your work community, it's great to celebrate that difference. As an employer, if you show that you embrace different cultures and lead by example, your workforce will follow by embracing people from around the globe.
Employees should show a positive and helpful attitude towards each other and learn to enjoy new experiences of new cultures entering the workplace. You could start with recognising or celebrating your team's cultural or religious days. By creating a company culture of inclusion with zero tolerance for racism or bullying, your migrant workers will feel safe and be seen as part of a team, not outsiders.
Also, businesses that take care to train their existing workers to support new staff members create much better teams. Create a system to integrate new workers and foster a culturally aware workplace for better employee engagement and loyalty.
Support Their Families
Your business is not just an organisation to make money or provide services, it is a living organism where people spend a great portion of time away from their families. By creating a feeling of inclusion for their families and partners, you will also find that it makes it easier for the migrant to keep all sides happy. This supports their loyalty to your company, a happier working environment, and more security for the people you are employing.
This could be a BBQ where you are inviting families to attend or encouraging staff to include the new member's families in work events that they are holding.
Talent and Qualification Identification
Another issue faced by migrants with their new job in New Zealand is their qualifications and skills could be far higher than the role you are employing them for. This could happen when an overseas qualification is not recognised by the New Zealand system, and the migrant would have to spend time re-qualifying to practice. The draw of moving to New Zealand could be so strong or necessary that they were willing to give up on the profession of their dreams to settle into this new position.
This can be a positive opportunity for both sides if the employer can utilise the migrant's skills to fit within their business and create an extra stimulus for your worker.
Support for the Mental Health of New Migrants
Most people, when they change their environment, need time to adapt. During this time, human beings can be very susceptible to mental health issues due to stress and anxiety.
Immigrants have to face changes such as a language barrier, a new culture, a new home, different workplace culture and sometimes loss of family support as well. A migrant has to adapt to all these changes at once with the additional pressure of a new job and workplace. They may need more care and support during this period in order to bounce back quicker.
Strong support from friends and family and a friendly environment can help in this adaptation more efficiently. However, when they have left both behind, helping your team know where to look to help create new bonds is a great way to support them.
You can help your new immigrant employers by:
Creating and maintaining a healthy and friendly environment in the workplace.
Giving them advice on cultural groups in their area
Mental health awareness programs.
In-house health checkups.
Is Employer Accreditation Required in New Zealand?
It is mandatory to be an accredited employer to hire migrant workers on work visas. It ensures the employer has done everything in their power to employ within the country, and for the migrant worker, the process safeguards their transition into this country.
To secure employer accreditation, you have to show Immigration NZ that you are a good employer in terms of the welfare of workers as well as meeting standards of remuneration. If you need more information on how to qualify to become an accredited employer, get in touch with Malcolm Pacific Immigration’s licensed immigration advisers.
Get in touch with our NZ Immigration Advisers today for more information and support.
The Bottom Line
Employers who take responsibility for the safe and successful integration of their migrant workers seriously are likely to see their teams flourish.
The transition period between countries can be a stressful one for both your employees and their families, but when done well, you are gaining a loyal employee who is determined to make the best out of this move for themselves as well as your business. Everyone wins!
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Our highly experienced licensed Immigration team will take away the stress and worry of navigating the complicated world of New Zealand Immigration. All you need to do is get in touch. Our team is on standby, ready to help.
Our highly experienced licensed Immigration team will take away the stress and worry of navigating the complicated world of New Zealand Immigration. All you need to do is get in touch. Our employer team is on standby, ready to help.
Today the government announced a pathway to residence for migrant workers who are living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave who are eligible to apply. The second wave can apply from 1 March 2022. The deadline to lodge an application is 31 July 2022 or else they will miss out on this one off opportunity.
July 8, 2022
Skilled Migrants Opportunity
Today the government announced a pathway to residence for people living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave eligible to apply. The second wave can apply from 1 March 2022. The deadline to lodge an application is 31 July 2022 or else you miss the boat.
July 8, 2022
New Employer Accreditation Process
The government has moved the introduction of the new employer accreditation process across to mid-2022. At the same time, the Minister of Immigration announced new work visa rules for migrant workers who are already in New Zealand and working full time.
July 8, 2022
Skilled Migrant Changes
The government has increased the median wage to $27 per hour from 19 July. Any Skilled Migrant residence application lodged after this date will need to include a skilled job offer that pays at least $27 per hour. For some lower-skilled occupations, the minimum pay rate increases to $40.50 per hour.
Employers of migrant workers must become accredited from 1 November 2021 before work visa applications can be processed. Most employers are not accredited. Those that are accredited will have to roll into the new system when it goes live in late September.
July 8, 2022
Work Visa Rules
From mid-2020 (delayed)
Government to negotiate and introduce Industry Sector agreements setting minimum conditions for industries that heavily rely on overseas workers. Sectors include; residential care, meat processing, dairy, forestry, road freight transport, tourism, and hospitality. Construction, horticulture, and viticulture may also be included.
Skilled occupation "Dairy Cattle Farmer" spilt into three occupations. New occupations are: "Dairy Farm Manager", "Assistant Dairy Farm Manager" and "Dairy Herd Manager". Each sit at different skill levels, therefore, the award of points will depend on pay rates, job tasks and other requirements.
Dairy Cattle Farmer job offers are now assessed by three new occupation descriptions: Dairy Farm Manager, Assistant Dairy Farm Manager and Dairy Herd Manager. Pay rates and job tasks will determine how long a work visa is valid. Take advice.
The government has deferred the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest from the Skilled Migrant pool for six months (to be reviewed in April 2021). Invitations to Apply for Residence remain suspended. The last selection from the Skilled Migrant pool took place on 18/03/2020.
Introduction of "Oversupply" and "Undersupply" occupation lists used to assess Essential Skills Work Visa applications when a job offer pays less than the median wage.
Employers offering jobs to migrant workers where an occupation is on the "Oversupply" list will not get Skill Match reports issued by Work & Income. Solid evidence of genuine attempts to find a local to fill the job will be critical for approval.
Anyone invited by Immigration NZ to apply for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category where their invitation is dated between 1 November 2019 and 15 April 2020 (inclusive) has now been granted an additional six months to lodge their residence application.
Regional Skill Shortage List goes live. 15 regions around New Zealand list occupations reflecting local skill shortages in each region. The labour market test is not mandatory provided the job offer matches the occupation and region plus the visa applicant has qualifications and/or work experience set out on the list.
The government has deferred the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest from the Skilled Migrant pool. This means Invitations to Apply for Residence are also suspended. Malcolm Pacific Immigration does not anticipate selections to resume until after the general election held on 17 October 2020.
Immigration NZ is now prioritising Skilled Migrant Residence applications where the main (principal) applicant meets the criteria:
Has employment paying double the median wage which is currently NZD $51 per hour OR NZD $106,800 per annum; OR Has New Zealand occupational registration and is required to hold valid registration to lawfully carry out their job.
The government recently added more occupations that are now to be regarded as skilled employment and may qualify for job offer points under the Skilled Migrant Category. In order to qualify for points, the job must be paying at least the current median wage (or higher for certain occupations) at the time the residence application is lodged.
From 1 November 2021 anyone who is not a NZ citizen must be fully vaccinated (unless exempt) before travelling to New Zealand. Fully vaccinated means your last dose of vaccine was given at least 14 days before travelling and it was an approved vaccine.
July 8, 2022
Applications for employer accreditation closed at the end of June 2021. Applications lodged before the closure date are still being processed. New applications for accreditation open on 9 May 2022. The process will be quite different to what employers have experienced in the past. Businesses will need to meet minimum standards.
July 26, 2022
2021 Resident Visa
Wednesday, 1 December is fast approaching and it is estimated that around 16,000 individuals and families can apply in the first wave for the 2021 Resident Visa opening next month. It is exciting for the thousands of people who have been waiting patiently to become residents that finally the finish line is in sight.
The first wave of applicants can apply from 1 December 2021. Around 16,000 applications are expected in this first wave. The second wave opens on 1 March 2022. In total, the government expects approximately 110,000 applications that will include about 165,000 people.
The second group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa that opens on 1 March 2022 are those who hold an eligible work visa and either meet "Settled", "Skilled" or "Scarce" as set out above. In total Immigration NZ estimate around 110,000 people will qualify to apply for this visa.
The first group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa that opens on 1 December 2021 are those that on 29/09/2021:
Had lodged a residence application under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) or Residence from Work category; OR Had lodged an SMC Expression of Interest (EOI) in the SMC pool that included at least one dependent child aged 17 or above.
People who were lawfully in NZ (or in Australia when the travel bubble closed between April and July 2021) on 29/09/2021 need to meet the visa eligibility criteria:
Workers in NZ who held an eligible work visa on or before 29/9/2021 and on the day they apply for residence; OR Applied for an eligible work visa on or before 29/9/2021 and the work visa application is subsequently approved and still hold an eligible work visa on the day they apply for residence.
The government has introduced a limited pathway to residence for people who are already living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave of people eligible to apply. The second wave opens on 1 March 2022. The deadline to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa is 31 July 2022.
A small number of critical health workers (taking up jobs for six months or longer) or specialist workers (taking up jobs that are for longer than six months) who were granted border exemptions may also have eligibility for the 2021 Resident Visa. They will need to have arrived in NZ and lodge a 2021 Resident Visa application.
July 4. Applications open for the new Accredited Employer Work Visa.
July 31. Applications for the 2021 Resident Visa close.
August. Skilled Migrant Residence category scheduled to reopen.
August. A new pathway to residence for people earning 200% or more of the median wage.
*Excludes high-risk countries.
July 8, 2022
Policy Decision Key Dates in 2022
February 13. Fully vaccinated Kiwis plus certain other travellers entering NZ from the rest of the world* can skip MIQ.
April 30. The border starts a phased reopen to fully vaccinated foreign nationals.
April 30. The Productivity Commission reports back to the government on immigration settings.
May 9. Applications open for mandatory Employer Accreditation.
*Excludes high-risk countries.
July 8, 2022
Work Visa Categories Closing
The work visa categories set to close are:
Essential Skills Work Visa
Essential Skills Work Visa – approval in principle
Work to Residence (Talent – Accredited Employer)
Work to Residence (Long Term Skills Shortage)
Silver Fern Job Search Work Visa (closed October 2019)
Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa.
July 8, 2022
The Green List
From September 2022 people holding job offers in a small number of occupations may apply for residence. Some occupations are a direct pathway to residence and others require a period of two years or longer before applying.
There are qualification and/or occupational registration requirements to meet. Establishing if an overseas qualification matches the NZ equivalent qualification before applying is paramount for success.