Embracing Cultural Diversity: A Key to Success in the New Zealand Workplace.
Learn more about how to embrace cultural diversity in the workplace and how to utilise this valuable asset for your business success in today's globalised world
July 23, 2023
New Zealand, a land of breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage, has witnessed a significant rise in ethnic diversity over the years. With over 160 different ethnic groups with over 100 individuals captured in the 2018 census, the nation's work environments must adapt to this evolving landscape. The five largest ethnic groups in New Zealand - New Zealand European, Maori, Chinese, Samoan, and Indian - have contributed to the multicultural fabric of the country.
Embracing cultural diversity is not only a legal requirement but also a valuable asset for businesses striving for success in today's globalised world. In this article, we will explore the value of cultural diversity in the New Zealand workplace and understand why it is essential for businesses to foster an inclusive environment.
Understanding the Cultural Diversity of Your Community
As the ethnic diversity of New Zealand continues to grow, particularly in cities like Auckland, it is crucial for workplaces to acknowledge and celebrate this diversity. Almost 40% of Aucklanders were born overseas, reflecting the multicultural essence of the city. To create a thriving work environment, businesses must recognise and respect the cultural backgrounds, traditions, and values of their employees.
Share the Vision - Explaining the Importance of Cultural Diversity for Your Business
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. However if you neglect to promote why cultural diversity is a positive thing within your current workforce you may not be doing enough to create a positive working environment.
Employers should communicate the valuable reasons behind embracing cultural diversity within the company. It could be driven by the desire to connect with a diverse client base, gain fresh perspectives from culturally diverse teams, expand into global markets with cultural sensitivity, or access a broader talent pool. Sharing the company's rationale will help unite employees towards the common goal of inclusivity.
Build Your Team's Cultural Knowledge
A team that is unaware of its different cultures’ customs and beliefs can be a significant barrier to positive cultural diversity in the workplace. Businesses that invest in educating their workforce about New Zealand's ethnic makeup and the cultural norms can create a more unified, inclusive team.
Initiatives such as workshops, seminars, and training sessions on cultural awareness can promote sensitivity and mutual respect among colleagues.
Building a strong inclusive company culture through social interactions & events can also help employees to adopt a positive and helpful attitude towards each other, embracing the new experiences that come with having diverse cultures in the workplace. Recognising and celebrating cultural or religious days within your team can be a great starting point.
Make it Clear: Cultural Discrimination is Unacceptable
While laws in New Zealand prohibit discrimination, it is the responsibility of organisations to create a work culture that is truly inclusive. Company policies, values, and day-to-day actions will define whether the work environment fosters a positive experience for all cultures. Leaders should emphasise that any form of discrimination, no matter how subtle, is unacceptable. From seemingly harmless jokes to exclusion from informal gatherings, every employee must understand that their actions impact the workplace environment.
Understanding Cultural Norms as a Starting Point
Cultural norms act as a guide to socially acceptable behaviour within a particular community. Recognising and respecting these norms is fundamental to creating a respectful and inclusive workplace.
Understanding what colleagues eat, wear, and how they interact is a good starting point for employees to show respect for diverse cultures. By appreciating and embracing these cultural differences, businesses can build a harmonious work environment that values everyone's unique contributions.
Tips For Fostering Cultural Supportive Workplace.
To ensure skilled migrant workers feel welcome and valued in your work community, it is essential to celebrate their differences. As an employer, leading by example and embracing diverse cultures will encourage your workforce to do the same, promoting a sense of acceptance and inclusion. Here are some tips and ideas to help increase your chances of success.
Include & Support their Families
Recognise that your business is not just an organisation to make profits or deliver services; it is a living organism where people spend a significant portion of their time away from their families. Demonstrating inclusion and support for the families and partners of migrant workers can have a positive impact on their overall well-being and job satisfaction.
By organising events such as family-friendly BBQs or gatherings and inviting families to attend, you create a sense of belonging and comfort for your migrant workers. This, in turn, fosters loyalty to your company, contributes to a happier working environment, and provides greater job security for your valued employees.
Offer Language Support and Communication
Language barriers can sometimes be a challenge for new migrant workers, affecting their ability to fully integrate into the workplace. Providing language support, such as language courses or translation assistance, can greatly facilitate communication and understanding among employees.
Encourage a welcoming and patient attitude from your existing staff when interacting with colleagues who are still improving their language skills. This will create an environment where everyone feels respected and valued, fostering stronger bonds among team members.
Establish Mentorship Programs
Pairing new migrant workers with experienced employees as mentors can significantly ease their transition into the workplace. Mentors can provide guidance, support, and help navigate the company's culture and processes. This kind of support can make a huge difference in helping new employees feel at ease and motivated in their roles.
Providing Settlement Support & Services For Your Migrants
Immigration NZ requires accredited employers hiring migrant workers to provide information that covers essential aspects of living and working in New Zealand, including how to find somewhere to live, get an IRD number, use public transport, and access healthcare services.
At Malcolm Pacific Immigration we provide you with an accredited employer app that provides you with all the information you need to cover to support your migrant workers. Our ten core courses within the app help your meet the Immigration NZ requirements, they include:
How to Get an IRD Number
Industry Education and Training
Workplace Health and Safety
Costs of Living
How to Apply for a New Zealand Driver License
Community Group Services
Citizens Advice Bureau Services
Each course includes questions to confirm that the employee can comprehend the information provided and can be used as evidence to ensure you meet the requirements.
The Bottom Line
Cultural diversity in the New Zealand workplace is not just about meeting legal requirements but about fostering a culture of inclusion, respect, and innovation. Embracing diversity enriches organisations with a wealth of perspectives, ideas, and talents that contribute to their success in an increasingly globalised world.
By understanding the cultural diversity of their community, sharing the vision behind inclusivity, promoting cultural knowledge, and rejecting any form of discrimination, businesses can create a vibrant and dynamic workplace where every employee feels valued and empowered.
And from the migrant’s point of view 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!
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.
January 9, 2023
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.
January 9, 2023
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.
January 9, 2023
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.
January 9, 2023
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.
January 9, 2023
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.
January 9, 2023
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.
January 9, 2023
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.
January 9, 2023
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.
January 9, 2023
The Green List
In order to address labour shortages in New Zealand's crucial industries the NZ government has implemented a "Green List" of sought-after high-skill occupations. This list offers a prioritised pathway to residency.
There are qualification and/or occupational registration requirements to meet. Occupations are broken down into two tiers:
Tier 1 - direct pathway to residence
Tier 2 - requires a period of two years or longer before applying
The recent additions in May 2023 across many sectors can be found here