With the governments focusing on streamlining our immigration process, we have seen several fundamental changes to align with their vision of our future workforce.
The Government is rebalancing New Zealand's immigration system to increase New Zealand's business productivity and increase the amount of highly skilled workers to support our economy's growth.
NZ immigration policy changes focus on reducing critical skill shortages and boosting the economy, which is approached through various work, investment and residency visa changes.
With the new framework in mind and New Zealand's 50th place in the global economy, how do New Zealand employers attract and retain employees from our little corner of the world?
New Zealand's labour shortage isn't a new issue. However, it has worsened for employers and businesses in the tourism and hospitality industry due to the impact of Covid-19.
Our remote island nation has struggled with labour shortages for some time. However, there are two distinct reasons for continuing issues that impact New Zealand's business growth – New Zealand citizens are finding higher-paid jobs overseas and the effects of border closure over the last two years.
As a country already synonymous with the impact of our pre-COVID brain drain, employers are already aware that employing and retaining Kiwis can be tricky.
New Zealand citizens are enjoying a high rate of employment. However, this has not lessened our labour gaps in many sectors. For example, data from Statistics NZ state that job ads are 33% higher than before March 2020, when the borders closed.
Highly-skilled New Zealanders are making the move overseas to gain a higher wage. Australia and UK are filling their labour gaps and attracting workers with higher wages compared to NZ employers. They then gain the experience and expertise of emigrant New Zealand workers.
For the year ending June, the net permanent and long-term migration outflows were 11,500 people (10,710 aged between 15-64). This is compared with net inflows of 91,700 (70,680 aged between 15-64) in March 2020. This is significantly lower than in pre-COVID years. However, a recent MYOB survey of workers considering moving overseas suggested that 50% were considering leaving due to higher salaries. Money is a significant factor in why there is a continuous rise in people leaving.
Labour shortages, specifically due to the closure of our borders for two years, have reduced the pool of immigrants who have been supporting our businesses, which in turn significantly reduced our workforce.
Generally, there has been a labour shortage in New Zealand for quite some time. However, due to travel restrictions implemented during the first stages of the pandemic and the resulting closure of New Zealand's borders in March 2020, this problem has compounded for New Zealand employers.
New Zealand's workforce before 2020 had been topped up with migrant workers entering on visas such as the skilled migrant visa NZ. However, coupled with the after-effects of the closure, we are still seeing major employment gaps across the board. New immigration policies have caused further delays for New Zealand employers, which are not expected to improve until 2023. Permanent and long-term arrivals were expected to reach 100,000 by late next year compared with just less than 50,000 in the year ending June.
New Zealand's economy desperately needs more people from overseas to fill vacancies. Immigration NZ introduced a Green List to prioritise some specific skilled labour roles. However, this is not a quick road to recovery for our Kiwi companies.
For New Zealand companies to compete with the global and national players to attract employees, they need to maintain a competitive edge.
New Zealand businesses struggling to fill critical, highly skilled roles must look at the international job market and understand what would drive an individual to accept a role.
If employers want to remain attractive to job seekers, they need to focus on offering the "full package" and not just the money. For a company to make an impact when it comes to recruiting, it's how they market their company, not just their roles.
As most of the world has now returned to a relatively normal way of life, workers are demanding more trust from their employers and flexibility with where they work. Working from home for some has been proven to lift productivity.
A mixture of work from home and office is now very attractive to the Post-COVID worker. The benefits of a flexible schedule and hybrid working scheme allow the worker to socialise with co-workers and find a better level of productivity and comfort whilst working from home.
This allows them to work around their families, which leads to a better work-life balance.
With New Zealand's landscape and outdoor recreational lifestyle, an employer can embrace the ethos of a better work-life balance to attract candidates. Company-wide rules also help to promote the ability to have a better work-life balance.
Positive 'employee-first' policies such as 'no work-related emails after 5 pm', annual leave for birthdays or mental health days can support good company culture and attract new candidates.
A company that places importance on its employees' health and well-being is an excellent way to attract top talent. This may be represented in the health and wellness programmes that are available to the staff, the cultural days the employers hold for its employees, and even down to supplying fruit for the staff canteen.
Focusing on employee care and pride in the company can attract and retain loyal staff for many years. By listening to your staff and addressing any negative influences, your staff are more likely to recommend and promote you as a company.
Scaling for New Zealand businesses will now more than ever mean attracting highly skilled workers within their industry who have experience in big markets.
Here are tips on attracting and hiring the right people for your job.
Ensure you write an exciting and emotive advert to promote the benefits of your company and why yours stands out over the competitors. Include the benefits the candidate will receive so that they understand more about what life could be like for them if they are successful with their application.
Write a clear and specific job description that overseas candidates can understand. Of course, you want to write for your target audience, which will be those with experience in your industry, so be sure to include key details like the nature of the role, leave entitlements, salary range and a clear job title. Vague job advertisements may not grab the attention of the right candidate.
Read more about how to promote jobs overseas.
Looking at the international and domestic competition can give you an understanding of what may have been successful for them in attracting candidates. For example, do they have 4-day working weeks or healthcare? Do they have a commission or bonus structure in place?
With employees spending half their waking hours in your employment, rewarding them with extra perks of working with you can help shift the needle when it comes to a person saying yes to you. In the end, if you reward them with few working hours, they may be more inclined to say yes to you rather than a competitor offering more money.
A clear path of progression is important to many employees ready to dedicate themselves to a role. Understanding that pathway from the beginning and illustrating how your company can empower that progression is a valuable commodity when hiring a worker.
If you are looking to hire a migrant worker, consider how they may feel taking this big step to move to this little island in the Pacific. Promoting how your company will help them make this move from the get-go can help smooth the decision-making process.
Some employers help financially with relocation, whilst under the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) regulations, employers are asked to help provide assistance for finding accommodation and support the migrant's transition with knowledge of what it's like to live and work in New Zealand.
Whether you're thinking of hiring a new employee who is planning to move to New Zealand or if you're hiring someone already on a work visa nz,
Malcolm Pacific Immigration can help you understand the visa process and take the stress away to let you focus on your business. We have an employer services team on standby and ready to help.
Get in touch with us today!
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
From 19 July 2021
From 30 June 2021
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.
From mid-2020 (delayed)
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.
From 15 February 2021
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.
From 7 October 2020
The government added four new occupations that are now regarded as skilled employment and may qualify for job offer points under the Skilled Migrant Category. These are:
Aged or disabled carer, Bicycle mechanic, Driller and Nursing Support worker.
From 27 July 2020
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.
From 27 May 2020
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:
From 24 February 2020
From 7 October 2019
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
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.
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.
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:
Is this the only requirement to qualify for residence? No. In addition to the eligible work visa criteria workers also need to be regarded as one of the following:
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:
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.
*Excludes high-risk countries.
*Excludes high-risk countries.
The work visa categories set to close are:
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:
The recent additions in May 2023 across many sectors on the Green List NZ can be found here