This is a very challenging time for business with some facing uncertainty whether they can reopen; confronted by having to shed staff numbers; managing reduced or zero working hours and watching revenues plummet.
On the other hand, the economic tradeoff is the sacrifice we are all making to all save lives of thousands of kiwis. You simply cannot put a dollar value on that. This is a time to hold on tight to each other to get through with compassion and kindness.
The latest news on the immigration front.
There are no changes as to who can cross New Zealand’s border since when we last wrote on the tight border closure restrictions. See our previous newsletter.
The government has now introduced 14 days mandatory quarantine for anyone arriving in New Zealand. This is expected to last for some time. It will be interesting to see as business gears up post lock down if employers recruiting talent from offshore can secure exemptions from the border closure if they are prepared to fund the cost of an employee’s quarantine or isolation.
We have a number of employers desperate to get staff into New Zealand and if you are encountering problems get in touch with our team.
Immigration NZ (INZ) processing offices in New Zealand and overseas remain closed. This means most visa applications are not being processed until INZ staff can return to work. Visas for essential workers (such as health workers) and border closure exemptions are the only applications being processed by INZ right now.
However, many temporary visa applications are lodged online. Malcolm Pacific Immigration are still lodging plenty of applications for our clients right now.
Several visa applications are only paper based and need to be lodged manually. These include Skilled Migrant, Residence from Work, Permanent Resident Visa, Variation of travel or work conditions etc. Malcolm Pacific Immigration are also lodging these applications.
Processing of visa applications will not resume until INZ reopen. However, by acting now our clients are getting as close to the front of the queue as possible. No doubt there will be very long delays as INZ play catch up on the vast numbers of applications received during lockdown.
Employers who have recruited overseas workers will be very familiar with the need to prove there are no suitable qualified/experienced kiwis available to fill a job before that job can be offered to a migrant worker. That has been government policy for decades and there is no sign this is about to change (and frankly nor should it).
With economists and Treasury predicting a sharp rise in the number of unemployed we anticipate the labour market test will ramp up. INZ will put employers advertising efforts, job descriptions, prior engagement with WINZ and pay rates under the microscope.
Employers act rationally when it comes to recruitment by wanting to appoint the best suited to any vacancy. However, the labour market test ignores this logic and is only interested in whether there are kiwis out of work who could do the job. If there are then a work visa is highly unlikely to be approved.
Take professional advice to get advertising, job descriptions, recruitment efforts and the visa application right from the beginning. Trying to sort something after a visa application is lodged is much harder and more costly. Whatever happened yesterday when you recruited migrant workers will not be the same tomorrow under the new normal.
The government has given limited flexibility to workers at major supermarket chains. Work visa holders already employed in supermarkets can work in additional roles beyond those set out on their work visa and international students can work more than 20 hours. This dispensation is set to end on 25 April 2020.
The Healthcare sector has limited flexibility to keep lower skilled healthcare workers beyond the three year maximum period a work visa holder can remain in New Zealand. International students can work more than 20 hours a week until 3 July 2020.
Normal employment law applies to all these situations.
Our teams are working remotely, and phones are answered 24/7. Call us anytime on 0800 800 612 to get in touch.
We are happy to provide advice and assistance however we can to help get you and your team through this challenging period.
Kia kaha (stay strong) and stay safe.
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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Our team keep ahead of all the latest immigration developments and post updates regularly. Stay up to date by signing up to our newsletter and get these updates directly to your inbox.
Our team keep ahead of all the latest employment and immigration law developments and post updates regularly. Stay up to date by signing up to our newsletter and get these updates directly to your inbox.
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