Recruiting from overseas?


Many businesses are very frustrated when they are knocked back for a border exemption when overseas talent is desperately needed, or future growth depends on having the right people on the ground.

The border remains closed to just about everyone apart from a select group the government is prepared to approve travel for. New Zealand citizens or residents along with their families have a reasonably clear pathway.

For overseas workers critical to your business the pathway is not so clear. They need to lodge an Expression of Interest to be considered and then be invited to apply for a critical purpose visa. Only those who have unique skills not readily obtainable in New Zealand” or “undertaking a time critical role” will be invited.

What does not readily obtainable” mean? When an overseas worker has unique experience and technical or specialist skills gained in a specialist training institution or working in a highly specialized firm, demonstrated by global experience and inherent to the person applying. Consideration is given as to whether there are no workers onshore who could perform the role or if there is limited pool of workers in New Zealand who could perform the role and are not available to the employer.

What does “undertaking a time critical role” mean? The work needs to bring significant benefit to the national or regional economy (not just the employer) and if the person does not come to New Zealand the project, work or event will not proceed or stop altogether or be severely compromised or significant costs incurred.

Most border exemption requests are declined. The most common reason is the lack of evidence to support claims of unique skills or time critical. There is no discretion around border exemptions; it will either meet the rules or get declined. Careful planning and management are required to maximize approval.


Take advice.

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