Planning to hire migrant workers in 2021? Think about becoming an accredited employer now. In April 2019, the New Zealand government proposed a legal requirement that any business wishing to hire a migrant be accredited first.
Businesses seeking accreditation must demonstrate their “trustworthiness” across several areas, including labour law compliance, human resources, and worker training, benefits, and pay. Labour hire companies, who supply builders, will be subject to further verification. While not compulsory until mid-2021, accreditation is intended to streamline the visa process, better aligning the immigration, education, and welfare systems to decrease the likelihood of migrant exploitation. But does the change actually make the immigration system easier for employers and migrant workers to navigate, as the government is claiming? Not necessarily. New Work Visa Application Process Unveiled.
Immigration New Zealand has just shared details about the new application process for temporary work visa holders, confirming what we’ve known for the past two years: that migrant workers’ worst fears are being realised and that no special consideration for COVID is being given, so brace yourselves.
The changes, which come into effect from mid-2021, are intended to streamline the work visa system, ensure that New Zealanders are not being displaced from employment, and minimise the potential for migrant worker exploitation, but how these policies will play out in practice remains to be seen. As usual, INZ seems to be making changes to benefit itself bureaucratically at the expense of everyone else. What are the changes? Visa changes allow onshore migrants to fill labour shortages. On 20 December, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi announced adjustments to visa settings that will allow migrant workers currently in New Zealand to stay and work here longer.
Working Holiday visas are also being extended, and Immigration New Zealand will contact all eligible visa holders. Currently, there are about 192,000 migrant workers in New Zealand, a similar number to a year ago. But this number would drop as their visas expire, and COVID-19 border restrictions limit the number of new workers who can come here, hence the changes. “Our economy is bouncing back better than expected and we are seeing labour shortages across many industries,” says Faafoi.
How to Respond to a PPI Letter. Have you recently received a PPI letter from Immigration New Zealand?
Are you unclear on how to respond? Before you do anything that could jeopardise your case, read this first. Our easy-to-understand guide explains the particulars around PPI letters, what to expect, and what’s involved in mounting a successful defence. Anyone applying for a visa, be it temporary or residence class, must provide evidence that they meet ALL the criteria for that category. Character Waiver Guide. The NZIL Character Waiver Guide To obtain a New Zealand visa, whether temporary or residence, all applicants must be of good character, not pose a security risk, and not threaten New Zealand’s international reputation.
Immigration New Zealand will not grant visas to people with serious character issues except under very special circumstances, at the discretion of the Immigration Minister. People flagged for other character issues must have their good character requirement waived before they can be granted residence. Good character criteria vary slightly by category, with the threshold for resident visas being higher than those for temporary visas. Government eases visa restrictions for visitors. The government has just announced a two month automatic visitor visa extension for most visitor visa holders.
Affecting around 12,500 visitor visa holders, Immigration New Zealand will email affected visa holders to confirm the visa extension by 5 March 2021. At NZIL we are glad to see that the government has taken this step to help visitors in New Zealand who are facing uncertainty and concern about traveling back to their home country during the Covid pandemic. “The Government recognises that some visitor visa holders are keen to stay in New Zealand longer while the COVID-19 pandemic is still attacking communities in their home countries,” Kris Faafoi said.
Several overseas INZ offices to close this month. On Tuesday, 23 February, Immigration New Zealand announced plans to close three overseas offices by the end of March 2021: Mumbai, India; Pretoria, South Africa; and Manila, the Philippines.
INZ’s Beijing office will no longer perform visa-processing functions but will continue its risk and verification functions, providing advanced verification in support of visa decision-making and identifying risks, issues, and trends arising from markets that may affect the immigration system’s integrity. Staff in the Beijing office will continue to be employed until at least 30 June 2021, with the timeline subject to review over the next few months and dependent on visa volumes and when NZ borders are likely to reopen. Immigration New Zealand’s actions signal that kindness isn’t for everyone. Last week, Immigration New Zealand announced the closure of offices in India, South Africa, and the Philippines, and Minister of Immigration Kris Faafoi promised a review of skilled migrant residence category settings by the end of this month, with an emphasis on upskilling New Zealand workers.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern would like to everyone to be kind, but kindness appears not to extend to everyone. While thousands of migrants wait in limbo, some of whom are already onshore and have been here for years, Immigration New Zealand is taking its sweet time and appears unconcerned about what happens to non-New Zealanders. Back in October, Immigration New Zealand suspended EOIs in the skilled migrant category for another six months, ostensibly to give them a chance to catch up on the backlog and review the category’s criteria. Time is almost up, yet it appears that nothing has been done in the past six months – so what exactly have they been doing all this time? Suspension on temporary visas extended until 2021.
Back in August, we blogged about temporary visas being closed to offshore applicants for a period of three months.
Each month, the government re-evaluates the situation, and Immigration New Zealand has just announced that the suspension of overseas applications for most temporary visas has been extended until February 2021. A consequence of the border closure due to COVID-19, the decision to stop processing overseas applications for the time being was intended to help INZ get through their backlog while slowing its growth – particularly from applicants who aren’t eligible to enter the country anyway. As when the measure was introduced on 10 August, the following offshore temporary entry-class visa applications are not affected by the suspension: NZ Immigration Law. A Silicon Valley businessman and single dad with no relatives in the US, Martin sought to join his extended family in New Zealand, where he had had strong ties for decades.
Aaron helped reunite Martin with his aging mother and the rest of the clan by securing him a visa on humanitarian grounds, a category with just an 8.5% success rate since the COVID pandemic. Martin’s Story My sister married a Kiwi about 35 years ago and moved to New Zealand. When my parents retired, they, too, moved to New Zealand to be proud grandparents to my sister’s four children, so now the bulk of the family is here.
Because of that, I’ve actually spent a tremendous amount of time in New Zealand, travelling there frequently for extended periods, and am very connected with our family there. When all the insanity with COVID happened and school became virtual in the US, I had a conversation with my sister, who wanted to be closer to her own grandkids in Thames. Immigration Clinic. Our immigration clinic is a 90-minute appointment where we assess, review, and give advice on your visa application. This appointment will give you the opportunity to explain your background information, bring up any questions, have your documentation or your entire visa application reviewed, and get the advice you need.
The procedure for applying for a visa is complex, and rife with potential pitfalls. Is our strict border control damaging New Zealand businesses? Since border closures began on 19th March 2020, immigration in New Zealand has been put almost completely on hold. Immigration law expert Aaron Martin from NZIL explains the implications of this on New Zealand business. For the last 5 months, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has gone from being a very passive recipient of a flood of visa applications by those seeking to work/live/travel/visit/study in New Zealand – to putting up a dam, and having a very rigid system of strict selection mandated entirely by the New Zealand Government.
Workers are only permitted if they are “essential workers” or “critical workers”. Temporary Visa Suspension for Overseas Applicants. Though the COVID-19 pandemic has been the death knell of New Zealand immigration as we know it, it also presents a much-needed opportunity for improvement. What might the new immigration system look like? No more confusing PPI letters. Mandeep has worked for an Auckland herb grower for over five years. When it came time to renew his essential skills visa, he approached his employer, who advertised the job on TradeMe in order to furnish proof that they had made a genuine attempt to fill the role with a qualified New Zealander first.
New EOI Fees: How Much and Why. Leading immigration lawyer Aaron Martin discusses the reasons behind the new fees for individuals and employers. He’ll also share the most important thing you need to know about filling out your request for entry as an exception to the border closure. Beginning 10 August 2020, border exception requests will incur the following fees: NZD $380 for employers who request exceptions for ‘other critical workers’ (or organisations or agencies that sponsor requests) NZD $45 for individual requests under all critical purpose categories.
Work visa renewal sorted within a week. Employed by an Auckland firm in the banking sector for the last two and a half years, Neha initially attempted to renew her soon-to-expire essential skills work visa herself. Work visa changes July 2020 explained. Unfair Labour Market Testing Amid COVID-19 Crisis. Stricter enforcement of labour market test introduced. Recently new guidance has been issued to immigration officers processing work visas in regard to assessing the sustainability of the employer and labour market tests. Immigration update for migrants, what you can do right now. Transparency needed for making exceptions on visas. The government says it allowed the Avatar film crew back into New Zealand in spite of the current border closures because the making of the film offers “significant economic value” to our country. But this criterion is being applied unevenly. What about the America’s Cup crew, or the many work visa holders stranded overseas – do they not also offer significant economic value?
What the government could be doing to help migrants right now. Unfair Labour Market Testing Amid COVID-19 Crisis. Deportation Assistance. Investment Category Visa. The pathway to residency: Become An Accredited Employer. NZ Immigration Law. NZ Immigration Law. Why Work with Aaron Martin - NZ's Highly Regarded Immigration Lawyer. As immigration law specialists we deal with the human narrative. People’s dreams of life in a new country with their family are at the heart of everything we do.
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