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April 2018

The first of April 2018 brings an increase of 75 cents to the New Zealand minimum hourly wage. For employees over 16 years old, the new rate is $16.50 per hour or $660 for a 40 hour week. This is a right regardless of the employee’s or employer’s immigration status.

I recently blogged to encourage migrant workers to join a union. The media continually alert us to cases of migrant exploitation. Multi government agencies are involved and they frequently discover that not only do many exploited migrants not have the correct visas; they often don’t have employment agreements, conditions are below legislative standards and no consideration has been given to health and safety let alone well being. Thankfully these employers are in the minority.

Migrant workers are not without power as New Zealand has extensive legislation dictating minimum standards for all workers and the way migrants can ensure they enjoy these conditions is to join a union.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway is encouraging just this. I met the Minister in Timaru last month to discuss visa challenges facing regional employers. Minister Iain Lees-Galloway was keenly interested and his recent statement that South Canterbury “won’t be left behind” is encouraging along with his acknowledgment that exclusive Wellington based thinking is not serving regional New Zealand.

I look forward to visa developments addressing the regional skills shortages.

Mary Noonan


Time is running out to take advantage of the South Island Contribution Work Visa. This special visa is for South Island migrant workers that can lead to residence after two years. Applications must be lodged by the 22 May 2018.

You will need to be of good health and character, have ongoing employment and, your partner and children are also generally eligible for visas. You must have held an Essential Skills Work Visa/s (one that required a labour market check) between May 2012 and May 2017.

Plenty of document is required and slight variations to the criteria are allowed for in specific circumstances.

Nils Macfarlane


International travel always involves documentation and I welcome the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement to abolish departure cards for travellers leaving New Zealand.

The plan is to use statistical modelling to obtain data capturing the purpose of travel and if the departure is permanent.

This is another improvement to increase the ease of global travel, however this does not diminish the need to hold the correct visa or have access to visa waiver privileges. Visa waiver is a term used for nationals who can enter another country without obtaining a visa before travel. These visas are generally granted upon arrival to visitors on short stays.

Ensure your know what visas you required before travelling.

Jeremy Clapp