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August 2018

Last month Immigration New Zealand (INZ) reached another milestone in that they dispensed with placing sticky labels in physical passports other than for certain categories of students. A world away from when I first began working with visas when we would use ink stamps and make hand written endorsements in passports or Certificates of Identities. The next generation is eVisa and Nils provides an outline in this Newsletter.

Recently published statistics show a decrease in the number of skilled migrants being approved for residence while the number of temporary work visas has risen. The former is a direct result of last year’s changes which saw a tightening of the definition of “skilled”, as now the careful matching of an applicant’s employment background, job offer, training and qualification to the descriptions in the Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is critical. Points allocated for those aged between 30 to 39 years increased as well as those with postgraduate qualifications. Skilled Migrant Category applicants however must now be paid at least $24.29 per hour and points are no longer able to be claimed for having a New Zealand family member, connections to identified future growth areas or for a qualification in areas of absolute skills shortage. The Skilled Migrant Category passmark remains at 160 but the criteria to obtain that is so much more difficult.

While an increase of 4,000 work visas recorded reflects lower unemployment levels, particularly in the regions, don’t be misled into thinking work visas are easily gained. INZ work visa Instructions also tighten establishing a three tier skill levels grouping, setting minimum wages and limiting the length of time permitted to work in New Zealand along with which work visa holders are able to support their partner and children’s visa applications.

With determination, a great deal of documentation, and often weeks of processing time, work visas are able to be obtained. The level of work visas issued does reiterate that skills and labour gaps exist in the marketplace, and along with training and the development of New Zealanders, the need for offshore recruitment remains.

In this Newsletter Jeremy outlines the two forms INZ employer accreditation status.

Mary Noonan

An electronic visa (eVisa), really a virtual visa, and the legal authority to remain in New Zealand or travel to New Zealand. Visa approvals in the main are now communicated by email or Immigration Online, or for those without internet facilities, by letter format. The purpose of this development is to eliminate the need for the passport to be couriered to INZ for a sticky label. Logistically this is easier and efficient as the visa is activated as soon as the Immigration Officer has approved the application given INZ’s computer system is instantaneously updated.

It is the environmentally friendly option, cheaper, quicker and has the same status as a label placed in the passport.

On request, and at a cost, a label can still be issued but I don’t generally recommend this as it is just not necessary however I do suggest you keep a copy of the approval with your passport.

Nils Macfarlane

INZ has a process to register and identify employers with good employment practices and a history of compliance in all areas of employment law. This process is a requirement for construction labour hire employers in Canterbury and beneficial for employers who employ migrant staff in any industry when they became Talent Accredited Employers.

Labour Hire Accreditation was introduced in the Canterbury post quake rebuild and was aimed at eliminating migrant exploitation and to create an even playing field for labour hire companies operating in that post quake environment.

Although Labour Hire Accreditation is currently only a requirement for labour hire companies employing construction migrant staff in Canterbury, other labour hire companies can apply. The recent cabinet paper prepared by the new Government has indicated they are very likely to extend the Labour Hire Accreditation requirements to labour hire companies beyond Canterbury.

Employers approved under INZ’s Talent Employer Accreditation have benefits that include a smoother pathway for their employees to gain work visas. Since last year’s changes to the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa, the Talent Employer Accreditation scheme has become more advantageous, as it allows employees to apply for residence after 24 months if eligible. Changes are anticipated to this category and I expect the minimum income level of $55,000 per annum to be raised in the near future. You will appreciate other conditions apply however this is a great option to qualifying employers and employees. Being a INZ Accredited employer is a competitive advantage allowing employers to attract the best possible talent by being identified as an employer of choice.

Jeremy Clapp