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February 2018

The 2018 business year is well underway and the Heartland Immigration team is fielding inquiries from businesses and individuals who are anxious given last year’s visa changes particularly as more are expected to take place this year.

We specialise in employment related visas, assisting large and small employers, along with individual visa applicants.

In 2018 you will see further emphasis on local market variables, employer’s backgrounds feature more and as usual the format of documentation is essential to any visa application. There are winners and losers in the changes to the occupation shortage lists as summarised by Jeremy Clapp in this Newsletter. Salary and wage rates remain critical and recently introduced new mandatory wage and salary rates are outlined here by Nils Macfarlane.

The current revamp of employment legislation by the Labour led Government makes it essential that employers carefully review their practices and employment agreement documentation. This must all be in place before seeking immigration approval as INZ Instructions are very specific in ensuring not only that employers are currently compliant with all employment legislation but have a history of doing so. INZ has the power to embargo the grant of visas for employers who are not compliant so don’t let technical or documentation discrepancies became a barrier to successful offshore recruitment.

Relaxing over the holiday season in my beloved Banks Peninsula I reflected on my trip late last year to Switzerland which reinforced to me the value of sourcing people with who have the right qualifications and experience to match the roles in demand in New Zealand. People who are good citizens who are change ready because relocating either to fill a temporary role or permanently requires flexibility and resilience.

The Swiss cities were delightful with fabulous Christmas decorations that magically glittered at night and the sheer grandeur of the countryside spectacular and yet despite all this I was able to favourable compare the diverse natural beauty of New Zealand and describe the lifestyle opportunities New Zealand offers.

2018 no doubt will bring about personal and professional challengers for all of us. Immigration changes in particular can be more complex and time consuming than first envisioned so lighten your load and seek professional immigration advice.

Mary Noonan


From this month the Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL) will be updated with additional occupations including many trades in the construction industry. The roles of Dental Technician, Dentist, Medical Laboratory Technician, Pharmacy Technician and Poultry Farmer have been removed.

The Essential Skills Work Visa process speeds up for occupations on the ISSL, subject to the applicant meeting specific qualification and work experience criteria. This is because INZ has predetermined the role is hard to fill in a particular region, in other words no labour market case is required.

No new occupations are to be added to the Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL) however Anaesthetist, Forest Scientist, Pathologist, Petroleum Engineer and Renal Medicine Specialist have been removed.

The LTSSL is not region specific and not only signals that INZ considers the role to be in demand but more significantly allows for the grant of work visa which leads to residence. Again the candidate must meet the qualification and work experience criteria although the details are not available at this time.

Jeremy Clapp


Essential Skills Work Visa applications, considered by INZ to be mid-skilled, so those with trade and professional occupations must now be paid at least $20.65 per hour so for a forty hour week that is $826.

Those INZ consider to be at the higher skill level must be paid at least $36.44 per hour and for a forty hour week that is $1,457.60. Resident applicants wishing to claim extra bonus points in the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) must be paid at least $48.58 per hour so $1943.20 for a forty hour week. The minimum SMC rate is now $24.29 per hour and for a forty hour rate $971.60.

Calculating pay rates for immigration purposes is complicated because in addition to the minimum rates for each category the rate is tested against the wage and salary rates for those already in that industry within the particular region with comparable levels of qualification and work experience.

Nils Macfarlane