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Misinformation circulating in The Philippine community

A work to residence option, where employment at a salary of $79,560 from an Immigration New Zealand (INZ) Accredited Employer leads to the grant of residence after two years, is being promoted to motivate employees in the construction industry to change employers.

On Hire Labour Accredited Employers

Work visa holders who are employees of On Hire Labour Accredited Employer are unable to take advantage of this work to residence option. The employer must be a Talent Accredited Employer. Not all INZ employer accreditations are equal, so migrant workers, be aware.

A good percentage of migrant workers, particularly from the The Philippines, work in the construction industry and are often employed by On Hire Labour Employers. What Covid-19 hasn’t done is dampen the need for qualified tradespeople as offshore replacements are practically non-existent, training initiatives take time and all while the demand for qualified construction remains high and critical to our economic recovery.

Poaching staff from one employer to another is rife, not limited to this community or industry, and while it may be a quick fix for an individual employer, it doesn’t solve the real issue for the industry as a whole. The call for relaxing the restrictions for essential workers to increase the qualified construction industry workforce, along with other industries, is growing louder, however in the meantime poaching occurs given the skills pool isn’t in pace with demand.

Of course migrant work visa holders are entitled to change employers subject to holding the correct visa, and for most, this means an application to INZ to change the conditions on their existing work visa. Inferring a benefit exists when it does not exist however is misleading and amounts to migrant exploration.

Empowering migrant work visa holders

However, migrants can empower themselves firstly by checking if the prospective employer is a Talent Accredited Employer via the INZ website.

Then reassuring themselves that the new job offer is not inferior to their current Individual Employment Agreement (IEA). This is where the unions, employment and immigration professionals play a valuable role, buyer beware.

We have seen examples of IEA’s without the guarantee of 30 hours per week because the job offer is made in New Zealand and not subject to the offshore recruitment scrutiny nor compliant with Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) standards. The latter was set up by The Philippine Government to safeguard the interest of their migrant workers and it’s disappointing such standards are not maintained for those folk while they are in NZ. Pandemic or no pandemic protection of the migrant workforce is a must.

Migrant work visa holders please be aware.

Disclaimer: Mary Noonan is Heartland Immigration Ltd Managing Director and her views, expressed in this article, are not intended to replace the professional service provided to individual migrants by a Licensed Immigration Adviser.

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