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New visa options announced

A new visa option for essential business employers to redeploy existing migrant staff, has been announced by Immigration New Zealand (INZ).

Employers in essential businesses can now request a ‘variation of condition’ of existing visas for employees who are migrant staff.

These variations include an option to apply for:
• work for the same employer in any occupation
• work for a different employer in the same region
• allow student visa holders full time hours with their existing employer.

While the variation of condition changes the conditions of an existing visa – the length and type of visa remains the same.This is a temporary measure and will allow for changes which will remain in place for six weeks after New Zealand’s move to Level 2 of the COVID-19 alert system.

To qualify – the employer must be providing an essential service as defined by the Covid-19 criteria and the migrant worker must agree to this redeployment or change in hours. The new temporary employment changes also must meet minimum New Zealand employment standards.

The change is designed to provide essential business employers more flexibility, however this is likely to be of assistance to only a small percentage of employers.

Recruitment of staff with the right skills is always critical, and more challenging in this Covid-19 environment, despite the number of New Zealanders who have or will lose jobs in the coming weeks.

Economic recovery will require skilled migrant workers, when all other avenues to fill vacancies are exhausted, likewise a bureaucracy which is up to the challenge of determining what is in the best interest of New Zealand is needed. Bold forward thinking on immigration matters is interpretative.

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 Licensed Immigration Advisers.

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