General IMMagine Immigration FAQ
Individuals and not companies are licensed under the Government's regulatory system. By May 2009 all those based in New Zealand offering immigration advice must be licensed or they risk severe penalties. This includes not just Consultants such as ourselves but equally HR Departments, Recruiters, Employers and so on. The only 'advice' that can be offered in respect of visa or permits by the unlicensed is that which is publicly available. This really means that the unlicensed can only give you the website URL of the Immigration department or their phone number and nothing else.
By May 2010 all those advisers that are based outside of New Zealand must be licensed in terms of The Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007.
All our staff are either fully licensed, provisionally licensed or if new to the industry working under the direct supervision of a licensed Consultant while they work to achieve full licensed status.
For your own protection do not work with anyone who is not licensed or working under the supervision of someone experienced and qualified who is.
We have a simple philosophy in business and life. We will treat you as would like you to treat us if we were in your position. As many IMMAgine Immigration employees are migrants themselves we know what you face if your dreams and expectations are shattered. With more than 70% of our work coming from referrals we believe this philosophy has stood the test of time.
We are therefore quite happy to put our reputation and experience on the line by offering a performance guarantee on most categories we deal with. This means if you don't get the result you were expecting and we said we would deliver so long as the conditions of the guarantee were met we will refund at least half of our consulting fees. In return we ask that clients accept the responsibility for being both honest with us and committed to the process of filing their application. Our performance guarantee is designed to protect both you and ourselves.
If we are retained to file an application and the client changes their mind we are not obliged under our terms of business to refund any of the fee. This is to ensure we are only dealing with highly committed clients.
Although the guarantees offered may be slightly different in different situations generally they will record that if Immigration New Zealand declines the residence application clients will be refunded at least half of our consulting fee. In the event of the application being declined no refund will generally have been offered on our consulting fees if the application was declined (or not filed) for any one of the following reasons:
- Failure to disclose a medical condition, failure to meet an Acceptable Standard of Health;
- An undisclosed criminal conviction of any person included in the application.
- The presentation of any false or fraudulent documentation or information.
- Failure to provide us with independetly verifiable evidence of exact dates of employment and job description by way of official service records issued by each employer.
- Owing to a change in Government residence policy prior to or after the filing of the residence visa/permit application.
In the unlikely event that an application is declined (we have a success rate better than 99%) for any of the reasons above clients are not be entitled to any refund of our disbursements or Government application fees. The guarantee does not extend to all categories of applications but will be clearly explained and agreed by both the client and ourselves before any money changes hands.
The range of New Zealand immigration services that we provide includes, but is not limited to the following:
- Eligibility Assessment - An assessment of your eligibility for various New Zealand temporary and/or permanent visas or permits.
- Visa/Permit preparation and processing - Preparation and processing of your Visa or permit application either from within New Zealand or abroad.
- Employment 'dating service' - designed to introduce clients and potential employers to one another.
- Private Client forum - Facilitating contact between migrating families in their home countries and in New Zealand, thus providing further moral support during the pre-appraisal period and the first few weeks of settlement.
- Accommodation - we own a fully furnished three bedroom home available to clients in Auckland for rent. The reassurance of knowing there is a house waiting for them is warmly received.
- A monthly e-newsletter emailed to all of our clients, keeping them informed on political, economic, national and community developments.
- Service provider referrals - Assisting where possible with referral to good Removal/Shipping companies for door-to-door transportation for client's furniture and personal effects. Introducing clients to experienced lawyers, accountants, doctors, real estate and home rental agents, employment consultants and insurance brokers.
- We even open bank accounts for you!
Of course nobody posts bad references on their website or in their marketing material and we have been doing this work for long enough to know that you cant please all your customers all the time and sometimes your customers just dont understand the complexity of the process and cannot comprehend that bureaucracy in a first world country could be as obstructive and frustrating as the Immigration New Zealand can be. However we are very confident we keep the vast majority of our clients happy the majority of the time.
Here are what some of them have taken the time to write to us (there really are a lot more but modesty prevents us!) - click here.
We will happily supply references to anyone who wants them.
Among our major corporate clients over the years have been Deloittes, KPMG, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Microsoft, PA Consulting Group, TMP Consulting among other multinationals and major New Zealand companies.
Naturally, you will be curious as to what our professional charges are. Our fees reflect the time, legal expertise in what is undeniably a complex and confusing process along with the all important relationships we have built up with Immigration New Zealand over twenty plus years.
Our fees range from as little as a few hundred dollars to several thousands depending on the services undertaken on your behalf and the time it involves. Generally speaking our fees for Skilled Migration Category applications are in the order of NZ$7500 - $12,000, family cases, marriage and relationships around the NZ$5000 - NZ$9000 mark and Business Category cases between $10,000 and $20,000. Government fees are extra and in the case of a residence applications are likely to fall within the range of NZ$1500 to NZ$2500 per family.
The final quote will reflect the complexity, time and challenge of the application. We do not charge per person but per application.
We will only quote a fee once we have clearly established that you have a case which we believe can be successfully presented to the New Zealand Government and we have taken account of the potential difficulties and time issues involved. No two cases are the same and no case is ever straight forward. When dealing with a bureaucracy nothing is ever "straightforward" or "simple" as much as the Government and Immigration New Zealand would like you to believe (or you would like to believe). Every application has the potential to fail given the complexities involved even if on the surface you cannot recognise the dangers.
All fees and terms of business are confirmed in writing in advance of your becoming our client and will usually be accompanied by our performance guarantee. We do expect payment of the first part of our fees prior to any instructions being issued and this is usually half to a third of the total fee with the balance being paid off over the following months. Fees are commonly paid by credit card, telegraphic transfer or bank draft.
We are licensed professionals who have spent many years getting to the point where the advice we provide is bankable for you.
In life you get what you pay for.
We do not visit the Doctor for free. Or our Accountant, Dentist or Lawyer for free. We don't expect to. We are sure you don't either. We can only offer you the level of expertise and service that we do because you buy the time and expertise we have. We do not dabble in the immigration business, we are committed to it. We deal with only one country and that is New Zealand and we know it and its immigration law better than anyone. We are committed and successful licensed professionals.
This is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life and resettlement is usually the most difficult process you will face in your life. Believe us - many of us at IMMagine New Zealand Immigration have been through the process ourselves and it wasn't easy. You therefore owe it to yourself and your family to ensure you get the most accurate and up to date advice on your eligibility and issues such as our lifestyle, cost of living, employability and education. You wont get that for free no matter how hard you try.
In return for this fee your situation will be assessed by one of our senior team of IMMagine New Zealand Immigration. You will not be dealing with unlicensed, junior or inexperienced staff who have little practical knowledge of the process. You will not be dealing with people who are just starting out in the business either.
Our assessment report runs to several pages and will offer you an in depth analysis of your options. We will then invite further questions until you are at the point of being fully satisfied that residence is or is not an option.
Our commitment is to leave "no stone unturned" in your assessment and for that reason they can take several days to complete and it may well involve extensive exchanges between us as we seek more information we can use to help you meet the entry criteria or explore all the options.
The fee we charge does not begin to cover all our time required to prepare it but acts to identify those that are serious about the process. The reality is emigration will cost you many thousands of dollars through airfares, shipping, local Government and New Zealand Government fees etc and we learned long ago that those unprepared to part with NZ$250 (approx US$150) by way of a written report to assess their eligibility (or a lesser fee for a one on one consultation) are unlikely to be able to bear the cost of successful emigration or may not be really serious about it.
We only want to work with those that are serious and committed to exploring every angle and every issue associated with this life changing decision.
We are sure our assessment and follow up will answer many of your questions such as how long the process takes, the costs, the issues confronting you and whatever else you need to know.
We look forward to being of assistance to you in this first vital step.
Our work does not end when a visa or a work permit application is made and granted.
We know from experience that all clients will feel insecure and vulnerable while waiting on and indeed after receiving their residence visa or permit approval. To an extent, they are stepping into the unknown. We keep in regular contact with them from the time of our first meeting until after they are well settled in New Zealand.
We co-ordinate client's essential needs before and after arrival and then provide personal advisory support during those first few tentative weeks and months in the country.
We do more than just process your visa or permit application. We offer a range of services which are aimed at increasing your knowledge of your new home and providing you with a sound background of the country.
In regard to the preparation of your documentation, after you have received our formal instructions, the process normally takes between 4 and 10 weeks for you to gather the documents we require and 3 - 9 months for us to process your residence case from the time it is lodged. There can be a time delay between when you have gathered the documents we require and when the case is filed if as is common you require a job offer. Why? Because we would normally encourage clients we deem to be highly employable to gather their residence papers before they travel to New Zealand to find work. Why do we do that? Because it sends some serious signals to potential employers about how serious you are in settling here and allows us to obtain work permits more quickly than would usually be the case otherwise.
Processing times are often dependent on where the case is lodged, which officer is processing it, what the category of entry is and whether or not any problems arise.
Once the application is approved you will be generally be granted around 12 months from that date to enter New Zealand although the typical migrant coming in under the Skilled Migrant Category may well already have a job and be in New Zealand when they are ready to apply for residence.
Most of our clients therefore retain our services for between one and two years. The first year is to get the paperwork correct and the visas issued and some of the second year is spent assisting clients with the settlement process.
A word of warning. Immigration Consultants (the good ones) recognise they are being retained by clients to ensure the outcome is what the client seeks. No one can absolutely guarantee anything in terms of processing times nor outcomes however but the better and more experienced operators who keep abreast of trends in migrant numbers, Government policy shifts and all the factors that can influence processing times are the best placed to provide their clients with the greatest degree of certainty in terms of the big "how long will it take question". None of us want the process to take a day longer than it needs to because of the emotional investment clients have made (and the fact that we are not paid by the hour).
But the process is itself difficult to fathom and "straight forward" cases can take an eternity and the tough ones can sail through with an ease not predicted. Such is the nature of dealing with bureaucrats. What we at IMMagine Immigration can do very well is to ensure that you get what you are after. Usually more quickly and with less stress than if you were trying to engage the process on your own.
We receive literally hundreds of emails every month from prospective migrants who need a job in order to get into New Zealand asking us whether we can help them to get the job or how they should go about doing it. Naturally it is the biggest concern for anyone moving from one country to another not only because it tends to be a pre-requisite for entry these days but to put food on the table.
The fact is that many of you are going to require that offer of employment in order to make living in New Zealand a reality. We receive hundreds of letters and electronic messages from people telling us that they have sent off many curriculum vitae to New Zealand companies, schools or other potential employers and have not yet been offered any job. They seem surprised. We are not.
On the one hand New Zealand does have a chronic shortage of skilled workers with record low unemployment (one of the lowest in the developed world at 4.4%).
However, New Zealand employers, like those in your own country we are sure, are reluctant to employ people that they have not met face to face and had a chance to talk to, and who do not have residency in New Zealand and possibly never will, and who understandably are reluctant to "burn their bridges" at home and come over to New Zealand to take up a job (if one was offered) without any guarantee of residence.
So clearly there are major difficulties lying ahead of you. How do you get around the problem? Is it possible to find work without visiting New Zealand?
The short answer in 95% of cases is no.
The first thing which you should do before even contemplating seeking employment in New Zealand is to find out from a professional immigration consultant/adviser what your options are with regard to meeting Government entry criteria, whether that be temporary or permanent and what issues you might confront.
We are constantly amazed how many people find jobs in New Zealand expecting to be able to stay permanently only to be told that their chances are virtually non existent because they do not meet permanent entry criteria. Often this has occurred after they have shipped goods to New Zealand, uprooted their spouses and children and naturally it comes as a great shock some months after they get here. So before you do anything else, download our questionnaire, e-mail it to us along with your payment for our consultation assessment fee and we will then advise you whether we can get you to the starting gates!
If after we have assessed your options we believe residency is a genuine possibility and you require an offer of employment our advice to you will be quite simple - buy an airline ticket and book a trip to New Zealand, which will last at least 4 - 8 weeks (the longer the better) to find a job. You really have no other choice even if this means applying for visitor visas for those that cannot enter visa free such as those from the UK, US, South Africa and the E.U. If you require a Visitor Visa to travel here to look for work you are in a very delicate situation in relation to how you explain the reasons for your visit here and still be regarded as a genuine visitor/tourist.
Might it be possible to line up interviews before you land in New Zealand?
Possibly, but again it is less likely than if you are here. If you have some specialised skill and a patient employer-to-be in New Zealand then this does happen especially in occupations where there is a desperate shortage. You should really only begin this process a few weeks before you get here or you will be of little interest to employers and recruitment agencies.
It is unlikely a recruitment company will market you in this way before you are here to actually attend any interviews they might be able to line up.
So generally our advice is to start this process of job hunting only when you are here and able to take up the job within a short time.
Who is the best person to market my skills?
Once you are in New Zealand we believe that as a general rule the best person to market you is you.
Even in recent years with critical skills shortages across a range of industrieds it ahs surprised and disappointed us that Personnel recruitment agencies generally speaking have shown a lack of interest in people who are not permanently resident or who do not have work permits. With the local labour market easing through 2009 it is our belief there is little incentive for local recruiters to embrace non-residents and the immigraiton process. They will often as a consequence give you little more than passing consideration. Even if they do consider you it will probably be because they have some incredibly desperate employer/client who cannot fill the position locally. This doesn't mean there aren't jobs - it just means Recruiters are often not overly interested in helping you because New Zealand employers are often reluctant to get involved with the migration process (and having to deal with the immigration bureaucrats) or are reluctant to get involved with migrants full stop.
Therefore we advise the best way of finding a job is as follows:
- The internet - increasingly this is the medium by which employers and employees find one another. The largest internet based recruitment site in NZ is www.seek.co.nz but there are plenty of others. - google search for jobs in your field. You need to aprpeciate up front how almost all vacancies listed however will demand of you a work visa or residence visa before they wish to interview you. A classic catch-22 for most of you. You may wish to discuss solutions to this with us.
- Use local newspapers and the Situations Vacant columns although this is diminishing in importance, and
- Identify companies which may be able to use your skills and approach them directly. The local Yellow Pages telephone directory is very helpful in this regard. The yellow pages is on the internet (http://www.yellowpages.co.nz).
If you are a full fee paying client of ours you will have access to our private client forum. This is designed to give you access to our network of many thousands of clients - almost all of whom will be working with employers who have no difficulty working with migrants or who have had a positive experience (thanks to IMMagine New Zealand Immigration) in negotiating the immigation bureacracy.
Try personnel recruitment companies but don't be disappointed if they don't appear overjoyed to see or hear from you.