NEW ZEALAND IMMIGRATION BLOG

Letters from Southern Man

IMMagine New Zealand Immigration Blog

To subscribe to our weekly blog, click here to be added to our database.

Note: If you have previously registered for the Southern Man newsletters but are no longer receiving our email notifications you may have been unsubscribed by your spam filter. Simply register your details here and we will add you back to the database right away.

Comments: We welcome debate and discussion in our blogs, whether you agree with what we say or don't. We encourage intelligent and informed discussion and invite anyone to comment. However anyone posting comments with abusive or foul language or people 'simply having a rant' we will delete them immediately.

Letters from the Southern Man

Migrating is more than just filling in forms and submitting paperwork, its a complex process that will test even the most resilient of people. 

Understanding New Zealand is paramount to your immigration survival and to give you a realistic view of the country, its people and how we see the world, read our weekly Southern Man blogs. Often humorous, sometimes challenging, but always food for thought.

Alternative Pathways to Residence

Posted by Iain on Oct. 28, 2016, 4:46 p.m. in Immigration

Alternative Pathways to Residence

Over the next few months - if not years - there will be some otherwise skilled migrants who won’t be able to achieve the 160 point pass mark even if they were to work for say 12 or 24 months in a job outside of Auckland.

What solutions can we offer them?

I am very conscious that the Skilled Migrant rules will likely change in the middle of 2017, but I am equally confident that here at IMMagine we have a good handle on the direction of those changes, even though we don’t yet know the detail and won’t till the rules are released.

We have a very small number of clients, principally aged over 50 and without any trade or academic qualifications who are still looking for a pathway up this visa ‘mountain’. Without wishing to digress for those tradesmen and artisans under 45 with no formal qualifications we should be able to get them all to NZ using the Australian residence visa process. Something we commonly do now.

One of the ‘NZ direct’ solutions is through a work to residence pathway and finding work and convincing a New Zealand employer to become ‘accredited’ with INZ.

Accreditation is a status given to an employer that allows them to effectively bring in anyone they wish on 30 month ‘Talent Visas' (Work Visas by any other name) without needing to prove they cannot find a local - so long as the salary is at least $55,000 gross per annum, or higher.

No need for it to be in an area of skill shortage, it doesn’t even need to be skilled, but rather INZ needs to be satisfied of a number of key points about the business before they will grant accreditation. The business must be (to quote the policy):

  • in a sound financial position; and
  • has human resource policies and processes which are of a high standard; and
  • has a demonstrable commitment to training and employing New Zealand citizens or residence class visa holders; and
  • has good workplace practices, including a history of compliance with all immigration and employment laws such as the Immigration Act 2009, the Accident Compensation Act 2001, the Minimum Wage Act 1983, the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, the Employment Relations Act 2000, Wages Protection Act 1983, Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 and the Holidays Act 2003.

On the face of it this looks quite straight forward but as always, the devil is not only in the detail but the attitude of INZ and the officer processing the accreditation application.

This category was really set up with the aim of assisting larger employers with an ongoing need to bring in talent, rather than for smaller businesses to keep 'one off' but very valuable staff. It does not however exclude the smaller employers like the three man automotive workshop, the bakery or the small IT company. The aim and objective is clear – to make global skills available to ‘trusted’ local businesses – and it is not for INZ to decide which business is ‘better’ than others if the above four criteria are met; nor which applicants or roles come with a greater economic need.

I suspect, however, as more employers now apply for accreditation owing to the tightening of criteria under the Skilled Migrant Category and a seemingly never ending tightening in the availability of local candidates for roles, INZ could try and make it difficult. So, yet again, strong and persuasive advocacy will no doubt be called for and we are well positioned to help companies to secure this status.

For the migrant, their Talent Visa will be granted for 30 months and after two years of working for 'an' (not necessarily ‘the’) accredited employer they can then apply for residence. It is not a points system and there are no quotas nor pass mark. They do, however, have to demonstrate they are still healthy (along with partners and children) and their character remains good. They will also have to prove they earned at least $55,000 by way of salary over the two years. Note: salary, not income.

With the ramping up of pass marks for skilled migrants two weeks ago coupled with the sort of changes we strongly suspect are coming next year, having an Immigration Adviser who is not only expert in the detail but creative in arguing some very vague sounding criteria is going to take on even more importance than it ever has.

From here on under the skilled migrant category, it is not only a case of the survival of the most employable but it might just also be the survival of those with the smartest Immigration Adviser.

Work to residence options are no different. I am expecting push back from INZ on these applications but the rules are the rules and whether the company is large or small or needs to bring in ten workers or one; it is not a value judgement for officials.

Finding alternative pathways up this seeming every higher and steep mountain is what we do very well with 26 plus years’ experience under our belts.

Work to residence on a Talent Visa is just one of those strategies that might be the difference between raising your children in New Zealand or somewhere else.

Until next week.

Iain MacLeod

Southern Man
Letters from New Zealand

Tags:

2 comments on this post
Oct. 29, 2016, 7:19 p.m. by Anne

Hi Ian. From your experience, will a small company be willing to go through the trouble and pay the cost of being an accredited employer just to hire an immigrant staff? How long will the process take?

Replies to this comment

Nov. 1, 2016, 9:42 a.m. by Iain MacLeod
Hi Anne In many cases the answers is a rather short sighted no. To any small employer who might conclude the cost is not worth it I'd have two piece of advice: 1. The cost of securing accreditation (even using someone like us) will be far less than paying a recruiter a 15% commission to replace someone on a work visa because their time is up and they have to leave; and 2. What is the real cost (time, advertising, etc) to an employer to go through the 'hassle' of replacing someone in terms of training etc if the work visa holding incumbent now has to leave and be replaced when their time is up. Honestly it is a no brainer but it can be very hard to make, especially smaller sized, employers, appreciate the economies involved in getting accreditation.
Reply to this comment
Dec. 6, 2016, 2:32 p.m. by stefan zwahlen

Hi , what is the cut off age (if there is one )for using a ‘Talent Visas' (Work Visas by any other name)as a way to get permanent residence?

Reply to this comment

Make a comment on this post