It's just a thought...
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Posted by Iain on May 13, 2017, 11:57 a.m. in Government
A week after receiving the new points that attach to the various skilled migrant criteria in August 2017 (and both modelling and testing in the field on over 150 consultations so far in South Africa and SE Asia this past week), it is very interesting who wins and who loses from these changes.
Clearly, owing to the new salary thresholds attaching to skilled job offers, those with entry level jobs (international graduates studying in NZ by and large) are clear losers unless the role they secure is highly skilled (think many Engineering, IT, Technical and Trades roles).
Those with more entry level and ‘white collar’ or hospitality/restaurant/tourism jobs will lose owing salaries for those sorts of occupations coming in under the new threshold of $48,800. I’m thinking Chefs, Bar staff, banking, insurance, marketing, sales, Secretaries/PAs and many of the roles in what is known as Part C of Appendix 6 (list of occupations deemed to be skilled) in the rule book.
What has been very interesting to me is how many people I am meeting who will qualify after August 14 who do not qualify today.
With the pass mark at 160 most people today require qualifications – trade, technical or academic representing 2-4 years of study.
However, come August 14, even at 160 points, many people with no (or low level) qualifications, will qualify but will usually require a job offer outside of Auckland.
Anyone aged between, say 30 and 45 years old that has ten years of skilled work experience and a skilled job outside of Auckland now scores at least 160 points. I have seen many people in this situation this week.
That leads me to ponder something I read last week in the paper Immigration Department officials sent to the Government in which they said they believe that these points ‘spreads’ would deliver the government their target of 27,000. I was sceptical of that and to some extent I still am given the sheer numbers of international graduates that have been swamping the SMC pool in recent years, who are now going to struggle to qualify but there might be something to it.
That has led me to conclude the pressure on Government to drop the pass mark to achieve its targets might not be as great as it was nor the need to do so in the short term so great.
That reinforces my belief that there will be no pass mark fall before the election in September – the Government won’t wish to be accused of not going tough on immigration (even though they really haven’t).
As mentioned in previous blogs the media swallowed the ‘toughening and cutting’ line hook, line and sinker even though Government hasn’t (and has no intention of) cutting a single visa from the NZ Residence programme.
And what does all of this tell you?
International graduates from NZ institutions were a problem that needed to be dealt with. They were the ‘problem’ for the Government and the new points and salary thresholds has eliminated the problem.
What we will see over the next few months is a return to the historic profile of skilled migrant NZ traditionally sought – those aged 30-45 won’t need qualifications to get in.
If you have any questions about your eligibility -use theis link to order an assessment of your options: http://www.immagine-immigration.com/assessments/full-assessment/
Until next week...
Posted by Iain on Oct. 7, 2016, 2 p.m. in Auckland
I am not really into writing dry pieces on the state of the labour market but given the reality that many of you need jobs to secure your resident visas, most of you are not all that familiar with skill demand in the NZ labour market, and your world view is shaped by local conditions in your own countries (affirmative action policies in South Africa and Malaysia, for example), it is worth the effort then to ‘paint a picture’ of the state of things in NZ though to June this year.
It is all looking very encouraging.
Looking at the full report recently issued by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment who track these things, I have never seen so many ‘hockey sticks’ in their graphs of everything from net migration through labour market participation rates to new fulltime jobs being created.
It is a good time to be an English speaking migrant looking for a job in New Zealand.
Key highlights are:
Tourism numbers continue to surge particularly from China and more airlines than ever are flying into the country – American and United are once again flying into the city and on an almost weekly basis a new Asian airline touches down.
Auckland continues to groan under the pressure of these tourists with not enough hotels being built to accommodate them all. Nice problem to have.
We are about to kick off the busiest cruise ship season ever with around 100 cruise liners expected to tie up in downtown Auckland.
Major roading and infrastructure projects are now coming online across Auckland with the last piece of our extensive new freeway network set to open by year's end transforming the travel times across this city (not before time) and driving urban and commercial growth away from the central isthmus.
It is all go!
Told you it was dry, but at least it’s a happening little corner of the world.
Until next week.
Southern Man – Letter from New Zealand
Posted by Iain on Sept. 9, 2016, 3:09 p.m. in IMMagine
Edmund Burke famously said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
I told myself following the screening this week of Nigel Latta’s The Hard Stuff: Immigration that I wouldn’t lower myself and comment on the ill-informed, ignorant garbage that people have been posting online, on our Facebook page, in emails and I'd be big enough to ignore the usual political suspects and their xenophobic rantings in response to the episode, but I can’t.
I have long said I know nothing about a lot, but when it comes to this subject, I know a lot about immigration.
Winston Peters, leader of NZ First has (as one might expect for someone that feeds local xenophobia presumably and at least in part to keep his tax payer funded Parliamentary salary) this week released a press statement, and among other things said:
"Mr Latta claims the level of immigrants coming to New Zealand has been stable for the last 10 years and people are not flooding in."
"That's odd considering last month Statistics New Zealand said New Zealand's population grew by 97,000 in the year ended June 2016 – the largest increase ever – and that it was driven by record levels of international migration."
Yes, the population has grown (we do have babies) and there are around 65,000 more people here than the year before through net migration, but only 45,000 or so were 'foreigners' and the recipients of a resident visa, meaning they can stay long term.
What Mr Peters wilfully exploits is how Statistics New Zealand defines a migrant.
Latta explained this very succinctly and accurately. Peters, ever the grandstanding and ultimate celebrity Politician, continues to twist these numbers to tell a story that is frankly false.
Here is how a migrant is defined: anyone that enters or leaves this country is required to complete an arrival and departure card. If, when you land, you state that you ‘intend’ staying for 12 months or longer, you are classified as an immigrant.
If, when you are leaving, you state that you intend spending the next 12 months outside of New Zealand you have emigrated and left the country ‘permanently’ for statistical purposes, irrespective of what you actually end up doing.
And this, as Nigel Latta correctly pointed out, paints a distorted picture of migration because the bulk of those arriving and declaring they ‘intend spending more than 12 months’ in New Zealand are in fact a mix of Holiday Working Visa holders, other temporary work visa holders, international students and New Zealanders and Australians coming home or to settle.
The Holiday Working Visa, other work visa and International Students do not hold and the majority will not ever get (and it might be noted, do not want) a resident visa. If they do stay and qualify for a resident visa they form part of the Government’s annual target of 45,000 resident visas which has not changed for years and has not been exceeded, meaning, simply – the number of places available to permanent migrants is more or less completely static and is strictly controlled. Has been for years and years.
There is no flood.
Thing is, Peters is not as stupid as those that believe his press releases – he knows full well the majority of those he labels ‘migrants’ are here on finite short term visas.
Holiday Working Visas are not renewable and most are valid for 12 months. Some are a bit longer but never more than two years. These people statistically have all migrated to New Zealand. Yet the overwhelming majority leave when their visa is up.
Equally, International Students, of which at any given time there are tens of thousands, all tick the 'staying for more than 12 months' box because their courses are usually 12-36 months in duration. These people statistically have all migrated to New Zealand "permanently".
It is also true that with strong economic growth and being a great place to live and raise a family, New Zealand is currently the victim of its own success. Far fewer New Zealanders are looking to leave the country for pastures greener and we are seeing unprecedented numbers of Australians joining us and New Zealanders returning home from Australia. When the Australian economy picks up again this trend might reverse and more Kiwis may head back that way for economic opportunity.
This cyclic movement is contributing to house price pressure but the ‘flood’ that Peters and the "chatterati" keep going on about is not ‘foreigners’ but New Zealanders choosing not to leave the country or returning home and the least foreign of all, Australians, coming with them (often their partners).
Interesting also this week, the Leader of the Opposition weighed in and showed his own depths of ignorance – he commented that we have 6000 people in New Zealand on work visas to work as labourers which he will stop because we have "15,000 unemployed New Zealand labourers".
To be clear, to get a work visa all employers have to satisfy very stringent rules around genuinely trying to fill these vacancies locally and the Immigration Department must be satisfied these foreign workers are not taking the job from a local. And believe me, they do check. Rigorously. The only reason work visas are being issued to anyone is because local employers cannot find anyone locally – I’ll say it till I am blue in the face – no employer I have ever met is ever willing to go through the work visa process to employ foreigners when there are qualified and experienced locals with the right attitude to choose from. I never see it happen.
It takes too much time and effort to employ foreigners, so the need has to be very real.
I should also add that one of the work visa rules states that the foreign worker cannot be paid any less than the local would for the same job and this is also checked – so the garbage spouted about migrants driving down local wages and this fairytale that migrants will work for peanuts is simply that – garbage. An employer caught doing it faces very strict penalties.
At the more skilled end of the scale there is another uncomfortable reality and that is the small number of locally unemployed no longer have the skills necessary to fill the tens of thousands of skilled jobs being created. There is a clear mismatch between what employers need and what is floating about the local labour market. That suggests we have an issue with our education system but not the immigration system.
Unfortunately in a world where immigration issues are increasingly dominating national politics we are going to continue to see Politicians without another platform exploit the innate sense of distrust we humans have about outsiders.
Our own IMMagine Facebook page received (predictably) a trickle of abuse following the Monday night programme. I have no issue with intelligent, informed, respectful and grown up debate, but one thing I will not tolerate is the ignorant, ill-informed and xenophobic attacking the clients we have helped make this place their home – filling jobs that locals could not or would not fill and who have risked an awful lot in bringing their skills to this country.
Yes it is a two way street – we get the skills and they get one of the world’s best keep secrets. But they have taken nothing, robbed us of less – in fact they have strengthened the country to a man (and woman) in so many ways that extend beyond their skills sets.
I just hope that as the election cycle heats up here over the next year, that people try and stay informed about immigration and see the grandstanding of the Political ‘elite’ for what it is – a desperate attempt to buy votes off a small number of backward looking people who are easily exploited. Adolf Hitler did it pretty successfully. Trump is looking not dissimilar. Brexit happened largely because of it. Europe is going to be in turmoil over this for years.
Permanent immigration to New Zealand is strictly controlled and let no Politician convince you otherwise.
Like it or not, understand the issues or not, we cannot and should not turn our back on the world.
We should, however, turn our back on political peddlers of lies.
Until next week
Iain MacLeod - Managing Director, IMMagine Australia & New Zealand
Posted by Iain on Nov. 13, 2015, 1:31 p.m. in Immigration
I was fascinated to see on Google Trends this week a tenfold spike in the UK of two key search words ‘migration’ and ‘New Zealand’ during the middle and end of October.
There is little doubt in my mind that these many thousands of listless Brits were turned on to the idea of a move to New Zealand owing to little more than the theatre, performance and success of our national rugby team at the Rugby World Cup (for those of you not into rugby the All Blacks went on to win in style defeating the cocky Aussies in the final).
It got me thinking about all the little influences that go into migration to a country.
Like many people I have always assumed that the decision to migrate is an economic one - and it often is. Or a social one, to join friends or family. It often happens because of marriage or entering a relationship with a ‘local’. It is sometimes simply a result of what might unkindly be labelled a mid-life crisis and a need for change - a rather extreme big, scary and challenging change.
I can now perhaps add sporting success and what it signals to the list of influences. I don’t exclude the possibility it is perhaps nothing more than curiosity - New Zealand was settled more or less by the British, the England team were knocked out in the pool stage so perhaps our success led many to ask what is it that makes this little country on the other side of the world produce such world beaters?
Or was it just that Dan Carter’s chiselled chin and high cheekbones or Sonny Bill Williams, the baby faced assassin with thundering thighs that led tens of thousands of British women to wonder if all Kiwi males look like them. Well, I can only speak for myself of course, and, cough cough, perhaps there is something in that...
But I digress. I was talking about what might make people interested in migration.
I did a check of South Africa having seen these results from Google Trends on the UK and saw the same huge spike using the two search terms migration + New Zealand.
That then made me realise that there are all sorts of little triggers that might lead someone down the path of migration to a country. I never really expected sporting success would be one of them, but perhaps it isn’t the success - maybe it is simply exposing an audience to we New Zealanders as a people (or how they might perceive us to be as people - sorry ladies - not everyone here looks like Dan Carter or SBW).
The All Blacks are a very strong ‘brand’. The fact is they also do tell a story abut who we are as a people - many ethnicities, one jersey, one team, born of a true meritocracy. Nothing contrived. A little country can be great and punch well above its weight in so many ways.
I am sure that the success of the All Blacks has also resonated with many South Africans. I noted the same huge spike in Google trends through late November there.
This unified and successful team ‘speaking’ of what it is to be a New Zealander on that field seems to have hit a chord with South Africans. I suspect though for different reasons to the British. I was in South Africa earlier this year when their team for the World Cup was announced. The public spats in mainstream and social media began within minutes of the team being announced - not enough black players, not enough ‘coloured’ players, too many players of colour were picked who would never get a game simply to make the team more ‘representative’ of the black majority, blah, blah, blah.
It reached the usual ludicrous and borderline pathetic crescendo when the racial background of Damian De Allende was trotted out - apparently this guy is mixed race. Google him. Tell me if you’d notice. Tell me if you care. He is quite simply one of the finest back line players in South Africa today who anywhere else in the civilised world would have gained his slot on merit - as I would like to think he did with the Springboks - irrespective of whether he is of mixed race or not.
You’ll never hear any of that said about the All Blacks and in that they represent what New Zealand is as a country. When these guys pull on that black jersey and do that haka (maori challenge) no one here ever sees anything but ‘New Zealander’. No one gives a toss whether they are black, white, half this, three quarters that. I am sure that this sends a very powerful message to South Africans who are sick and tired of living in a country where it seems everyone is either ‘too this’ or ‘too that’ for some sector of the population.
And so it is New Zealand can leverage off the All Blacks in a very positive even if perhaps unexpected way.
It isn’t limited to sport either.
In New Zealand, the Government was widely criticised some years ago for offering major movie studios tax breaks for making (really expensive and fit for global release) movies in New Zealand (a country where expecting let alone getting any sort of assistance or subsidy from Government is almost thought heretical).
Yet I saw very quickly with the release of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy an almost immediate upswing in email enquiries from, but not limited to, the US about migrating to ‘middle Earth’ (God, I hope the Americans realised that LOTR wasn’t real and New Zealand wasn’t really all Mordor, Wizards and short people with large hairy feet or they may have been disappointed). Yet come they did and some decided to stay and others decided to invest.
More and more movies have been made here which has created not just an entire industry and infrastructure employing thousands of New Zealanders (think Weta Workshop for everything special effects and high tech movie wizardry) but indirectly creating a pipeline of migrants and a surprising number from the US - historically not a source country for migrants. Some of these migrants were very wealthy and they in turn have established new businesses and opportunities and when you ask them why they came to New Zealand initially they’ll tell you they went to the movies one night and saw LOTR...
The migration seed seems to germinate in some of the strangest ways, but it often begins not at a migration expo in England, on a government website or even at a migration seminar in Johannesburg but in a movie theatre or watching sport on TV.
Until next week.
Posted by Iain on Oct. 9, 2015, 3:25 p.m. in Crime
Sitting on our deck up the beach house on Sunday enjoying some early summer sun my wife and I were jolted from our dozing by a car pulling into the driveway. Not expecting visitors we hauled ourselves off our loungers to see who it was. A good friend had clambered out of his car and was cussing and cursing. Turns out he and his wife had been at an ‘open (show) home’ that was for sale an hour or so further up the coast. Having poked their noses into all corners of the property they had set off for a walk along the sheltered and picturesque beach.
When they got back to their car my friend realised that he had lost his wallet. Mildly concerned but not too worried because there weren’t many people about he retraced his steps feeling confident he’d find it. Given however there had been some leaping over rocks on an incoming tide when he couldn’t find it he assumed it had been washed away. Credit cards, cash, driver’s license – the whole caboodle.
I asked him if he had been in touch with the credit card companies and cancelled his cards.
‘Nah’ he said ‘I’m pretty sure someone will find it and hand it in’.
‘Yeah’ I replied, ‘You are probably right’ (not really believing it).
A cup of coffee later and a wander around our property with us we all returned to the sun drenched deck to catch up.
Within ten minutes of sitting down his cellphone rang.
Is that Grant? asked the caller.
Yes it is, he replied.
Lost your wallet?
I’ve got it. You still in the area?
No, I’m halfway back to Auckland.
No problem, I’m the local Constable. I’ll courier it down to your local police station in the morning and it’ll be there by lunch time…..
Wallet and all it contained now back in Auckland.
Now this could happen anywhere. I know that. It just seems these things have a much higher chance of happening here in New Zealand.
It would have been very tempting for someone to have held on to that wallet or taken the cash and credit card and dumped it. But they didn’t. They did the right thing.
I reflected on this while scanning the latest crime statistics out of South Africa earlier this week kindly sent to me by a client just before I pack a bag and fly back there. I leave tomorrow morning to give another series of seminars in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban – the aim of which is to try and help people understand what sort of country New Zealand is if they are allowed to come and live here and spend time with those that want it to assess their eligibility to do so.
Crime is sometimes high on South Africans reasons for wanting to emigrate but it isn’t usually number one which beggars belief for me as a Kiwi.
I always talk about crime in New Zealand when I present seminars in South Africa as part of a desire to paint a realistic picture of life here – it ain’t all peaches and cream if it isn't obvious.
When I talk about crime I am quick to remind audiences we are not crime free. I have been burgled. Recently one of my sons had a car window smashed (he wasn’t in it) to gain entry to steal whatever he had in the car (which was nothing). So we have crime but overwhelmingly it is crime against property and not people.
Crime in New Zealand across every category has been falling for over a decade – fewer murders, fewer robberies, fewer burglaries and less violent crime. Safer streets. The one exception is sexual assaults which are statistically increasing – explained however by those that analyse these things to be less of an increase in actual criminal offending and more a willingness to report it by victims. Nothing to be proud of to be sure, one is too many – but if the rate of actual offending isn’t going up, simply more people are willing to report it, it is not a situation getting worse.
South Africa on the other hand is off the charts. The population of South Africa is estimated to be around 55 million (no one really knows). The population of New Zealand has just gone through 4.6 million (we do know). So in rough numbers their population is maybe 11 times our own.
In the past 12 months South Africa reported:
· Murders – 17,500 (up 4.6%). That is no typo. New Zealand had 38.
· Attempted murder – 17,500.
· Sexual offences - 53,000 (down 5.4% - less reporting?)
· Total assaults - 340,000
· Robbery – 55,000
· Carjacking – 12,700 (up 14%). I don’t think NZ had one.
· Robbery of premises 20,000 (up 5%)
To put that murder figure into some perspective, if New Zealanders murdered one another on a similar per capita rate to South Africans we would kill about 1,500 Kiwis a year. A bad year here is 50. A typical year is 35-40.
Got to paint a picture about your odds of being a victim of serious crime here.
Or to put it, another way in the decade the US had troops in Iraq fighting a war they lost about 4400 servicemen and women killed in battle. That people, was a war. And over almost a decade. South Africa (not a war apparently) kills around four times as many of its own citizens on their streets and in their homes as the US lost in a decade long war, every single year.
Quite horrifying numbers, yet there are still plenty of South Africans who live in their houses on the golf estates (protected by armed security) looking out of their windows (burglar guarded and barred) to their lovely gardens (surrounded by 2 metre concrete plastered walls topped with electrified razor wire) wondering why anyone leaves.
My advice is to get out more . Out of the country.
I am amazed how many people tell me that they lead great lives and they aren’t really affected by crime. Where I live we describe such living conditions as a ‘prison’. A guilded cage perhaps, but a cage nonetheless.
And so I return tomorrow to the South African 'war zone' for the last trip for me of 2015.
Packing my Kevlar when I finish writing this. Not really but I do sometimes wonder….
Until next week
Posted by Iain on Feb. 21, 2015, 1:24 p.m. in Immigration
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