All the latest visa and immigration news from New Zealand.
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed New Zealand’s economy into its worst recession in 33 years. Despite this, employment and career site SEEK recently reported that some industries are showing positive signs of growth compared to when the pandemic first hit.
SEEK found this when they collated data from July to August 2020 and compared it to data from March to April 2020. From this data, SEEK identified the top five industries in New Zealand for job ad growth at the moment as well as the 30 fastest-growing jobs in the country.
These were their findings:
1. Top five industries for job ad growth
|Sports and Recreation||125%|
|Farming, Animals and Conservation||83%|
|Consulting and Strategy||76%|
|Hospitality and Tourism||74%|
Hospitality and tourism was one of the country’s hardest-hit industries, so it’s encouraging to see it in this top five. We think it’s safe to say that this performance is thanks to New Zealand’s swift COVID-19 response that has enabled the country to go back to ‘normal’ faster than just about every other nation in the world.
The 30 fastest-growing jobs
|Industry||Role||Job Ad Growth|
|Government and Defence||Government Advisor||108%|
|Healthcare and Medical||Physiotherapist||101%|
|Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics||Storeperson||94%|
|Information and Communication Technology||Project Manager||82%|
|Community Services and Development||Social Worker||71%|
|Hospitality and Tourism||Chef||70%|
|Healthcare and Medical||Registered Nurse||56%|
|Trades and Services||Labourer||52%|
|Administration and Office Support||Receptionist||52%|
|Community Services and Development||Aged and Disability Support Worker||50%|
|Real Estate and Property||Residential Real Estate Sales||48%|
|Healthcare and Medical||Psychologist||32%|
|Sales||Business Development Manager||32%|
|Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics||Drivers||29%|
|Information and Communication Technology||Developer||28%|
|Administration and Office Support||Administrator||27%|
|Administration and Office Support||Executive Assistant||25%|
|Retail and Consumer Products||Merchandiser||17%|
|Administration and Office Support||Personal Assistant||16%|
|Retail and Consumer Products||Store Manager||16%|
|Administration and Office Support||Office Administrator||15%|
|Trades and Services||Cleaner||14%|
|Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics||Machine Operator||13%|
|Information and Communication Technology||Software Engineer||11%|
|Trades and Services||Carpenter||9%|
New Zealand recently had a federal election which explains the appearance of government advisor roles in the top spot. Storeperson roles, in at number three, are most likely on the rise due to changes in consumer behaviour. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many consumers to shopping online which means warehouses are busier than ever and in need of fast, efficient workers to get orders out the door.
But border restrictions are still in place, we hear you say
Yes, New Zealand’s border restrictions are still in place and still affect a lot of people. However, the fact that the job market is recovering is a positive sign of things to come. It means New Zealand’s economy and the country is a whole is starting to recover.
Another sure sign of this is the fact that New Zealand has already opened its borders to some critical workers. So, don’t put your dreams on hold! If you’re serious about moving to New Zealand, continue making it happen.
Our social media team did a poll on Facebook last week to ask our followers if they’re putting their emigration on hold due to COVID-19. Every single person who responded said that they have pressed paused until further notice.
Can you blame them?
New Zealand’s borders are still closed to most people from overseas and no-one can say when this will change.
With that being said, we don’t agree that putting your emigration on hold is the best decision.
Here’s why we say this:
1. New Zealand IS ACCEPTING visa applications under some categories
Immigration New Zealand announced in September that it’s now again accepting visa applications under four categories:
- Parent Retirement
- Migrant Investor (Investor 1 and 2), including Expressions of Interest for Investor 2
- Refugee Family Support (Tiers 1 and 2)
The rationale behind accepting Investor and Entrepreneur visas is that these visas brings investment into New Zealand and add jobs to the economy. This is much-needed in a post-COVID-19 world.
2. There is an ‘other critical worker’ border exemption in place since 11 September 2020
The New Zealand government has relaxed the criteria for some overseas workers to allow migrants with critical skills through the country’s borders. Primarily, the criteria now defines skills as ‘not readily available in New Zealand’ as opposed to ‘not available in New Zealand.’
The Minister of Immigration has said that this wording change reflects that, in some fields, there is a limited pool of experts and significant training would have to be undertaken before the skills were obtainable in New Zealand.
Here’s how it works…
You cannot request approval for the border exemption – it has to come from your New Zealand employer.
Employers can apply to bring employees to New Zealand under two categories:
- Short-term critical workers: Staff needed for less than 6 months in total
- Long-term critical workers: Staff needed for more than 6 months
Each of these categories has its own criteria. If you’d like to know more about these requirements, you can click here.
3. You can complete critical parts of your skilled migrant visa application despite the border closures
Let’s first explain why you’d want to do that. It’s simple. If you complete the critical parts now, you’ll be ready to submit your visa application as soon as the restrictions are lifted. You’ll be streets ahead of migrants who chose to wait and see what happens first.
Our advisors always tell our clients that their focus should be on the long term not the short term!
Let’s now look at some examples of those critical parts that you can tick off your to-do list. It is, for instance, your personal documents such as birth certificates and police clearances.
Keep in mind also that if you’re applying as a skilled worker you may need occupational registration and a qualification assessment. These are known to take long and may take even longer now. It’s therefore much better to start your emigration process sooner rather than later.
4. INZ could change immigration regulations which could mean that you don’t qualify to apply for a visa at all
We do not say this to scare you. This has happened all too often in the past.
Take for example the big changes that were made to Essential Skills visas earlier this year, including that your median wage would determine the family members you can support and in what manner.
Let’s not forget about when INZ closed the Parent Resident visa in October 2019 until February of this year. At the same time, INZ made a number of changes to the visa. One of these changes was capping the number of visas at 1,000 annually.
These changes scuppered many people’s plans!
Remember that generally you’re safe from any changes if your visa application is already in the system when it happens. This is another good reason to start your emigration sooner rather than later.
Ready to get going with your visa application?
If you read all of that and agree with us that the most sensible choice is continuing with your visa application, please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance.
Our advisors can assess your eligibility and work out a personalized immigration plan. Our administrative team can then help you get all the parts together.
The best way to start is with initial immigration assessment. This assessment is free and you can book yours online. You are also welcome to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or to call us on +27 (0) 21 202 8200.
We want to see you realise your dream of living in New Zealand as much as you do, so we’re looking forward to working with you!
No EOI selections for residence under the Skilled Migrant and Parent categories for another 6 months
Immigration New Zealand announced on Monday, 19 October, that it’s deferring the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest under the Skilled Migrant and Parent categories for a further 6 months. The decision to defer this process was first made back in April due to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The New Zealand Government has said that the continued deferral will give INZ the space to focus on processing applications from people who are in New Zealand or people who are eligible to travel while border restrictions are in place.
Can migrants still submit Expressions of Interest?
This is what Intergate Emigration’s licensed advisor Sarah Hewitt had to say when we asked her this question:
“The Expression of Interest for the Parent category is a hard copy that’s couriered to New Zealand, so while EOI selection is closed, migrants are going to be unable to submit EOIs. Applicants will have to wait for the EOI selection to reopen again.
My advice to skilled migrant applicants would be to also wait for EOI selections to reopen again. EOIs from offshore applicants are only eligible for selection with 160 points and a job offer, so it won’t make sense to submit an EOI in the interim. The best plan of action would be to look at the temporary route first and to do an assessment to ensure that you qualify for the visa.”
Contact us if you’d like to explore other visa options
Do you have your heart set on living in New Zealand but you don’t want to wait for the EOI selections to open? Don’t hesitate to contact us to explore other visa options.
You can take the first step by booking a free initial assessment online. You could also email us at email@example.com or call us on +27 (0) 21 202 8200.
We would like to see you realise your dream of making New Zealand your home as much as you do!
Immigration New Zealand has made plenty of changes in September to accommodate certain groups of people despite the country’s ongoing border restrictions.
The latest changes is the decision to start processing and deciding offshore applications for some relationship-based visas and accepting visa applications under selected visa categories.
Relationship-based visas supported by a New Zealander
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) are once again processing some relationship-based visas to reunite families and couples that have separated by the border restrictions. However, a New Zealand citizen or resident has to support the visa.
These visas include the following:
- Visitor visas for partners
- Visitor visas for dependent children
- Visitor visas for children entering New Zealand for adoption
- Visitor visas for children adopted overseas before their New Zealand citizenship is confirmed
- Visitor visas under the culturally arranged marriage category
- Work visas for partners
- Resident visas for partners
- Student visas for dependent children
Successful applicants will be exempt from New Zealand border restrictions. There is no need to seek approval from INZ prior to travelling to New Zealand to enter the country.
What happens if your application is unsuccessful?
If Immigration New Zealand determines that your application does not meet the necessary requirements, a general visitor visa may be appropriate.
Should Immigration New Zealand grant you a general visitor visa instead, INZ will place your application on hold until border restrictions allow them to process general visitor visas.
You’ll have 6 months to enter New Zealand
Travel is still severely restricted the world over. Due to this, successful applicants will get a 6-month ‘First Entry Before’ date to allow for more time to secure flights and managed isolation or quarantine in New Zealand.
Application older than 3 months may need updated information
If your visa application is more than three months old when it’s assessed, Immigration New Zealand may need to ask for updated information. For instance, a new chest x-ray certificate.
Immigration New Zealand will notify you or your immigration advisor if updated information is needed.
Offshore applications accepted under selected visa categories
You can now apply for a visa under the following categories if you’re doing so from offshore:
- Refugee Family Support (Tiers 1 and 2)
- Migrant Investor (Investor 1 and 2), including Expressions of Interest for Investor 2
- Parent Retirement
While Immigration New Zealand is going to accept applications for these visas, border restrictions means that INZ cannot grant the visas at the moment. However, INZ has said that they’ll process applications as far as is possible without granting approval.
With that said, your visa application is not guaranteed approval. Immigration New Zealand could still reject your application if you don’t meet the requirements.
Why did Immigration New Zealand decide to accept Entrepreneur and Investor visas?
The answer from Immigration New Zealand is that the Entrepreneur and Investor visa categories attracts around NZ$1 billion in investments each year in addition to valuable business networks.
INZ thus expects that processing these visa categories will support the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and wider government post-COVID-19 recovery plan.
How long will it take to process these applications?
Unfortunately, Immigration New Zealand are not able to prioritise any of the visa applications discussed here. INZ has said that their staff will process applications in the order by which the applications were received.
You can have a look at standard processing times on Immigration New Zealand’s website.
Do you need assistance with your visa application? We can help!
While you don’t have to use an advisor to assist you with your visa application, it is advisable to do so. Especially now when things are changing often!
Our advisors are experienced and all three advisors are also IAA licensed. This means our advisors are authorized to give advice and are held accountable for the advice they give our clients.
To get in touch with our advisors, simply give us a call on +27 (0) 21 424 2460 or book your free initial assessment on our website. You’ll hear from us within 1 hour!
The New Zealand government has relaxed the criteria for some overseas workers to allow migrants with critical skills through the border. The purpose of the decision is to help the country recover from its COVID-19 economic downturn.
Primarily, the criteria now defines skills as ‘not readily available’ in New Zealand as opposed to ‘not available in New Zealand’, and the change came into effect on Friday, 11 September.
Skills now described as ‘not readily obtainable’ in New Zealand
The New Zealand government has removed the requirement that migrants in critical occupations have to have gained their skills, qualifications or work experience overseas.
As reported by Radio New Zealand (RNZ), Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said “Removing that requirement will allow entry, in some limited cases, where, for example, a workers has skills which are obtainable in New Zealand but they have unique experience gained overseas which would bring unique expertise to New Zealand businesses.”
The wording in the Immigration Act ordinarily states that these workers have to have unique experience and technical specialist skills that are ‘not obtainable’ in New Zealand. This wording has now been changed to ‘not readily obtainable’ in New Zealand to reflect that temporary change in requirements.
Minister Faafoi said about this that the “…wording change reflects that, in some fields, there is a very limited pool of experts and significant training would have to be undertaken before the skills were obtainable in New Zealand.”
Critical workers who meet the requirements are referred to as ‘other critical workers’.
It’s still far from a ‘free for all’
While New Zealand is working towards economic recovery, the country also wants to limit its exposure to the coronavirus and prevent the spread of the virus. To this end, ’other critical workers’ will still have to meet strict standards and criteria despite the loosening of the skills requirement.
New Zealand also has a limited number of isolation facilities for migrants arriving from overseas. This further restricts how many workers would be able to come through the borders.
Here’s how the process works…
New Zealand employers must request for approval of ‘other critical workers’ to enter New Zealand. Unfortunately, it is not possible for migrants to submit the request.
Further to this, employers can apply to bring employees to New Zealand under two categories:
- Short-term critical workers – staff needed for less than 6 months in total
- Long-term critical workers – staff needed for more than 6 months
Each of these categories has its own criteria:
Short-term critical workers
Workers coming to New Zealand for a short-term role, i.e. to fill a position for less than 6 months, must:
- Have unique experience and technical or specialists skills that are not readily obtainable in New Zealand, or
- Undertake a time-critical role for:
- The delivery of an approved major infrastructure project, or a government approved event or a major government-approved programme
- An approved government-to-government agreement
- Work that brings significant wider benefit to the national or regional economy
Examples of short-term critical workers
Immigration New Zealand has given examples of roles that may meet the short-term worker requirements. These examples include highly specialist veterinarians, vendor-appointed engineers required to install major equipment or an actor in a key film role.
Long-term critical workers
Workers coming to New Zealand to fill a long-term role, i.e. for 6 months or longer, must:
- Earn at least twice the median salary (NZD$106,080 a year), or
- Have a role that is essential for the completion or continuation of a science programme under a government funded or partially government-funded contract including research and development exchanges and partnerships, and has the support of the Science, Innovation and International Branch at MBIE to travel to New Zealand to carry out their work, or
- Be undertaking a role that is essential for the delivery or execution of:
- a government-approved event, or
- major government-approved programme, or
- approved major infrastructure project.
You can find events, project and programmes that have already been approved on Immigration New Zealand.
What happens once the employer has made the request?
Immigration New Zealand will review each request on its own merits and may seek advice from the appropriate government agencies. At the moment, most requests for ‘other critical workers’ receive an outcome within two weeks.
In the case of successful requests, INZ will contact the workers whose employers get approval for an exception to the border restrictions and invite the workers to apply for a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa or a Critical Purpose Variation of Conditions to allow them to travel to New Zealand.
Workers will get instructions from INZ on how to apply for either of these visas. Workers will also have to pay the immigration fee and levies, if applicable, as part of their application.
Follow us to stay up to date with further developments
New Zealand has made a couple of immigration changes in September, including the resumption of off-shore visa application processing and visa extensions for certain residents.
It is safe to assume that more changes will be announced in future as the coronavirus pandemic subsides.
You’ll not only get visa news but also tips for your immigration and information about life in New Zealand.
Ongoing coronavirus border closures means that many people are still stuck on either side of New Zealand’s borders. This includes resident visa holders and partners of New Zealanders who are overseas as well as temporary migrants and visitors who are still in New Zealand.
To assist these groups of people, Immigration New Zealand has announced four visa changes:
1. Visa extensions for New Zealand residents overseas
New Zealand residents who are stranded overseas fall into two groups:
- Residents with visas that have expired or are close to expiring
- Residents who have received their visas but haven’t had the chance to enter New Zealand due to the world-wide border closures
Immigration New Zealand has said that it recognizes that these people have recently met residency requirements and would’ve entered New Zealand and contributed to the economy under normal circumstances.
For these reasons, Immigration New Zealand has decided to do either one of the following for visa holders who are overseas:
- A 12-month visa extension, for offshore resident visa holders whose travel conditions are about to expire
- Issue a new visa that’ll be valid for 12 months, for offshore resident visa holders whose travel conditions expired on or after 2 February 2020
Offshore resident visa holders who were granted their resident visas while overseas but who have never used it to travel to New Zealand will need permission from Immigration New Zealand to do so.
2. Visitor visa extensions
Immigration New Zealand is automatically extending onshore visitor visas that are due to expire between 4 September and the end of October by 5 months.
This will enable temporary migrants and visitors to remain in New Zealand lawfully while making plans to depart the country.
Immigration New Zealand will contact all eligible visa holders who qualify for this extension. Unfortunately, there are some visitor visa categories that do not qualify. These categories are:
- Critical purpose visa holders
- Guardians of students
- Partners or dependants of work visa holders whose visas were extended previously
3. New COVID-19 short-term visitor visa
Immigration New Zealand is introducing a two-month COVID-19 visitor visa for temporary migrants who are still in New Zealand. The visa will allow these migrants more time to arrange their departure from New Zealand.
This specifically includes people reaching the end of their visitor, work, student or partnership visa who do not meet the criteria for another visa.
The most important requirement to note about this visitor visa is that it does not allow the visa holder to work in New Zealand.
For more details about the COVID-19 short-term visitor visa, go to Immigration New Zealand.
4. Critical Purpose Visitor Visa expansion to reunite New Zealanders and their Australian partners
From early October, Australian partners of New Zealand citizens or residents can travel to New Zealand by requesting a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa. Partners can also request permission to travel for dependent children.
At the moment, Australian partners can only travel to New Zealand if accompanied by their New Zealand partner or if they ordinarily live in New Zealand.
It will cost NZ$45 to submit the request for the visa, but there won’t be a visa application fee.
You can read more about the Critical Purpose Visitor Visa here.
What about partners from visa waiver countries?
Partners from visa waiver countries can also request to apply for a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa. The same NZ$45 fee will apply and you’ll also have to pay a visa application fee.
Stay up to date with future changes by joining our newsletter
September has seen a lot of immigration changes. INZ has also announced the loosening of border restrictions for ‘other critical workers’ and that it will resume the processing of some offshore visa applications.
It is likely that we’ll see more changes from Immigration New Zealand as the world continues to battle the coronavirus.
To stay up to date, simply sign up for our monthly newsletter. Our newsletter also include immigration tips and information about life in New Zealand.
New Zealand is a dream immigration destination for many people looking for a better life. Unfortunately, some migrants go there and then find themselves working for a boss who exploits them.
These employers are in the minority, but the New Zealand Government has had enough. The Government has now committed to spending NZ$50 million over the next four years to introduce changes that’ll reduce the risk of exploitation in the workplace.
Changes implemented will prevent worker exploitation, protect temporary migrant workers and deter employer non-compliance
Temporary New Zealand work visas are tied to specific employers. This makes it near impossible for migrants to leave exploitative situations.
To enable migrants to leave these situations without negatively affecting their immigration status, the Government has undertaken to create a new temporary work visa for this purpose.
The Government will also set up a free telephone number and reporting services to receive and handle complaints about exploitative work situations. This will ensure that there is a dedicate focus on dealing with complaints. It will also help build a better understanding of the nature and scale of the problem.
In tandem with these change, the Government will set higher standards for franchises, labour hire companies and similar businesses where migrant exploitation often occurs.
Further to this, the Government wants to:
- Disqualify employers convicted of migrant exploitation from managing or directing a company
- Prevent exploitative employers from accessing migrant labour in the future
- Establish new immigration and employment infringement offences targeting non-compliant employer behavior
Government will launch an awareness campaign to support the changes
Protecting migrant workers will also require that temporary workers know their rights and that employers are aware of their obligations.
To achieve both of these goals, the Government will launch an awareness campaign to educate both migrant workers and employers on labour matters.
At the same time, the Government will also make the general public aware of migrant exploitation. This, we suspect, to empower the public to assist in the fight against workers being taken advantage of by employers.
Employment rights continued to be enforced in the meantime
While the Government is implementing these changes, the relevant labour departments will continue to enforce and monitor existing employment rights in workplaces across New Zealand. This includes rights like minimum wages and leave entitlements.
The New Zealand Government has decided to crack down on exploitative employers. The goal is to create better work environments for temporary migrant workers.
In order to achieve this goal, a number of changes will be implemented over the next four years. These changes aim to protect migrant workers while holding New Zealand employers accountable for their actions.
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) made two significant changes to the Essential Skills visas on 27 July 2020.
INZ will now use median-wage thresholds to assess visa applications instead of skill levels and INZ has reduced the maximum stay duration of Essential Skills Visas for higher-skilled positions.
These changes only apply to visa applications made on or after 27 July 2020.
Median wage thresholds have replaced skill levels
If you applied for an Essential Skills Visa prior to 27 July 2020, Immigration New Zealand will use a combination of your job’s ANZSCO skill level and your salary to assess if you are low, mid or high skilled.
This system is no longer in use for applications made on or after 27 July. INZ will use a median-wage threshold as an indicator of skills instead.
This means Essential Skills visa applicants are now being assessed as either:
- at or above the median wage, or
- below the median wage.
INZ will use the current median wage of NZ$25,50 an hour when assessing Essential Skills visa applications.
The maximum duration of visas for higher-skilled shortened
Your skill level has always determined how long you can stay on your Essential Skills Visa.
This has gone through many changes over the past couple of years but the maximum stay for higher-skilled applicants has always been 5 years.
Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. Higher-skilled applicants who make visa applications on or after 27 July 2020 will now only be eligible for a maximum stay duration of up to 3 years.
This is how INZ will determine maximum stays:
- You earn at or above the median wage: You’re eligible for a visa of up to 3 years. There is no longer a 5-year visa for higher-skilled jobs.
- You earn below the median wage: You’re eligible for a visa of up to 6 months. The maximum combined duration of all work visas for jobs paying below the median wage is 3 years. After that time, you’ll be subject to a stand-down period of 12 months.
What is a stand-down period?
A stand-down period is a period during which you have to be outside of New Zealand before being able to apply for another visa for work that’s below the median wage.
You’ll have to honour a stand-down period if you:
- were assessed as lower-skilled if you applied for your visa before 27 July 2020, or
- earn below the median wage if you apply on or after 27 July 2020.
This stand-down applied even while INZ is processing a Skilled Migrant visa application.
The stand-down is delayed for 6 months for some visa holders
If you were in New Zealand on 10 July 2020 and you have an Essential Skills visa that’ll expire before 31 December 2020, your visa will be extended for 6 months and your stand-down period will be delayed.
You can read more about the duration of stay on Essential Skills visa on Immigration New Zealand’s website.
Supporting accompanying family members
You’re still able to support family members who want to join you in New Zealand, but the ‘how’ will also be determined by the median-wage threshold:
- You earn at or above the median wage: You can support a work or visitor visa for your partner as well as visitor or student visas for your dependent children.
- You earn below the median wage: You can support your partner for a visitor visa. If your partner would like to work in New Zealand, they’d have to apply for a work visa in their own right once they’re in New Zealand. You can also support visitor or student visas for your dependent children, provided you meet the minimum income threshold, which is currently NZ$43,322.76 or more.
Stay up to date with future changes
To be in the know as and when any future visa changes happen, simply sign up for our newsletter. It’s free and lands in your inbox once a month. Alternatively, follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn where we share immigration news as soon as it’s announced.
New Zealand moved to alert level 1 at midnight on 8 June. This means life returned to just about normal for New Zealanders. There are no restrictions on going to work, school, socializing, sports and domestic travel.
But what does it mean to you as a visa holder, visa applicant or person who was hopeful to immigrate to New Zealand in the future? Especially considering that New Zealand still have border restrictions in place for the foreseeable future.
Let’s look at all the scenarios currently in play:
You’re living in New Zealand
When New Zealand’s lockdown started the partners and dependants of New Zealand citizens and residents could only travel to New Zealand with the New Zealander. Unfortunately, this meant that some families were split up. Thankfully, New Zealand has since decided that partners and dependants can travel to New Zealand on their own.
New Zealand has also decided to extend all work, visa, student, visitor or limited or interim visas with an expiry date of 2 April to 9 July 2002 until 25 September 2020. That’s provided you were in New Zealand on 2 April. Immigration New Zealand is emailing confirmation of these extensions to all eligible visa holders.
You’re living in New Zealand and you have a visa application in the system
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is processing onshore applications and has increased its visa processing capacity. This was possible due to INZ staff being able to return to their offices.
Unfortunately, all of INZ’s offshore offices remain closed.
INZ resumed the processing of residence applications on 14 May 2020 and is prioritizing applications from applicants who are in the country and from critical workers or applicants with a high income or occupational registration.
Temporary visa applications
INZ is prioritizing temporary visa applications from applicants who are critical workers to support the Government’s response to COVID-19. Furthermore, INZ is giving precedence to temporary visa applicants who are in New Zealand.
INZ has said that further changes to the prioritization criteria may be required as international travel restrictions change and more information becomes available about the effects of COVID-19 on the domestic labour market.
It is important to also note that you could expect an increase in processing times as INZ has advised that there will be an increase in the time and effort it takes to process some visa applications.
Skilled Migrant and Parent category applications
INZ has postponed selections for Expressions of Interest in the Skilled Migrant Category and Parent category until further notice. While this is sure to be disappointing if you’re a visa applicant in either of these categories, please take comfort in the fact that it is only a temporary measure.
You want to immigrate to New Zealand
The current situation is unfortunately conspiring against anyone who’s yet to officially start their immigration to New Zealand.
With that being said, you don’t have to give up on your dream of living in New Zealand!
We chatted to Sarah Hewitt, our licensed advisor for New Zealand, and she had the following to say:
“In my opinion, once borders open up, New Zealand will be in dire need of skilled migrants that can fulfill the occupations that we have constantly dealt with over the past few years. For instance; mechanics. engineers, teachers and electricians. For applicants in those core occupations that have always been in shortage, I would recommend preparing documents in readiness for your future immigration plans and have an assessment performed.”
It is our recommendation that you do work with a licensed advisor at this stage. The temporary regulations, exceptions and exemptions announced in response to COVID-19 are changing regularly. It would be near impossible to stay on top of it all on your own.
Here’s one more thing you can while you wait for New Zealand to open…
Learn all you can about immigrating to and living in New Zealand
Make the most of the time you have right now be educating yourself on immigration to New Zealand and the country itself. Below are a couple of our blog posts that you use to kick off your reading:
- Your New Zealand immigration options: To help you understand your visa options and your visa application options.
- The criteria to emigrate to New Zealand: Familiarise yourself with the criteria for the visas in which you’re interested.
- 4 Uncomfortable truths about emigrating – plus the good news: Set yourself up with realistic expectations from the start.
- The cost of living for New Zealand as well as the three main cities: Give yourself a real understanding of how much it costs to live in New Zealand
- 10 New Zealand job agencies: If you prep and get your CV out, you’ll be one step ahead of the competition.
- Moving abroad with your family: Know the actionable steps to take to make a move overseas easier on your family.
- Make your relationship last when moving overseas with your partner: Moving abroad is incredibly stressful but with these tips your relationship don’t have to suffer!
- The best places to raise a family in New Zealand: Eight cities and towns across New Zealand offering everything from big city life to action-packed activities.
- FAQs: Education in New Zealand: 13 Questions about New Zealand’s schooling system plus the answers.
Stay in touch to know about future developments
The exceptions and temporary regulations changes New Zealand have made so far is sure not to be the last. As the coronavirus becomes less of threat, the borders are sure to open even more. This in turn could also ensure that things with visa applications slowly return to normal.
In a previous post, we shared the news that the Immigration (COVID-19 Response) Amendment Bill was introduced to New Zealand’s parliament on Tuesday, 5 May 2020. Now we can tell you that the government passed the bill on 13 May 2020.
What is it that the Bill allows?
Immigration (COVID-19 Response) Amendment Bill passed on 13 May 2020
Minister of Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway explains it in his press release that was published last week:
“The Immigration (COVID-19 Response) Amendment Bill 2020 allows us to amend the Act so we have the necessary flexibility and efficiency to address the unprecedented challenge of managing large numbers of migrants who are practically unable to leave New Zealand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or who live in New Zealand but are offshore and are facing difficulty returning.”
In a nutshell, the Immigration (COVID-19 Response) Amendment Bill enables the New Zealand Government to respond quickly, appropriately and efficiently to immigration issues arising from the coronavirus pandemic.
There were concerns from some corners – including our own office – prior to the New Zealand Government passing the bill. These concerns were specifically around the type of visa applicants the Bill will affect. Minister Lees –Galloway has provided some clarity about this by mentioning in his press release that the New Zealand government “…won’t [be] revoking visas or suspending onshore applications. Any special direction made under the Amendment Act will not disadvantage visa holders.”
The Bill introduces eight time-limited powers
As we explained above, the Amendment Bill enables the New Zealand Government to amend visa conditions for groups of people. The Bill also enables the government to extend visas for groups of people for varying periods of time. The purpose of the latter is to enable Immigration New Zealand to stagger the processing of visa applications whenever people need or want to stay longer in New Zealand.
Further to the above, the Amendment Bill also enables the government to waive visa requirements for groups of people. The Bill also makes provision for preventing groups of people overseas from applying for visas when it is impossible to travel to New Zealand due to border restrictions.
All of these changes to the Immigration Act are available for 12 months and are captured in these eight powers:
- imposing, varying or cancelling conditions for classes of temporary entry class visa holders
- varying or cancelling conditions for classes of resident class visa holders
- extending the expiry dates of visas for classes of people
- granting visas to individuals or classes of people in the absence of an application
- waiving any regulatory requirements for certain classes of application, in other words any requirements that applicants have to meet to have their application accepted by INZ for assessment
- waiving the requirement to obtain a transit visa
- suspending the ability to make applications for visas or submit Expressions of Interest in applying for visas by classes of people who are overseas
- revoking the entry permission of people who are deemed to have obtained entry permission
Where does this leave us?
In our opinion, there are still uncertainties. If we go back to our earlier post on the Bill, you’ll see that the changes that worry us the most are those that now make it possible for the government to stop groups of people from applying for visas and to stop groups of people from submitting Expressions of Interest.
We’re going to keep a close eye on the situation to see how the government and Immigration New Zealand acts upon the changes introduced to the Immigration Act.
Our advice to you stays the same…
It is now more important than ever that you know if you’re eligible for immigration and that you understand the process of applying for a visa seeing that it’ll soon be much more complicated.
For these reasons, we suggest that you book a free and non-obligatory consultation with us. During this consultation, our consultant will explain the application process. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.
Interested? Then book your free consultation online today!