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Posted by Iain on June 14, 2019, 5:04 p.m. in IMMagine
Having stepped off a plane from South Africa, a client asked me a couple of questions. The first was whether New Zealand is now going to give preferential entry and permanent residency to Muslims over everybody else. I looked sideways at the client not quite sure if she was pulling my leg or not. I said, no, Muslims will continue to be treated just like everybody else. She followed that up with a second question asking if it true that the Christian churches of New Zealand are now being knocked down and mosques being built in their place?
Posted by Iain on June 7, 2019, 8:23 p.m. in Immigration
I wrote a few weeks ago about the critical importance of filing ‘decision ready’ work visa applications in order to minimise the risk of the application being deemed ‘high touch’ (in English, requiring closer scrutiny) and being placed in an allocation queue which can mean four months simply to allocate to an officer for processing. One of the four criteria that will see a work visa allocated to the slow queue is a medical certificate and tests that are not able to be immediately ‘auto cleared’ as indicating an acceptable standard of health.
Posted by Iain on May 31, 2019, 4:45 p.m. in Education
Earlier this week tens of thousands of Teachers went on strike across New Zealand. As they marched up Queen Street and past our offices they were chanting “What do we want? Teachers! When do we want them? Now!” I don't believe anyone in New Zealand takes strike action without good cause and in this case I think the Teachers have very good reason to send a very strong signal to the government.
Posted by Myer on May 26, 2019, 9:21 p.m. in Australia
It was supposed to be the “unloseable” election, so how did the Labor party manage to wake up on Sunday morning nursing an almighty hangover from Saturday’s general election in Australia? Already the memes are out with perhaps the cruelest one being “losing the “unloseable” election Bill Shorten (leader of the opposition) shall forever be known as Billary”.
Posted by Iain on May 17, 2019, 5:13 p.m. in Healthcare
I could not tell you the last time we had a work visa declined on medical grounds, but plenty require scrutiny by the Department’s medical assessors. That can add weeks to the process. Recent analysis of our own applications for work visas for skilled migrants saw around 25% of the 350 we have filed in the past year requiring a recommendation by the departmental doctors on approving or not.
Posted by Iain on May 10, 2019, 1:37 p.m. in Immigration
Every government likes to put their own stamp on things when they come into power to demonstrate that they are ‘doing things’. I remember being told this many years ago by a new Minister of Immigration over a coffee who changed the name (but nothing else) of the Appeal Authority. When I asked her why it was done given the cost involved to the tax payer (think how much it must cost a government department to simply change stationary letterhead for example), she looked at me and smiled and said "We all do it, it's called stamping our name on things’. The taxpayer be damned, obviously.
Posted by Iain on May 3, 2019, 3:32 p.m. in Immigration
I have no intention of this blog becoming a weekly whine about dealing with the Immigration Department. I do appreciate that their inefficiency, inconsistency and often downright stupidity creates a lot of very rewarding work for my team and I. Many in my industry live by the mantra that ‘change is good and chaos is better’, but I can only take so much of it.
Posted by Iain on April 26, 2019, 12:28 p.m. in Immigration
The system is thoroughly broken. It is a rudderless ship without a captain, the first mate and senior officers huddled in a cabin removed from the ship’s staff and a significant number of the men and women below decks on the oars are untrained and inexperienced and seem to be pulling the engine levers randomly oars in different directions. The ship’s owners just look the other way defending the fact the ship is going round and round in circles and not getting anywhere.
Posted by Iain on April 12, 2019, 1:57 p.m. in New Zealand Jobs
As clients contemplate the ’lead weight in the pit of their stomach’ prospect of leaving home, usually resigning their job and flying to New Zealand to find work, I reassure them that, particularly in respect of South Africa, you could not be talking about two more different labour markets. Our biggest challenge today is too many jobs being created and not enough people. That’s right - we, in the private sector, are creating thousands of jobs a month, and we have a government doing little or nothing to help us fill them. There’s an Immigration Department standing in the way.
Posted by Iain on April 5, 2019, 5:05 p.m. in Immigration
A client of ours, seven days off the plane in Wellington, has today signalled his displeasure with the impact of “damp". Yes, that’s right, damp. He is thinking of returning to South Africa. While it would be easy to dismiss this as a little silly given he’s only been in the country a few days, it does highlight a very genuine problem that we have as immigration advisers.
Posted by Myer on March 29, 2019, 8:43 p.m. in Australia
Earlier this week our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, made the announcement of a 15% reduction in the annual migration quota from 190,000 to 160,000 ostensibly to reduce infrastructure pressure in the major cities of Melbourne and Sydney with the introduction of two new visa subclasses that encourage regional migration. When you examine the detail the announcement it should be seen for what it is, electioneering for the upcoming general election in May. The coalition government is behind in the polls and needs to appease voters, particularly in Sydney (where 63% of those polled feel levels of migration are too high) and Melbourne as the growth in infrastructure cannot keep pace with the net migration levels. It was in the context of this background that the Prime Minister made his recent announcement.
Posted by Iain on March 21, 2019, 5:18 p.m. in Terrorism
"Mayhem in Christchurch" Those were the three words from my wife that greeted me as soon as I was within wifi range. My cellphone ‘pinged’ with incoming messages, as our boat skipped across a dead calm South China Sea on Friday last week. ‘Not another earthquake?’ was my first thought.
Posted by Iain on March 15, 2019, 3:52 p.m. in Australia
Earlier this week the Australian Federal government released its twice-yearly update of occupations that it has added (or removed, or shifted to some other list). As one might expect this has led to a flurry of enquiries from people whose occupations have suddenly appeared; in particular, on the Medium and Long Term Strategic Shortage List (MLTSSL).
Posted by Myer on March 13, 2019, 1:06 p.m. in Australia
On 11 March certain changes were made to the lists of occupations suitable for different subclasses of visas in Australia, and if you have been reading these changes as reported in the media, you would be excused for being confused. The problem is that the media reporting treats these changes as being changes to a single list when in reality there are different lists that apply to different types of visas.
Posted by Iain on March 8, 2019, 5:34 p.m. in Immigration
If there existed an Immigration Fairy who could grant us just one wish, it would be that the Immigration Department was consistent in what it did and the decisions it made. In my case this has been a 30 year wish; still unfulfilled. Consistency offers migrants, living in ‘no mans land’, the ability to make concrete plans based on reasonable expectations.
Posted by Iain on March 1, 2019, 5:47 p.m. in Tax
From 1 March 2020 the South African government is going to impose taxation on South African tax residents who are living abroad of up to 45% of the foreign employment income which exceeds R1 million per year. That's the bad news.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 22, 2019, 4:35 p.m. in New Zealand Weather
Summer 2019 is on track to be the driest summer since records began over 70 years ago. Historically, in January we can expect around 70 mm of rain which is usually received thanks to weakening tropical cyclones that charge down from the Pacific, dump 20 to 30 mm of rain in a couple of hours and then move off. None so far this year and the cracks in the ground are in places wide enough to lose a small child down (okay, not quite, but 3-4cm across).
Posted by Iain on Feb. 15, 2019, 4:52 p.m. in Immigration
How interesting that in my discussion with a senior official last week, when I asked how they are prioritising work visas, the first criteria was more closely vetting the employer! Hang on a minute I thought, the government only released a discussion paper proposing that in December, they haven't yet completed the consultation period with ‘stakeholders’, let alone had the Government sign anything off, we have had no changes to the rulebook, yet I am being told that in effect the policy is already in place? The whole process is a shambles. At a time when New Zealand has never needed skilled migrants more and ironically this government relies on bringing enough skilled workers to deliver on its (dumb) promises to build 100,000 affordable houses over 10 years or reduce class sizes by finding 900 teachers, they remain controlled by an immigration department that continues to overpromise and under deliver.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 8, 2019, 2:10 p.m. in Parent Category
The Government announced last week that they were "hoping" to make a decision on what they're going to do with one of the two parent category residence pathways by the middle of this year. Hoping? They don’t have a plan? A little over two years ago, the then Government, ‘temporarily’ closed the category most commonly used by parents to join their migrant children. Although they justified it at the time by saying there were more than enough applications in the system to fill the next two or three years’ worth of annual quota, I think the real truth was that the government was looking to as quickly as possible get net migration figures back down to a more historical norm as political pressures grew. Parents represented "low hanging fruit”.
Posted by admin on Feb. 1, 2019, 3:46 p.m. in New Zealand
I asked Tracy Kruger to share with us, her and her family’s experiences in making the move from South Africa to Ashburton, Te Wai Pounamu (South Island) of New Zealand. I asked her to be brutal and open. Here is what she has to say (and thanks a heap Tracy for taking the time to share your experiences). “Stay away from the Facebook groups and buy lots of beer, you are going to need it.” Iain.
Posted by Iain on Jan. 25, 2019, 3:04 p.m. in Work Visa
This week I’ve been part of a group of Advisers pulling together a submission to take to government on the proposed changes to work visa policy. I am never quite sure whether it is worthwhile making submissions to an ideologically driven government that has certain ideas in its political head not supported by any real evidence but I've decided to chip in anyway given the importance of this issue.
Posted by Iain on Jan. 18, 2019, 2:13 p.m. in Australia
D.A.M.A. - the hottest four letters in Australian immigration circles this month. It stands for Designated Area Migration Agreements but it should stand for Dishonest Attempt at Marketing Australia.
Posted by Iain on Jan. 11, 2019, 3:17 p.m. in New Zealand Economy
Worsening skills shortages and dealing with it will dominate as the Government recognises we simply do not have the people or the skills to fill the tens of thousands of jobs that continue to be created here every year. The immigration year began, as it usually does, with the perennial whining of Immigration New Zealand about backlogs in processing everything from visitor, student and work visas to the allocation and processing of skilled migrant resident visas.
Posted by Iain on Dec. 21, 2018, 10:34 a.m. in Government
A few weeks ago I had an email exchange with a very senior immigration manager and I asked why evidence being presented by South Africans with their visa applications was being scrutinised more than ever before. He said, “because they lie”. That struck me as a bit harsh.
Posted by Iain on Dec. 7, 2018, 2:06 p.m. in Immigration
Not a day goes by in my working life when I am not reminded of my four golden rules I trot out at every seminar and every consultation having worked alongside the Immigration Department and the hundreds of officers that have come and go down the years. I always advise those that wish to draw on my 30 years of dealing with bureaucratic madness, that in order to survive the migration process without losing your mind: Assume nothing about your eligibility. Suspend logic. Just when you think you understand the rules your visa will be processed by an immigration officer who does not understand them. Read with great caution what you read on the Immigration Department website - much of the time it’s as if there are no rules and they make them up as they go along. If you get this 98% right, you will not be joining us in NZ or Australia.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 30, 2018, 7:24 p.m. in Visitor Visa
I have on a number of occasions down the years tried to impress upon the senior policy managers inside INZ and the politicians (when they will talk with us) how disconnected the (three) visa process is for skilled migrants from labour market reality and what New Zealand employers want. And how that hinders in achieving the aims of the skilled migrant residence programme.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 23, 2018, 4:33 p.m. in New Zealand Employment
If they were to now even be seen to allowing more people to enter the country, when all they might do is fill their own quotas/targets I have no doubt the media would tear them to shreds. If there is one thing the media does not like it is hypocritical politicians. Overall however, the fact that net migration is falling any objective assessment makes it clear the government would now be justified in easing that skilled migrant pass mark which would allow more people to qualify for the Job-search Work Visa without needing a job offer first. Right now only around 3% of all skilled migrants can attain 160 points without the offer of skilled employment.
Posted by Jack on Nov. 16, 2018, 12:50 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
Last week I quoted that great modern poet, Oprah Winfrey, cough cough, who described Queenstown and its surrounds as a place where ‘God was just showing off’. I endorsed that summary of this part of New Zealand, she was bang on the money. I am not sure if she made it to Fiordland or if she ever walked the Milford Track, something I have been waiting 40 years to do and have spent the better part of the past week doing. If she had, I suspect even she might have been rendered speechless. If the Big O made it that far she might agree with me when I suggest God may have been showing off in Queenstown but in Fiordland, God created a playground for giants in what is arguably the prettiest garden in the world. God, it seems, was also a bit of a dab hand at landscape gardening.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 9, 2018, 1:54 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
I have been in beautiful Queenstown the past few days, working and getting ready for our five day hike along the Milford Track which starts at sun up tomorrow. Queenstown is without doubt my favourite New Zealand city. When I help clients plan their ‘Look, See and Decide’ trips to NZ, I always encourage them, no matter what the purpose of their trip, to squeeze a few days staying in this beautiful part of Te Wai Pounamu (South Island). There is no place like it on Earth. Bold claim I know.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 2, 2018, 4:41 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
I really love this time of year in northern New Zealand. It is now late spring/early summer; the days are getting longer, the days more consistently brighter and warmer. We do however still have colder snaps and the shorts and tee shirts are replaced by jeans and hoodies.
Posted by Iain on Oct. 26, 2018, 6:49 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
My marketing team tell me no one wants to read my blogs about lifestyle; apparently the most popular blogs are about topics like what sort of relationship evidence will satisfy your average immigration officer if you are trying to get your partner a visa, or how you get jobs without visas and visas without jobs or why time is your enemy. To them I say, fine, I get it, but our work at IMMagine is as much about preparing people for the kind of life they can or will have in New Zealand (or Australia), as it is about getting them here.
Posted by Iain on Oct. 19, 2018, 4:14 p.m. in Immigration
Last week I wrote a piece titled ‘Time is your enemy’ and it was meant to convey the simple but important message that Governments don’t wait for you when it comes to residence and visas. When you consult with us we give you a snapshot of what your visa points or residence eligibility will be at some future point in time. No one that comes to see us is able to avoid waiting at least a few months from the time they decide to migrate to actually filing their visa applications and locking themselves into a set of known rules on the day the Government receipts their visa application. Given those rules can and often do change, particularly in Australia, the risk all migrants take increases with every day that passes without any visa being filed.
Posted by Iain on Oct. 12, 2018, 5:24 p.m. in Immigration
Time is every migrant’s enemy. I trot this very good advice out consultation after consultation, hour after hour, day after day and have been for year after year. The longer you leave it to file your resident visa application in New Zealand or Permanent Residence Visa in Australia, the greater the risk of changes to the rules. Migrants tend to forget that advice once, in their minds, they have decided to make a move. They make the decision to move today but it is usually many months before they can file anything and in that time Governments can, and do, move the policy goal posts. Governments on the whole have little regard nor care for what a potential immigrant might have sacrificed, invested or given up to get into a position where they can file residence papers.
Posted by Iain on Oct. 5, 2018, 3:08 p.m. in Politics
Last weekend NZ First, the smallest but most powerful of the three parties making up the New Zealand Government proposed at their annual conference, making immigrants and refugees declare their belief in New Zealand values.
Posted by Iain on Sept. 28, 2018, 2:29 p.m. in Skilled Migrant Category
Part of the mystery to applicants is how immigration officers decide if the job they hold in New Zealand is a ‘substantial match’ to the skilled job descriptions in the Australia New Zealand Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO).
Posted by Myer on Sept. 21, 2018, 4:34 p.m. in Australia
One of the categories of occupations most needed in Australia and New Zealand is the 'tradie' or tradesmen, yet recent changes to Australia’s general skilled migration visa program have made it more difficult for the tradie to qualify and will encourage more of them to move to New Zealand. Australia’s loss will ultimately be New Zealand’s gain.
Posted by Iain on Sept. 14, 2018, 6:30 p.m. in Education
Earlier this week the unions that represent primary school teachers agreed to consider an 'across the board' pay rise, with something going to all public sector primary level teachers, but more going to those with greater experience. Teachers will vote on it next week. Reaching some agreement with the primary teaching sector is critical if the Government is to make any dent in the projected 3000 teacher shortfall expected by early 2020 which would be less a crisis as much as an education armageddon.
Posted by Iain on Sept. 7, 2018, 10:32 a.m. in Immigration
Given that getting a skilled job offer in New Zealand is, for most ‘skilled’ migrants, central to the chances of securing residence, he asked the very reasonable question ‘How, Iain, do you make people understand that they, for the most part, need to accept success comes with resigning their jobs, jumping on planes and going to New Zealand to try and find work?’ My reply went something along the lines of ‘Because they have no choice. If they want to live here that’s what they have to do’. I think there was an expletive beginning with ‘f’ in the middle of that sentence somewhere.
Posted by Iain on Aug. 31, 2018, 5:27 p.m. in Immigration
The ongoing purge of the international student market in New Zealand has continued with the Government recently releasing new criteria for those who wish to come here and study with a view to using that course as a stepping stone toward residence. Although well heralded, this Government is seemingly prepared to throw the several billion export dollars a year this industry has been worth to the economy and the 35,000 jobs it supports out the window. To be fair, they are in large part simply cleaning up the mess created by the previous Government.
Posted by Myer on Aug. 24, 2018, 5:24 p.m. in Assessment
For those thinking of making the big move to Australia or New Zealand, we offer a number of options to establish whether or not you qualify, the Visa that might best suit you and the strategy you will need to follow to make that dream of a new life a reality. For us, the initial assessment is the cornerstone of our engagement with any potential migrant and it sets the scene for what will follow in terms of time, energy and the financial investment being made.
Posted by Iain on Aug. 17, 2018, 5:06 p.m. in New Zealand Economy
The long awaited outcome of the Government’s Select Committee process has been completed and we now understand more of who will and who will not be allowed to buy property and homes in New Zealand. It has caused a lot of anxiety among our clients and it is good that the Government has finally made their announcement. Much ado about nothing, for the most part.
Posted by Myer on Aug. 9, 2018, 11:32 a.m. in Visas
If you know some of the pitfalls in the process, student visas can be a useful pathway to not only acquiring an Australian qualification but potentially a pathway to obtaining permanent residence. However the location of your studies in Australia is as important as the subject matter of your studies. Of course you have to satisfy a number of requirements including a genuine temporary entry criteria relating to student visas, and have to have sufficient funds to pay for your studies which can be quite pricey as an international student.
Posted by Iain on Aug. 3, 2018, 12:35 p.m. in New Zealand Economy
The greatest fear of most South Africans leaving behind an increasingly beleaguered economy and job insecurity is how they might fair financially when they get to New Zealand. They fret that they might be jumping out of a financial frying pan and into a fiscal fire. This tale of two currencies, two economies and two brothers tends to suggest that sucking up any short term exchange rate pain can lead to long term gain if you only have the courage to brave the immigration waters.
Posted by Iain on July 27, 2018, 1:51 p.m. in Visas
About three years ago whilst in Johannesburg I met a young couple with a four year old son. On the face of the application, it looked fairly straight-forward in terms of there not being anything out of the ordinary i.e. we had a skilled migrant who needed to get skilled employment in New Zealand in order to get the points. So far, so good. The issue, potentially, was that the principal applicant’s wife was blind having lost her sight four years earlier during childbirth. Many Immigration Advisers advise people who are blind (or for that matter deaf) that they will not be found to be of an acceptable standard of health, something I have always found disappointing, if not laughable. Blind or deaf people are not sick, they have a disability but that does not make them unhealthy nor a likely future cost on our health system.
Posted by Myer on July 20, 2018, 8:16 p.m. in Australia
And the place where you belong, contrary to what the song would indicate, is not West Virginia, but Geelong, Adelaide, Hobart or any other part of Australia that is “regional”. Recent changes to Australia’s skilled migration program is going to have the effect of placing more of you on country roads than ever before.
Posted by Myer on July 16, 2018, 7:48 p.m. in Australia
It’s a tough decision to immigrate which often has broader implications for other family members who may want to join those immigrating to Australia. One of the most frequently asked questions we receive in consultations are “what are the chances of my parents being able to join us?”. This blog isn’t meant to be an exhaustive examination of all of the options available to parents but covers some of the more mainstream visa types. Given the length of processing time of permanent residence parent visa applications, these days parents need to also consider short-term temporary visas such as visitors visas that enable them to live in Australia on a temporary basis whilst the permanent resident visa is being processed.
Posted by Iain on July 14, 2018, 12:17 p.m. in Parent Category
I am often asked how parents can join their children and grandchildren in New Zealand. Historically there were two pathways: 1) Joining one already NZ resident and well settled adult child and demonstrating that the NZ child, as sponsor, earned enough to fulfil their obligations such as they were; or, 2) Parent Investor Category - where parents have to invest $1 million for a period of four years. The first was always far more popular than the second for obvious reasons; no investment was needed. That was until the category was ’temporarily’ put on hold two years ago.
Posted by Iain on July 6, 2018, 9:52 p.m. in Immigration
I have long had an uncomfortable feeling that the Immigration Department does make decisions - or least scrutinises certain applicants - in a different way, where it is difficult to conclude that it is based on anything other than ethnicity and/or nationality. There is also increasing evidence of INZ targeting particular ethnicities and assessing their visas differently to others, or in the way they have historically done - former international students, primarily from India, for example. That, I appreciate, is at best a very strong suggestion New Zealand may not be the country that it thinks it is – one which prides itself on being colour blind, tolerant and welcoming.
Posted by Myer on June 30, 2018, 10:08 p.m. in Australia
From 1 July 2018, applicants wishing to apply for the following visa subclasses will be required to obtain a pass mark of 65 to be eligible to receive an invitation to apply.
Posted by Iain on June 29, 2018, 1:49 p.m. in Australia
Yesterday, the Australian government announced it was, from 1 July, pushing up the minimum points to be selected and invited to apply for a Permanent Residence Visa or the Subclass 489 'work to residence' visa from 60 to 65 points. The Australian Government justified this increase by quoting 'demand' and this is where I get so frustrated. There is no evidence of increasing demand to live in Australia and if there was the country would not have fallen short of its annual quota/target/ceiling of 192,000 in the current immigration year. The Government imposed artificially high pass marks around eight months ago specifically to rein in numbers and to ensure (unless they are inept) their own targets were not met. They did a good job of that.
Posted by Iain on June 22, 2018, 1:18 p.m. in Immigration
Back in February I predicted that in the current immigration year (1 July 2017 – 30 June 2018) New Zealand would undershoot its target of skilled migrants by many thousands of people. I was quietly scoffed at by some, but it seems I was right. As we approach the end of the current immigration year the Government has approved 9,352 resident visa applications. Statistically each Skilled Migrant resident visa application covers around 2.1 people, so of their stated target of 27,000, the Government has badly undershot that by around 8,000 people or roughly 35%. I’d call that a big fat failure at a time when the economy continues to create thousands of skilled jobs each and every month and we need every skilled migrant we can get to come and live here. Demand to move here is as strong, if not stronger, than ever.
Posted by Iain on June 15, 2018, 1:55 p.m. in Education
Given most of you migrate to New Zealand for a bit of freedom, lifestyle and education opportunities for your children, a really uplifting and positive report has just been released that shows we are doing an awful lot right when it comes to our children’s early years in school. Bearing in mind that in New Zealand all children must by law be in school by their sixth birthday, but most start on their fifth, this longitudinal study looked at how the mothers of some 7000 six year olds perceived their child adjusted and coped with the transition from pre-school to primary school.
Posted by Iain on June 8, 2018, 2:32 p.m. in Immigration
I do love my day job, I really do. Not dealing with the Government, but helping clients deal with a Government Department where up is down and down is up and no two officers seem capable of implementing the same definitions consistently. A system where it feels the bureaucrats, at times, have what seems unbridled power, where the checks and balances of a competitive market do not apply, their timid and weak leadership is unwilling or unable to pull their troops into line and they employ some of the best spin to deflect their idiocy, inconsistency and weak management.
Posted by Iain on June 1, 2018, 4:48 p.m. in Living
Those of you that come from western or ‘developed’ countries and who have been to wet markets in Asia or Africa will appreciate it when I say they stink, are an affront to the senses, look like a breeding ground for all sorts of dangerous bacteria and would turn the local City Council Food Hygiene Inspectors green if they didn’t die of fright first. No Food Hygiene certificates hanging on the walls here to reassure the purchaser that strict food safety and hygiene regulations have been met! (There are usually no walls...) In 33 degree heat, open tables of meat are laid out, live fish swim in aerated paddling pools, cages full of protesting chickens line the alleys, (vegans may want to skip to next paragraph) every part of a pig is laid out right down to its snout, tongue, ears, trotters, insides – nothing is wasted here.
Posted by Iain on May 25, 2018, 4:23 p.m. in Politics
"Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time..." - Winston Churchill (maybe) This morning, I stood in front of the remains of a B52 bomber, lying rusting in the small lake it crashed into, having been shot down over Hanoi in December, 1972, in one of the United States last-ditch efforts to try and force the communist north to the negotiating table (the US having pretty much lost the war by that point already). It got me thinking about political systems and how we in the west - so blindly, or arrogantly - think our system is better than these one-party States.
Posted by Iain on May 18, 2018, 5:34 p.m. in Living
For the past week I've been in Hong Kong talking to those worried about their children's future and the creeping influence of China on the principles they hold dear, like the value of their one vote and being allowed to speak their minds. Political changes aside, of all the Asian cities I visit, it is my favourite. The food, the scale, the shops Although I struggle with the teeming hordes. I struggle even more when a lot of the teeming hordes dawdle along, tapping messages into their cellphones, but that's another story.
Posted by Iain on May 11, 2018, 3:47 p.m. in Auckland
The New Zealand government announce this week not one, but two landmark light rail projects for Auckland. Auckland has long struggled with being a massive sprawling city covered in single unit dwellings. We have long cherished the back garden as a place to relax and entertain. The days where we could afford such luxuries is both environmentally and economically behind us and with changing lifestyles, less treasured. Recent changes to the planning laws in Auckland is now allowing for increased density along major transport routes. The idea being that medium density housing supports public transport and an efficient public transport system supports medium density housing. I have to say I’m a fan of the plan.
Posted by Iain on May 4, 2018, 7:49 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
A few months ago, I shared the news that our family had joined forces with good friends to purchase 22 hectares (50 acres) of rainforest 20 minutes south of Whangarei in Northland, New Zealand. Our purpose was to try and turn back the ecological clock - as best anyone can - to allow a magnificent piece of native rainforest a chance to return to its former glory. It has been eerily silent since we took it over last year.
Posted by Iain on April 27, 2018, 1:02 p.m. in Immigration
A few weeks ago I wrote a piece explaining that INZ now uses an ‘effective hourly rate’ to determine remuneration when deciding if a job is skilled or not under the Skilled Migrant Category. To be skilled, the effective hourly rate must be $24.29 to get ‘points’ for a skilled job. However, under the Work to Residence/Accredited Employer pathway, there is also a need to establish an effective hourly rate. Strangely (or not depending on your day job), INZ approaches what is in effect the same question with two different processes. As the new skilled migrant policy is now a few months old, we are starting to get a better idea of how INZ is interpreting this ‘effective hourly rate’ instruction which, on the face of it, seems pretty straightforward. As usual in the world of visas and bureaucrats, it is anything but.
Posted by Iain on April 20, 2018, 4:19 p.m. in Immigration
Sources have confirmed that Cabinet recently signed off on changes to the Accredited Employer/Work to Residence Policy. Details are yet to be made public but will follow soon enough. Accreditation has historically been given to employers who are able to demonstrate - amongst other things - that they are worthy of this trusted status with the Immigration Department. Trusted to do the right thing by New Zealand and New Zealanders, which includes recruiting locally where possible, training and upskilling, offering opportunities to those already working at the companies, having solid Human Resource processes and practices, being financially stable and have had no issues in terms of employment disputes, problems with unions, workers’ rights and so on.
Posted by Iain on April 13, 2018, 6:27 p.m. in Immigration
Those of you who have attended one of my talks know about my four golden rules of surviving immigration bureaucracy without losing your marbles: - Assume nothing about your eligibility. - Suspend logic. - Just when you think you understand the visa rules your application will be processed by an immigration officer who does not know their own rules. - Treat with great caution whatever you read on the Immigration Department’s website. There could be a fifth: - INZ is sometimes working to an agenda hidden from the public. And this is the subject of today's blog.
Posted by Iain on April 6, 2018, 1:47 p.m. in South Africa
For many years, I have struggled to understand why the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) provided different comparability outcome assessments on “Red Seal” South African qualifications depending on the pathway the artisan followed to secure it in South Africa. Historically in South Africa, an Artisan would follow one of two pathways to securing a Trade Certificate in terms of the Manpower Training Act. The applicant could enter into an indentured apprenticeship, complete five years of learning, sit their Trade Test examination and if they passed that, they would be granted a Trade Certificate (commonly known as a Red Seal).
Posted by Iain on March 23, 2018, 9:37 p.m. in South Africa
Last week’s blog post on why the Australian Minister of Home Affairs (Immigration) is, in my view, either a racist and a hypocrite or simply a cynical Australian politician playing to a small racist constituency in Australia, hit a nerve in South Africa as I expected it would. The reaction to last week’s blog across various forms of social media and in private emails to me deserves some further exploration. The reaction to it confirmed two things for me - what politicians anywhere will do for a few votes and how, sadly, South Africans are - for the most part these days - seemingly incapable of any form of grown up discourse.
Posted by Kane on March 19, 2018, 8:38 p.m. in Australia
Some major changes that were announced last year have come into effect as of the 18 March. These changes relate to the temporary and permanent employer sponsored visas and the General Skilled Migration (GSM) programme. Under the GSM programme, there is a shiny new list called the Regional Occupations List (ROL). This is relevant to the state/territory sponsored Subclass 489 visa.
Posted by Iain on March 16, 2018, 10:22 p.m. in South Africa
You have to love Australia! It is not very often I agree with Julius Malema and his Economic Freedom Fighters but strangely this week, I find myself doing so. It is interesting and completely understandable that the South African Government has reacted with affront at the Australian Minister of Immigration’s suggestion that they must look very carefully into trying to help and "fast track visas" for “white South African farmers who are being persecuted”. To suggest that these people need help “from a civilised country like ours” actually made my skin crawl.
Posted by Iain on March 8, 2018, 8:35 p.m. in Immigration
Today I want to attempt to explain how the Immigration Department decides whether the job offer that you have in New Zealand is ‘skilled' or not. The first thing they have to do is to decide whether the job that you have in New Zealand falls into a Skill Level 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 category. The lower the number the more highly skilled the occupation is, on the face of it. Occupations that fall into Skill Levels 1, 2 and 3 are assessed one way and those which fall into Skill Levels 4 and 5 another.
Posted by Iain on March 2, 2018, 7:56 p.m. in New Zealand Politics
If you think New Zealand is different to where you come from - it is. Sometimes for the better and sometimes not. This week's blog is an example of how we are the same, or at least that we are stupid enough to elect the same sort of people... I know it’s a stupid question but why do Politicians make promises they know they cannot deliver? We now have the President of South Africa confirming a new policy of land confiscation without compensation. At least, that was the headline.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 23, 2018, 4:06 p.m. in New Zealand
I was following the footsteps of my father who had been to Christchurch a few weeks ago, and had came away feeling quite empty and sad at the loss and the destruction (there are still lots of empty plots of land with wire and plywood fences around them). He found a city that had lost its soul. My experience couldn’t have been more different. Where he saw emptiness and destruction, I saw re-birth and creation of what is, even now, an amazing city full of light airy open spaces, parks, new buildings and old, many put to uses never before envisaged. It is seldom that any country has the chance to redesign from the sewers up an entire city but that is the opportunity born out of the February 2011 earthquake.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 16, 2018, 11:46 a.m. in Parent Category
In recent years Government has been cutting back on the annual quotas on the first from around 5000 three years ago to a little over 2000 today. As a consequence of having enough applicants in the system no more applications have been accepted over the past couple of years and there is no official indication of when they might open up again. If it is purely mathematics, we are picking another 12-18 months.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 9, 2018, 5:14 p.m. in Skilled Migrant Category
I hear myself explaining the disconnection between the way the visa process works and the way the labour market works, i.e. what employers want is people with works rights and residency preferably, whereas the Government says ‘find a job first and we’ll think about giving you a visa’. I think it’s fair to say that once the reality of what the process demands sinks in respect of the financial, emotional and logistical commitment, many are probably shell-shocked.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 2, 2018, 2:57 p.m. in New Zealand Weather
What a summer we are having. Long, hot and for most places, dry. Drought, common in many parts of the country has once again broken out but often in places not known for their lack of rainfall. The west coast of the South Island, for example. Summers across New Zealand can vary greatly from year to year in terms of heat, rain, wind and sunshine. In the north, we are always guaranteed warm and humid with average humidity between December and February sitting at 70-80%. We can go weeks with little rain or be hit by a series of remnant tropical cyclones seemingly every other week.
Posted by Iain on Jan. 26, 2018, 7:46 p.m. in New Zealand
Those of you who have attended my seminars know in what high regard I hold Rocket Lab, an amazing New Zealand company. Last weekend they launched their Electron Rocket successfully and deployed a payload of three satellites into low Earth orbit. Last year, they got the rocket up to low earth orbit level but had to kill the rocket when there was some technical hitch. On only their second attempt they have managed to go one better. There was talk of a fourth object released and media were all atwitter as to whether it was something top secret. Turned out to be far less ‘James Bond’ and more ‘James Brown’ - dubbed a disco ball by some witty Journalist - a ‘humanity star'.
Posted by Iain on Jan. 19, 2018, 4:44 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
We have had the summer of all summers across New Zealand. In December temperatures were on average 2.5 degrees Celsius warmer than usual across the country. Doesn’t sound like much but when 26 degrees and 75% humidity becomes 29 degrees and 75% humidity it is all of a sudden like living in Tahiti or Fiji rather than Auckland or Christchurch. Climate records continue to be pushed hard – last week Invercargill (bottom of the South Island) hit 33 degrees, it was 35 degrees at Dunedin airport a few days ago, Christchurch has hit 36 degrees on many a day over the past 4-6 months, and Auckland has been stuck at between 25-28 degrees since November. It’s like February came early... Rain has been scarce with droughts declared in many parts of the country – the usual suspects of the eastern coasts of both islands but recently on the other sides of the mountains in the South Island as well.
Posted by Iain on Dec. 15, 2017, 2:58 p.m. in IMMagine
The Immigration Department and most of our clients appreciate how seriously we take our jobs, the importance we attach to getting things right and the professional pride we feel every time we can tell a client ‘visa approved, hope you enjoy your new life’. I never thought that the IAA might, in a roundabout way, protect us from our own clients but as this exercise demonstrates, an unintended consequence of making sure our systems are extremely robust is that we are protected from the rare client that might have questionable ethics.
Posted by Iain on Dec. 8, 2017, 6:22 p.m. in Environment
A few months ago I wrote that my family along with some friends had bought a block of steep, Northland rainforest complete with two streams and several impressive waterfalls. Our reason for buying this 22 hectares was primarily to create a conservancy; give this land back to nature. It was our intent to go to war on behalf of the remaining birds and less sexy but no less important vertebrate and invertebrate communities that are also nutritious snacks for rats and possums. We took possession in July and have since put out half a dozen traps and around 30 bait stations which dispense poisoned food pellets.
Posted by Iain on Dec. 1, 2017, 5:04 p.m. in New Zealand
My wife and I are taking a few days out after my final (exhausting) trip to South Africa for the year and find ourselves about to board a ferry from Papeete to Moorea in Tahiti. Having yesterday broken the wonderful news of his family’s residence approval to a very nervy client, who from the first time I met him over a year ago questioned his ability to cope with the rigours of resigning his job, getting a new one in NZ and getting that precious visa, I once again turned my mind to what makes people risk emigration.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 24, 2017, 4:27 p.m. in Skilled Migrant Category
Just when you thought it was safe to get back into the water after the Skilled Migrant changes earlier this year in both New Zealand and Australia, it seems that you might need to think again. Both countries allow applicants to file Expressions of Interest and enter their skilled migrant pools – in Australia you need a minimum of 60 points and in New Zealand, 160, (we give more points to qualifications and work experience but the type of person with those scores will be very similar). In both countries the immigration year begins on 1 July.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 17, 2017, 1:13 p.m. in Jobs in New Zealand
Auckland is running out of teachers and if you believe the noises coming out of many Principals, now might be the best time, ever, to consider New Zealand if you are a degree qualified teacher with excellent English. Vacancies are now running at a record high of 287 today for primary level. I am not sure what it is at High school but I’d be surprised if it was much lower. What is driving the shortage?
Posted by Iain on Nov. 10, 2017, 5:09 a.m. in Jobs in New Zealand
I’m very pleased to formally announce a partnership with AbsoluteIT, one of New Zealand’s leading and largest IT recruitment companies. In the next few weeks, they will be adding our details to their website and encouraging all international candidates who seek work in IT in New Zealand that contact them to have a detailed visa eligibility assessment carried out by us as a first step towards the team at AbsoluteIT trying to place them in roles. In return, for those clients of ours who work in IT, you’re now going to have at least one IT recruitment company that is not going to reject your application outright if you “don’t have a Work Visa” if you are a full fee-paying client of IMMagine Australia and New Zealand.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 3, 2017, 2:19 p.m. in New Zealand Employment
The latest employment numbers were released this week for New Zealand and they show that overall unemployment has fallen to 4.6% which is the lowest level in five years. This puts us well ahead of Australia, for example, by a full percentage point. At the same time, statistics show that we now have the highest percentage of people of working age (18 to 65) in employment we have ever had. At over 70% it shows people of all ages getting jobs.
Posted by Iain on Oct. 27, 2017, 2:31 p.m. in Politics
Politics is at its heart all about sending signals. Let me send one. The two largest parties in the current Government both campaigned on cutting migration. In one case, ‘slashing immigration numbers by 80%’ and in the other, by cutting it by ‘20 000 – 30 000’ per year. The Party that campaigned on slashing numbers by 80% knew its ridiculous demand would never survive coalition negotiations with only 7% of the vote and knew those that vote for them were too stupid to realise it.
Posted by Iain on Oct. 19, 2017, 10:40 p.m. in Politics
A few minutes ago the Leader of the NZ First political party - which gained a little over 7% of the popular vote in elections two week ago - announced it is forming a coalition with the Labour Party and the coalition will be supported outside of cabinet by the Green Party.
Posted by Iain on Oct. 13, 2017, 7:42 p.m. in Immigration
I spend my day explaining to those that aren’t certain which country they wish to move to that one is not ‘easier’ than the other, and that they both have their own complexities and vulnerabilities to applicants. Australia by and large operates a skilled migrant selection process that is based on approving applicants that are ‘job ready’. That is achieved by assessing, for the most part, their age, their qualifications, their ‘relevant’ work experience and their English language ability. Some require the support via ‘sponsorship’ of an Australian State or Territory that operate their own, fluid, ‘occupations in demand’ lists. No points are gained for having a skilled job in Australia. New Zealand on the other hand looks for people with similar skills profiles but is not so much interested in those that might be ‘job ready’, but those that have gone a step further and secured skilled jobs. NZ wants those with a demonstrated ability to break into the labour market.
Posted by Iain on Oct. 6, 2017, 6 p.m. in Immigration
No matter which resident visa category you apply under – Parent, Skilled, Investor or Partnership, if you have a partner/spouse you need to demonstrate that you are currently (and have been) living together for a minimum of 12 months in a ‘genuine and stable relationship akin to a marriage which is likely to endure’. There is no requirement that you be married – in fact this makes no difference to the assessment carried out by immigration officers. Living together means simply that – in an exclusive relationship – gay or straight, married or not, young or old - and under the same roof (and presumably in the same bed).
Posted by Iain on Sept. 22, 2017, 10:39 a.m. in Politics
As the election campaign draws to a thankful close (we are all exhausted and have wind burn from the hot air), the polls continue to swing wildly – I have never seen anything like it. It either means the polling techniques are not reflecting what is really going on out there in the real New Zealand or New Zealanders are having doubts about sticking with the status quo or going for ‘change and hope’. Right now the pendulum has swung back toward ‘steady as she goes’.
Posted by Iain on Sept. 15, 2017, 4:34 p.m. in New Zealand Employment
As always happens when any new immigration criteria are released, we find that they can often be interpreted in more than one way leading to both inconsistent outcomes (through immigration officers interpreting the same words in different ways) and unintended consequences. Unfortunately INZ does not feel bound by the legal concept of ‘precedent’ where once an interpretation of a rule is established by, say the Appeal Authority (made up of lawyers, independent of the Department of Immigration), it must be followed by all from that day forth.
Posted by Iain on Sept. 8, 2017, 5:13 p.m. in Politics
The latest polls in the lead-up to elections in 3 weeks’ time suggests we’re headed for a change of Government. They say a week is a long time in politics but 3 weeks must feel like eternity for the ruling party. They were cruising to a 4th-term victory (virtually unprecedented in New Zealand’s political history). They’re now in 2nd place behind a resurgent centre-left Labour Party. Since electing a 37 year old professional politician who appears to be very nice and charming but with little real-world experience, the Labour Party has surged in the polls from around 23% to 43% today and it looks like they’ll form the next Government.
Posted by Iain on Sept. 1, 2017, 6:27 p.m. in Skilled Migrant Category
Under the new Skilled Migrant rules that were formally released this week but which I have had a copy of for some time, applicants now face a somewhat complicated issue when claiming points for work experience under the Skilled Migrant Category. The Government has now introduced what is effectively a “deemed qualified date”. I suspect many people, including Immigration Officers, are going to have a lot of trouble working out when that date occurred. Under the new rules, anyone trying this application process themselves has to become familiar with the Australia New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) reference material. This “book” is a list of all the occupations known to these two Government departments and provide task lists for them.
Posted by Iain on Aug. 25, 2017, 7:20 p.m. in Politics
I have been asked a few times in recent weeks what I think will happen to NZ immigration policy settings following the national elections in a few weeks’ time. I wish I knew; but it is possible to make a few educated guesses. Today the polls (which it has to be said are incredibly volatile and indicate a change of Government is possible with a Labour party (centre left), Greens (left of left and environmental) and NZ First (an effective one man loony populist party of largely disgruntled old white people) coalition, given they are collectively polling in the high 40 percents. Not enough to govern, however.
Posted by Iain on Aug. 18, 2017, 6:20 p.m. in Skilled Migrant Category
One interesting change is that any job in NZ that comes with a guaranteed minimum salary (note, not remuneration package) of $75,000 is deemed to be skilled for points (50 of them if the job is offered in Auckland or 80 if outside) and all relevant, for want of a better word, work experience now attracts points. In theory a tea lady who is guaranteed this salary can get into NZ permanently.
Posted by Iain on Aug. 11, 2017, 3:18 p.m. in South Africa
Grabbing a few hours away from the day job last week I found myself on a beautiful coastal golf course in Durban, South Africa, with a good friend squeezing in a round of golf. We had teed off at 8am, the sky was clear, the sun warmed my back and a gentle breeze wafted in off the Indian Ocean that lay one good shank away. The word ‘perfect’ came to mind – I was at peace with the world if not the golf (it is far from perfect) but perfect summed up how I felt about that morning and what I was doing. It was really wonderful being surrounded by wide open spaces, colourful birds, an almost cloudless sky and fresh air filling my lungs.
Posted by Myer on Aug. 3, 2017, 4:29 p.m. in Immigration
There seems to be a five-year cycle for governments to implement and then change immigration policy. Given the fact that it had been 5 years since the general skilled migration visa policy had been implemented in Australia [with the split long-term and short-term skills shortages list] and the advent of Brexit and Trump, the time was probably ripe for wholesale change. And change there was – on 17 April, the Australian Government implemented widescale reform to its immigration policy with further clarifications on 1 July. As a result, there’s been much confusion and speculation amongst the public [and also within our industry as well it has to be said] about the changes whether they be good, bad or simply ugly.
Posted by Iain on July 28, 2017, 5:05 p.m. in Immigration
Earlier this week the media in New Zealand were abuzz with speculation that perhaps the Government was going to “back down” on their proposed changes to Skilled Migrant & Work Visa policies. As usual the twittersphere, Facebook, online migrant chat groups and forums went into frenzied overdrive and messages of hope to family and friends were sent around the world that it looked like the changes wouldn’t happen. Upon closer examination, however, it was clear what was being reported in the Press was a confused interpretation of what the Government had proposed and what is about to be rolled out on 28 August. Just for a change...
Posted by Iain on July 21, 2017, 3:13 p.m. in Education
New Zealand is using big data in some very interesting and to my way of thinking, positive ways. Take education for example... A recent study showed that by pulling together data commonly available about our lives, it is possible by looking at seven key factors which children at birth will have a very strong likelihood of ending up in prison or with a criminal conviction by the time they were 21. Seven factors...
Posted by Iain on July 14, 2017, 4:35 p.m. in New Zealand
With around eight weeks to go until the next General Election, a number of economists are warning the Government and those who would be Government, of the dangers of cutting back too hard on migration. The current Government has announced no change to skilled migrant numbers but they have signalled, and we are seeing, a fall in the number of international students who are coming to study in New Zealand. In terms of migration statistics they are “migrants” even though a significant proportion don’t remain here for more than a year or two. They all spend money however...
Posted by Iain on July 7, 2017, 3:47 p.m. in Retirement
Perhaps it is because I turned 53 a few days ago that I have been thinking about retiring (not yet, I am afraid!) and I thought I’d write a piece about how our pension retirement processes work for those of you not here yet. I know it is dull but it’s a need-to-know for those thinking of moving to New Zealand. Unlike many countries, our retirement policies are, these days, something of a hybrid between publicly funded (taxpayer) and private savings.
Posted by Kane on July 6, 2017, 9:03 p.m. in Australia
We are at that time of year again where the state governments of Australia issue new lists of occupations that they are willing to nominate for permanent residence. This has suddenly become increasingly important with the government now restricting many occupations from getting permanent residence through the employer sponsored pathway, leaving the state sponsorship option the most likely chance gaining residence.
Posted by Iain on June 30, 2017, 2:46 p.m. in Jobs in New Zealand
A review of the cabinet papers released under the Official Information Act offers a good indication of the direction of the Government’s upcoming changes to the skilled migration category and offers hints at what might lie ahead. This paper have caused a slight (emphasis on slight) modification in some of my thinking about what changes might have looked like. For the most part there isn’t a lot of guesswork required as Government has been relatively clear on what they are trying to achieve. Government is not planning on cutting any visas from its skilled migrant target of 27,000 per annum and that is a point constantly missed by commentators, industry analysts and in the ‘expert’ world of social media.
Posted by Iain on June 23, 2017, 6:41 p.m. in New Zealand
A few months’ ago the then-Prime Minister announced an aspirational goal to create a predator-free New Zealand by 2050. You may not be aware but New Zealand has a very unique fauna and flora profile. The country split off from the rest of what was then Gondwana some 60 million years ago before the rise of mammals. New Zealand has historically only had two species of land mammal; the short-tailed and long-tailed bat (both of which are now critically endangered). While we did have mammals around the coastline, such as fur seals, those two species of bat were it for the mainland and islands around the country.
Posted by Iain on June 15, 2017, 5:10 p.m. in New Zealand Politics
This week the major opposition party, Labour, released their immigration policy. I can only hope that this set of politicians understand a lot more about economics, health and education than they appear to know about immigration or they clearly take the voting public for fools. Having promised in recent months to ‘slash migration numbers by tens of thousands’ what did they actually ‘slash’ in terms of the current resident visa targets?
Posted by Iain on June 12, 2017, 12:53 a.m. in Immigration
"Labour attempts to pick low hanging immigration fruit...that's already been eaten" - Iain MacLeod, Managing Director, IMMagine Australia & New Zealand Immigration Specialists The Labour Party’s announcement today that they will make moderate cuts to immigration numbers will make no significant difference to the numbers of permanent migrants coming to New Zealand.
Posted by Iain on June 8, 2017, 6:07 p.m. in New Zealand
I have waited all my life to get to Milford Sound. Lying in the southwest of the South Island, it is most certainly off the beaten track but every year several thousand extremely fortunate people make the effort to get there and experience it. Everyone who has been there speaks with a hushed reverence about the place.
Posted by Iain on June 1, 2017, 4:33 p.m. in New Zealand
Do you remember the last time that you could only hear two or three sounds in any part of your day? Right now I am staying at Furneaux Lodge, an old Victorian homestead deep in Queen Charlotte Sound, one of numerous drowned river valleys lying at the top of the South Island. I am on my way to Queenstown for a couple of business meetings but decided to stop off here for some long forest hikes (two under the belt – close to 30km in two days) and a bit of a break after three busy weeks in South Africa.
Posted by Iain on May 25, 2017, 6:10 p.m. in New Zealand
In breaking news, the national sheep flock has fallen from a high of 79 million four decades ago to a paltry 29 million today. And few in NZ care... In other breaking news, New Zealand company RocketLab has this week become the first private company in the history of an emerging commercial space industry to successfully launch a rocket into orbit from its North Island launch pad. How are these two events related? Both demonstrate the profound changes in the NZ economy over the past 30 years.
Posted by Iain on May 19, 2017, 9:37 a.m. in South Africa
In what appears to be little more than a fit of pique the South African Government decided a few months ago to retaliate against the tourists and business folk of NZ visiting the Republic by demanding New Zealand citizens apply for Visitor Visas if they wish to travel there. Granted, this was because the New Zealand Government had rescinded the visa waiver agreement with South Africa. I think it is fair to say the New Zealand Government was totally justified in doing so but it is hard to comprehend the reaction of the South African Government.
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. 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.
Posted by Iain on May 5, 2017, 7:23 p.m. in Immigration
The Government’s promise to international students to provide a residence pathway has, effectively, been broken. Under these new rules the minimum salary threshold of $48,800 will see significant numbers of graduates from our local institutions no longer qualifying. That must hurt the $3 billion export education industry far more than they care to admit right now.
Posted by Iain on April 28, 2017, 3 p.m. in Immigration
What we saw last week was part two of what, to me, is a very obvious and well-crafted plan to extricate the Government from the indefensible position over international students and the promises they made them with as little fallout as possible. We do have population pressures and particularly in Auckland but what great problems to have? We are a ‘victim’ of a strong economy for which the government deserves some credit; interest in settling here has gone through the roof, Kiwis don’t feel like leaving, more are coming home and we only have room for so many new migrants and the government is right to be choosy.
Posted by Iain on April 19, 2017, 2:23 p.m. in Visas
The NZ Government today wrapped up their Skilled Migrant change announcement with the message that it is about ‘controlling the flow’ of migrants. If that sounds a bit Brexit, or Trump or the Prime Minister of Australia, France and Marine Le Pen - these are the times in which we live but I think it is far more simple than that. Our economy needs migrants to supplement local workforce and skill shortages. At the same time across the western world there is a growing discontent among some that too many people have missed out on the benefits of that globalisation – think less educated, the lower skilled and lower paid people. Who voted for Trump? Who voted for Brexit? Who will stop our current Government in NZ being re-elected this year? Those at the ‘lower’ end of the spectrum.
Posted by Myer on April 19, 2017, 1:17 p.m. in Visas
Yesterday Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull put his hands on his hips and took a jump to the right. It felt as if we were in a Time Warp. Mr Turnbull, feeling the global winds of change fuelled by Brexit and Trumpism, took the initiative to steal the political right's thunder and initiated far reaching reforms to employer sponsored migration to Australia and also to the occupations available to skilled migration that are non-employer sponsored (GSM visas).
Posted by Myer on April 18, 2017, 9:34 p.m. in Visas
Australia’s General Skilled Migration Visas and Employer Sponsored Visas - Earlier today Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, announced wide-ranging changes to the occupational lists available to General Skilled Migration Visas as well as the abolition of the current 457 Visa (Work Visa) to be replaced by the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) Visa from March 2018.
Posted by Iain on April 14, 2017, 2:52 p.m. in Investor Category
In a few weeks’ time, new Investor Category rules will be rolled out. Government has indicated 27 May. There is no change to those seeking a resident visa by investing NZ$10 million under the investor Plus category, the changes are only being made to the ‘Investor 2’ category. This sub-category has traditionally been a points based assessment system where applicants claim points based on their age, business experience, an amount they wish to invest and who have an additional NZ$1m over and above the nominated investments for ‘settlement’ purposes.
Posted by Iain on April 7, 2017, 3:27 p.m. in Visas
Two weeks’ ago I went public on my serious concerns regarding the actions of the Visa Application Centres (VACs) partnered with Immigration New Zealand. My concerns were two-fold: 1 - The VACs are not licensed to provide immigration advice. Yet it seems, based on multiple reports from clients who are attempting to drop off visa applications we have prepared, they are being given what appears to be immigration advice. INZ has accepted this is happening; they dispute how frequently. Given we have had a number of clients sent away when they tried to file applications to get additional information (that was not required for their applications to be receipted) it seems it is far more common than INZ wishes to acknowledge.
Posted by Iain on March 31, 2017, 3:40 p.m. in Immigration
We were approached recently by someone who had - whilst on their two year Resident Visa -been convicted for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). On the face of it not the worst of crimes (however dangerous those that drink and drive are). When she applied at the end of the two years for her (lifetime) Permanent Resident Visa (PRV), she was not only declined she was told she was to be deported.
Posted by Iain on March 26, 2017, 12:15 p.m. in Visas
In recent years we have witnessed the increasing use of Visa Application Centres by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) around the world to ostensibly receipt and pass along visa applications to the NZ Government. Their role, we were told in the early days, was simply to ‘act like a Post Office’ and receipt visa applications before passing them along to their closest INZ office for processing.
Posted by Iain on March 17, 2017, 10:31 a.m. in Living
Yesterday I listened to an interview on the radio with two women who run a not for profit ‘refuge’ for migrant women and children from ‘Asian, Middle Eastern and African’ cultures. It had already occurred to me that there might be greater issues with migrant women and children from those areas than women and children immigrants from other areas. This is an issue I am not sure policy makers consider – it borders on the politically incorrect. Perhaps, however, we should suck up the accusations of ‘xenophobia’ or ‘racism’ and think it through from a permanent residence perspective.
Posted by Myer on Feb. 26, 2017, 4:30 p.m. in Australia lifestyle
It’s not always not up to you to choose the time when you can apply for permanent residence because of the amount of change that occurs in the immigration process. It’s more likely that the time chooses you. I’m never able to “time-the-market” when I buy a house or buy or sell equities but I can tell you that the perfect time to apply for permanent residence is the time at which you meet the eligibility requirements and if that time is now then as inconvenient is the time may be, you need to act. Often the only difference between eligibility and and missing the opportunity completely is timing.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 26, 2017, 4:26 p.m. in Lighthearted
Sun. Rain. Wind. It is interesting how much of a role climate - perceived or real - plays in terms of where migrants might choose to live. If you are Singaporean or Malaysian you love the fact that New Zealand is, for the most part, both drier and for most of the year, cooler, than they are used to. Comfortable is the word I hear a lot. Migrants from these countries tell me how much they love the climate of ‘New Zealand’ (they are usually referring to Auckland or Christchurch). If you are a South African you tended historically to perceive the climate in New Zealand as being both cold and wet. I should say as thousands more South Africans settle here this perception is changing as expectation hits reality.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 24, 2017, 12:41 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
Most Saturday mornings sees my wife and I at our local Farmers market in Mangawhai buying some fresh produce, the world’s best bratwurst (according to the German proprietor) and yet more native plants for my ever expanding garden. It is usually fairly uneventful however last Saturday was different. For the first time in, well, years I got out of the car and didn’t take my satchel (‘man bag’ as my millennial sons tease me). I just slipped my wallet into my back pocket. At stall number one I got it out so we could pay for some vegetables. At stall number three I went to get my wallet out of my back pocket and it had gone.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 10, 2017, 3:18 p.m. in Immigration
A few people have asked me recently why I believe the skilled migrant pass mark will fall from 160. The short answer is because it needs to. My analysis can be found in the maths of the passmark calculations and a little bit of faith that the New Zealand Government is both serious and committed to issuing 27,000 resident visas under this category, which it continues to publicly state is its target. Historically, for New Zealand to issue 27,000 resident visas in any 12 month period, they have had to select around 700 Expressions of interest each fortnight from the ‘pool’. Each EOI accounts for a little over 2 people. So, they select 700 EOIs covering say 1450 people every two weeks, and they do it 25 times a year (they skip one pool draw around Christmas/New Year). If all those selected were approved and granted Resident Visas that would mean around 35,250 resident visas issued in any 12 month period.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 3, 2017, 1:06 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
Earlier this week on a cloudless, sweltering summer's day we decided to take our boat out to Taranga Island; a nature reserve of several thousand hectares that sits 15 km out to sea in Bream Bay. This island and five that lie another 5km to its north east are human free and no human is permitted to step foot on them. They have been cleared of all introduced predators (rats, mice, possums, ferrets, stoats and weasels) and like so many of NZ offshore islands are the only places our native birds can live safely alongside the ancient tuatara and many species of native lizard. Taranga is an extinct volcano rising 500m to its ancient peak, where several ‘plugs’ stand sentinel, slowly weathering. It is scarred from the occasional release of massive house-sized boulders that crash their way through the forest to the seashore below.
Posted by Iain on Jan. 27, 2017, 2:33 p.m. in USA
What have you done America? Earlier this week, President Trump (still rings weirdly in my head) announced he’s building his wall. The Foreign Ministry in China have made their strongest statement yet regarding their territorial claims over the South China Sea - and warned the US in no uncertain terms to be very careful what they now say and do. Trump announced overnight he wants a 35% import duty on all goods (except it seems from Mexico). While that would be illegal under current international agreements and would obviously harm US workers, he is still tweeting about it and seems quite serious.
Posted by Iain on Jan. 20, 2017, 3:06 p.m. in Auckland
In this business, certainty for clients can only come about when, as Advisers, we fully understand definitions and eligibility criteria. Our greatest challenge is that the rules are often poorly written, vague and open to multiple interpretations. The meaning is in the mind of the reader. When you have two immigration officers reading the same rule differently, you get inconsistent decision making and this - when you are talking about resident visas - has enormous implications for clients financially, emotionally and, it is not "OTT" to suggest, truly life changing.
Posted by danni on Dec. 16, 2016, 12:58 p.m. in New Zealand
As 2016 draws to a close, New Zealand’s summer buzz begins to permeate our little country; families at the beach, the smell of sunblock and BBQs, sticky, glowing seawater skin, Mojitos, ice lollies, watermelons and cherries all making summer impossible to miss. It’s a great refresher to what was an unpredictable 2016. At IMMagine we’ve been quietly focusing on a few exciting changes. In the new year, we’re going to be combining many of our seminars. Since our licensed & experienced advisers are able to conduct eligibility assessments against policy of both Australia and New Zealand, it made sense to create a dual presentation that covered both countries.
Posted by Iain on Dec. 9, 2016, 4:16 p.m. in New Zealand Economy
As the Prime Minister passes the baton to his long time Deputy and the year starts to draw to a close, it is a good time to take stock of what the economy holds for New Zealand over the next three years. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment forecasts another 183,000 jobs in that time, which is not far off that of the past three years. That’s pretty impressive and promising if you are contemplating a move to New Zealand, given about half of those jobs are estimated to be skilled or highly skilled. I have no doubt the mismatch between the skills we have and are creating at home will mean that’s around 50,000 jobs that migrants will have to fill.
Posted by Iain on Dec. 2, 2016, 3:06 p.m. in New Zealand Economy
I love and detest statistics. They can often tell any story you want. Apparently me and my fellow New Zealanders are now the fifth wealthiest people per adult in the world. Beats being last I guess. I have no doubt New Zealand and New Zealanders are getting wealthier in both real and nominal terms. The economy is growing well, is diversified and we are working far smarter across many more industries and sectors than we ever did. We have benefited from free trade agreements with a number of countries and accept that the world owes us nothing and we need to get out and sell our products and services. At the same time tourism is booming as more and more people crave, if even for only a few days, the natural beauty, space and fresh air of New Zealand.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 25, 2016, 3:52 p.m. in Immigration
Around nine months ago my colleague Paul sat with an Electrician (I’ll call him Peter, but that’s not his real name) in South Africa and outlined to him and his wife a carefully constructed strategy to get his family to New Zealand within about three months; with electrical registration in hand and with great job prospects. This strategy was tried and true with many other tradesmen down the years. As we do, a fee was quoted to 'project manage' everything, from the electrical registration in NZ, visitor visas to work visas to resident visas. We advised that, based on our experience we should be able to do all of that and have the whole visa process completed by the end of this year, but more likely around October.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 18, 2016, 4:01 p.m. in Living
I wasn’t sure whether to write this week about the seismic geological events in New Zealand or the seismic political ones in the USA. Are we sick of listening to and reading about Trump yet? I am. While I still struggle to understand it, it is real. Let’s watch him back down on all the big noise he made while campaigning (wire fence anyone?).
Posted by Iain on Nov. 10, 2016, 2:55 p.m. in USA
I always thought the US was...how do I put this politely, a bit whacky to be sure, but never certifiable. Now I am not so sure. Maybe Americans, many who have never left their State let alone the Union, see something about their lives and prospects the rest of the world doesn’t? Is it really in such decline? Is life really that bad? I’d suggest they get out a bit more. It ain’t all roses on our side of the soon to be built wall either. Watching the events unfold and wondering how it could have happened I thought about a conversation I had just a few weeks ago with my own father. A case of perception becoming reality.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 4, 2016, 3:48 p.m. in Immigration
Whenever immigration rules change, most potential applicants and their Advisers (not to mention media commentators) tend to conclude that the changes will be in place forever. There is often a knee-jerk reaction as people throw their hands in the air with horror and conclude the door is not only closed, it is nailed firmly shut and there isn’t a crowbar in sight. The increase in the selection points for Skilled Migrants from 100 to 160 on 11 October has made many people think that they will have to score 160 points forever. We have spent the past two weeks explaining to most of our clients that we are able to increase their points claims to the new selection level anyway, which is great for them, but will the pass mark stay at 160 forever? I doubt it.
Posted by Iain on Oct. 28, 2016, 4:46 p.m. in Immigration
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.
Posted by Iain on Oct. 21, 2016, 3:49 p.m. in Immigration
Control. It’s the thing about Governments everywhere I suppose. They have to give the illusion of being in control even if they are not. The announcement two weeks ago of the pass mark increasing to 160 from 100 had an instantaneous impact on the numbers of Expressions of Interest being selected from the pool - it cut them by around 50% which was exactly what was intended. No surprises there. The demonstration of lack of control came from the fact that the numbers of EOIs sitting in the pool that the computer had to select because ever increasing numbers were claiming 100 points or more...
Posted by Iain on Oct. 14, 2016, 9:57 a.m. in Immigration
After the upheaval of this week with the changes to the skilled migrant landscape and a few days to take it all in and digest the changes, you might be interested in my thoughts on it. The changes appear to have been made in a big hurry. I have written several blogs in recent months and have been telling any potential client that might listen that I believed that change was going to be forced upon the Government in the skilled migrant ‘space’. Why? In two words – international students.
Posted by Iain on Oct. 11, 2016, 12:38 p.m. in Immigration
The Government has announced (or shortly will) a number of changes to the Skilled Migrant Category which take place today. On the face of it, it looks quite radical but upon closer reflection isn’t quite the ‘revolution’ the Government will paint it (and no doubt the media will swallow) and is little more than a rearrangement of the deck chairs. From Wednesday 11 October all ‘classes’ of Skilled Migrants will have a fixed pass mark of 160 points. That is up from 100 for those with job offers and effectively means everyone will need a job offer to qualify.
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 are not all that familiar with 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 to ‘paint a picture’ of the state of things in NZ though to June this year.
Posted by Iain on Oct. 3, 2016, 10:10 p.m. in South Africa
In this age of instant communications, word has spread fast of today’s announcement by the New Zealand Government that from 21 November, all South African passport holders will no longer be able to travel to New Zealand without first obtaining a Visitor Visa to do so. This has major implications for anyone travelling to New Zealand for any reason on a South African passport but in particular those that wish to travel to find employment in order to be part of the Government’s Skilled Migrant Residence policy. Things just got a whole lot more complicated and potentially uncertain.
Posted by Iain on Sept. 30, 2016, 11:18 a.m. in South Africa
I wish I could draw. As they say, a picture tells a thousand words. If you can, picture a man floating without a life vest in the middle of a vast and empty ocean reaching out for a passing twig and saying to himself ‘I am saved!’ That’s how (as a frequent visitor and keen observer of South African society) I view the recent local Council elections in which the ruling ANC lost control of a number of major City administrations.
Posted by Iain on Sept. 24, 2016, 10:15 a.m. in Education
A week or so ago the Minister of Immigration proclaimed ‘they will not get residence’ when asked if he was concerned at the impact on the Skilled Migrant programme of the tens of thousands of international students his Government has promised, or recently given, job search work visas to (as a potential pathway to residence) having completed their studies in New Zealand. He said that only about 19% of international students go on and secure residence.
Posted by Iain on Sept. 16, 2016, 3:53 p.m. in Immigration
I was asked two weeks ago what I think about the fact that 41 Indian international students have been served deportation notices recently over actions allegedly made by their unlicensed migration agents in India in respect of student visas. My response? It stinks. If they did nothing wrong. However like all of these stories, there is more to it than meets the eye.
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 on our Facebook page and in emails, or the usual political suspects on their xenophobic rantings in response to the episode, but I can’t.
Posted by Iain on Sept. 2, 2016, 2:09 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
A few months ago I was approached as an ‘immigration expert’ by a local documentary maker, Nigel Latta, who does some very solid myth busting TV series, to take part in a programme he was making about immigration to New Zealand. I was at first a little reluctant and wanted to know what the angle was, given most migrant stories tend to err on the side of the negative - migrants steal jobs, migrants are to blame for expensive houses, migrants don’t like to assimilate, migrants are a net user of health and education services - all the usual garbage peddled by the ignorant and the politicians who pander to that sort of uninformed bigotry.
Posted by danni on Aug. 26, 2016, 3:46 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
It might surprise you to learn that many people actually believe that New Zealand is just a small province of Australia, or, more in jest, that Australia is New Zealand’s "West Island" to accompany its North & South (watch out Samoa, Cook Islands et al, we’re looking for an East Island!). All a bit tongue-in-cheek, but for the potential migrant with a case of serious indecision, let’s take a closer look.
Posted by Iain on Aug. 19, 2016, 10:06 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
Auckland has long harboured a desire to become the ‘world’s most liveable city’. It has taken another major step on that path by being ranked at number 8, up from 9 last year out of 140 cities surveyed. In this year's Economist Intelligence Unit Survey Auckland has pushed Sydney out of the top 10 (always love pushing those cocky Aussies further down the ladder). I’ll take it on the chin however that Melbourne (home to half my colleagues) has held on to its top spot at Number 1. It galls me somewhat to say it but it is a pretty cool place. A bigger Auckland with fewer carparks but in feel, attitude and culture quite similar.
Posted by Iain on Aug. 13, 2016, 1:03 a.m. in Education
A little over 100 years ago a man now largely forgotten outside of New Zealand, Richard Pearse, built a ‘heavier than air’ flying machine and flew what is believed by many, several months before the Wright Brothers in the United States. He gets little credit and was largely forgotten by history which I suspect wouldn’t have bothered him.
Posted by Iain on Aug. 5, 2016, 2:32 p.m. in Immigration
Good Advisers are neither a threat nor a nuisance – we enhance the process for applicants who cannot hope to understand the complexities of the system and make it easier for Immigration Officers to process these applications, the thinking largely done for them. We do the marketing, we do the ‘sorting’ of those that cannot qualify and might otherwise ‘clog’ up the system and we provide assistance and support to those looking to settle in NZ, taking a lot of the pressure off INZ itself and other Government agencies.
Posted by Iain on July 29, 2016, 11:19 p.m. in Auckland
Four years of wrangling with Councillors ducking for cover and refusing to stand up against vested interests and ‘Nimbyism’, Auckland finally has a blue print for its development over the next 50 years and beyond. Making Auckland the ‘most liveable city in the world’ has long been a catch cry of local politicians and while it is consistently voted in the top three most desirable cities in the world to live, we have of late been suffering from our own success.
Posted by Iain on July 22, 2016, 8:52 a.m. in New Zealand Economy
In what can only be described as ‘long overdue’, the Governor of the Reserve Bank has signalled significant changes to lending criteria to try and pop the Auckland region house bubble. Although the Governor gave the banks six weeks warning, all four major banks immediately signed on for the new lending criteria. The major changes see investors only allowed to borrow 60% of the value of the second property (one they don’t live in).
Posted by Iain on July 15, 2016, 3:28 p.m. in Education
One of the unexpected consequences of Auckland's house price values and population increase in the past few years is an emerging shortage of teachers. It is, by all accounts, really starting to bite. Population growth has meant the government has set aside more money for construction of additional schools, classrooms and teachers particularly in, but not limited to Auckland.
Posted by Iain on July 8, 2016, 4:23 p.m. in Immigration
And so it begins...just over a year out from the next election with house prices (particularly in Auckland) resuming their heady increases once again (5% in the past three months), a Central Government and Auckland Council seemingly unable to markedly change the supply side of the housing shortage, right on cue the usual political suspects have started calling for a slashing of immigration numbers. For me this jibber jabber would ordinarily be like water off this duck’s back but this time I am less sure. These are not normal times.
Posted by Iain on July 1, 2016, 4:50 p.m. in Tax
It has to be said that if you asked the average Joe or Jane on the streets of New Zealand if they realise that 40% of households get more back in tax credits and direct financial support than they pay in tax, I’d bet dollars to donuts they’d deny it. If you believe what you read in the local media you’d think that our society is becoming alarmingly less equal. Although it may be becoming less equal I feel no alarm given our tax rules and socialised health, education and social security act to iron out many of the wrinkles.
Posted by danni on June 24, 2016, 4:08 p.m. in Visitor Visa
The Internet is a double-edged sword. It is the Great Proliferator. This is ideal when you’re sharing news, education or encouragement (or you’re an advertiser…) but when ill-informed discourse proliferates virally, this seemingly innocent “web-chatter” can thwart even the best made plans to move to New Zealand. Imagine the moment at the airport. It’s the stuff of nightmares. You’ve packed your life up. You trust in your ability to get a job in New Zealand that might result in your permanent residency. You trust in your decisions and your research about the job market and your ability to fit in. You trust in the advice you’ve received from your licensed adviser which is that it is perfectly lawful to enter New Zealand on a temporary visa on a “Look, See & Decide” basis.
Posted by Iain on June 17, 2016, 3:44 p.m. in Jobs in New Zealand
I am all for young people coming into the country and having that local working experience while they travel around enjoying everything this wonderful country has to offer. We are all enriched by it culturally if not economically, and these young people build bridges to the rest of the world. Some will use the Holiday Working Visa as a stepping stone to filling skilled roles and go on to secure residence. I often help skilled migrants return to New Zealand ten or more years after they spent a happy year on one of those Holiday Working Visas and we would never have been able to get the benefit of their skills had they not enjoyed their earlier trip. I have some concerns however that successive Governments have lacked the political will to start forcing the more indolent among the local population to take up these jobs first.
Posted by Iain on June 11, 2016, 12:10 a.m. in Immigration
Auckland has a housing crisis. Politicians are calling for a cut in migrant numbers (there are those that never let a few facts get in the way of a few votes). This volume will be dialled up next year during the election cycle. So Prime Minister, what is your plan when in two years the demand for the current number of places doubles or triples and many of those applying are Retail Managers and Chefs rather than Engineers and Builders and Software Developers with ten years of practical experience? How do you choose between them all when you only have 27,000 places up for grabs?
Posted by Iain on May 27, 2016, 4:24 p.m. in Immigration
I sometimes think given the importance of the role to global stability we should all be able to vote in America’s Presidential elections! Unfortunately the world’s so called ‘Leader of the Free World’ is voted in by a nation of people of whom only 20% possess passports and a majority that have never had reason to leave their own State let alone country. While they are arguably lucky in that respect, the rest of us are impacted by their ignorance of world affairs and what happens outside their own borders. However if The Donald takes the White House I have little doubt that countries like ours will become magnets for those that seek something different to what I suspect is about to be unleashed on America and the world if this guy wins.
Posted by Iain on May 20, 2016, 11:46 a.m. in New Zealand Economy
As migration numbers surge with fewer NZers leaving the country, more coming back from Australia, more Australians joining us and the same number of ‘other’ migrants being approved residence to fill gaps in our labour market, Auckland is growing at something like 40,000 people a year. Over the next five years we need to build around 80,000 dwellings. Over the past year 9000 odd consents have been issued. We are way behind the 8-ball. So we have a real supply problem but more than that we have a political problem. For anyone that sits in our traffic jams in the morning or on their way home at night it is clear that as fast as we widen freeways, build new tunnels, under passes, overpasses, bi-passes and cover this city in tarmac the faster they clog up again.
Posted by Iain on May 13, 2016, 11:39 a.m. in Environment
I have in my time voted for the Green Party, Labour (liberal and left of centre), National (conservative and right of centre) ACT (a mix of the previous two). I am never sure whether upon self-analysis that makes me balanced, confused or a lunatic. I’ll go with balanced. I think what it demonstrates is that I recognise trees are very important to life yet money doesn’t grow on them. The more I travel the more concerned I become about what we are doing to this planet of ours. It doesn’t need us but we sure as hell need it. As part of that I am concerned about what we are doing to New Zealand – our oft quoted (and globally marketed) ‘clean and green’ country is in my view not only an inaccurate representation, but misleading.
Posted by danni on May 6, 2016, 8:07 p.m. in Lighthearted
Before moving to New Zealand I was sure the weather would be different and particularly rainy and a lot of potential migrants do too - while it’s different (lightning storms are pretty scarce, I miss those on the Highveld) it’s never felt “rainy”. It still looks and feels like I’m on holiday outside so much of the time - 6 years and counting.
Posted by Iain on April 29, 2016, 7:09 p.m. in Healthcare
The risk of being obese is that you won’t get into the country. Being overweight can be the difference between that new life you seek or not. Immigration policy is concerned that once an applicant’s Body Mass Index (BMI) gets to 35 or more they have the potential to become a ‘cost’ the publicly funded health system. Government concerns are twofold – not just the cost to treat those that do not look after their physical health in future years but the fact that we have so many obese people of our own. In fact New Zealand is suffering a self-inflicted obesity epidemic as we pile on the weight. We have one of the fattest populations in the world and diabetes is increasing at a rate that is quite simply alarming.
Posted by Iain on April 22, 2016, 7:51 p.m. in Living
Most of our clients, irrespective of where they come from are neither poor nor wealthy (although we have a few) and fall squarely into the ‘married, mortgaged, middle class with two children and a dog’ camp. It is to them we speak at our seminars even though our audiences (and clients) also feature young singles, older parents and those without children. This makes it quite hard to quantify ‘average’ cost of living given all the variables on both sides of the equation – where migrants come from, the exchange rate and whether it favours them (UK and US) or not (South Africa and Malaysia) or is about the same (Singapore) and how they might choose to live in New Zealand and of course, where, with Auckland being expensive by NZ standards and Dunedin cheap.
Posted by danni on April 15, 2016, 6:07 p.m. in Lighthearted
My husband, upon touching ground in New Zealand, declared himself an instant Kiwi by immediately denouncing any form of affection for Australia and adopting the ‘Pavlova Stance’. He said it’s a rite of passage into Kiwihood! He can’t be blamed – his South African father is notorious for saying that he supports the Springboks “and any team playing against Australia” so the country was never given a fair chance in his eyes. I can only speak from my own perspective, but frankly, I love Australians. (I can hear the wailing from my New Zealand office mates and the cheering from my colleagues in Melbourne…)
Posted by admin on April 8, 2016, 3 p.m. in Living
Myer from our Melbourne office was in Auckland last week and wrote this guest post for the New Zealand blog. "There is a stark contrast between modern Auckland and the Auckland that I immigrated to back in 1989 as a 20 something year old South African. I still remember my first day in Auckland in 1989 when I asked the bus driver where the main street of Auckland is, and the response I received was "You're in it, mate!” followed by peals of laughter. My partner Iain recently made the comparison between Auckland and Melbourne and described Auckland as a smaller, more compact version of Melbourne and I think that comparison today in 2016 is quite justified."
Posted by Iain on April 1, 2016, 7:31 p.m. in IMMagine
We already warn our clients who are travelling to NZ to find work not to advertise the fact they intend emigrating here by telling one and all on Facebook, forums and chat groups, because we know that Immigration New Zealand can find this stuff out and do look. More than one client has been told what they put on their Facebook page when being questioned about their ‘intentions’ at the border. While collecting information by Governments can be put to good use for the betterment of all in the society being governed, I deal with one Government every day. It must be said ours is a pretty non-threatening and benign one and we have real legal safeguards built around who can access and use data about me.
Posted by Iain on March 25, 2016, 6 p.m. in New Zealand Economy
A senior immigration official said to me privately a couple of weeks ago that the ‘disconnect’ between what the Government wants in terms of skilled migrants and those responsible for securing our border is real and the official expressed frustration at the blinkered approach taken by border staff; particularly in respect of South Africans. It is interesting - I have obtained figures under the Official Information Act that show that as of about four weeks ago there were 122 South Africans unlawfully in the country versus 1300 Chinese, 600 Indian and over 300 British. Given the thousands of South Africans who visit here there is scant evidence of any great risk to the integrity of the immigration system or the border.
Posted by Paul on March 18, 2016, 2:19 p.m. in Immigration
Whenever I speak to overseas audiences about life in New Zealand, I often talk about how it’s “easier” to live in New Zealand than in many other countries. It’s easier because we are consistently ranked as one of the safest places on earth. It’s easier because we regularly feature at the top of the rankings for the most peaceful and least corrupt countries in the world and it’s generally easier because things seem to just work. I often give examples of how this “ease” applies to the things we do here and in particular the lack of red-tape that exists or the fact that if there is red tape, it seems to be unwound relatively “easily”. We recently welcomed our second addition to the family, which is a wonderful and joyous occasion quickly followed by a whole lot of administration to prove to the rest of the world that they actually exist. Registering the birth, registering for dental and healthcare services (all of which are free), securing a passport in case we ever manage to make it out of the house again along with a raft of other official processes and notifications.
Posted by Iain on March 11, 2016, 8:20 p.m. in Living
It seems last week’s blog caused more than a few heart palpitations; four people fainted, three were admitted to hospital with chest pains; fourteen had nervous breakdowns and a further 23 took to their beds for all of Saturday. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration but dear reader, I share these stories and advice with you about the risks inherent in the migration process not to cause you to wet your pants or faint on the kitchen floor but in my attempt at honest and transparent communication. You need to be aware of the risks and the rewards of migration, but please keep my advice in perspective.
Posted by Iain on March 4, 2016, 8:11 p.m. in Immigration
Although the system is not intentionally designed to trap people, what is most certainly true is that it does. It often forces those that wish to be part of the Government’s Skilled Migrant Residence programme, if not to lie, then to tell half truths - and the trouble with half truths is they have an uncomfortable way of coming back and biting applicants on the backside at the next stage of the visa process. Who wants to be forced into telling untruths just to give the NZ Government what it wants? No client I have ever met. The simple reality is that if these skilled migrants do not tell white lies they cannot give the Government what it so openly and globally markets that it wants - their skills, here and available to start work with full work rights!
Posted by Iain on Feb. 26, 2016, 7:57 p.m. in Living
Auckland has, for the third time, just been voted the third best international city out of 230 ranked in which to live in the annual ‘Mercer Quality of Life' survey. Which struck me as kind of strange as I sat in ‘peak hour’ traffic at 2.45pm (!) this afternoon as my wife and I fled the city for the beach house. I was thinking that there is much to really like about this city and I enjoy living in Auckland very much but I suspect those doing the survey must travel only between 11am and 2pm when the traffic flows freely. It isn’t KL, New York or God forbid, Jakarta, but we are not used to it and we do not like it.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 19, 2016, 8:51 p.m. in Living
I often reflect on just how lucky I was to be born in New Zealand. Not to be smug about it but when I consider what our clients have to go through to secure their slice of this place it makes me very grateful indeed. Never more so than over the past week or so when my wife and I enjoyed a few days in the city of Nelson and the Abel Tasman National Park with four friends. This top (left) corner of the South Island is known for its long, hot dry summers, crystal clear seas, golden sandy beaches and forests. Vineyards and orchards dot the countryside around the National Park which is criss crossed with wide meandering rivers and estuaries.
Posted by danni on Feb. 12, 2016, 3:23 p.m. in New Zealand Employment
It’s fairly telling of the economy of a country (and certainly the quality of our clients) that we are, with such confidence, able to put a timeframe on your likelihood of being employed as a new migrant within 3 months. It’s not just a theory – every migrant I know in New Zealand found work within an even shorter period of time. But there's more to it than simple job availability.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 5, 2016, 10:30 a.m. in Government
Call me naive or stupid but who wouldn’t notice what we mere mortals might consider more than a paltry sum appearing in a bank account they control? I do have some sympathy for the PM; I confess am not much good with matters financial myself, but I do think my wife who looks after our family finances might have asked me one night over a quiet dinner “Honey, I just noticed that US$600 million appeared in one of your bank accounts last night. Any idea of where it might have come from?” “Oh, I don’t know dear, maybe it was a gift from a fan, I am not sure. How’s your Laksa?”
Posted by Iain on Jan. 29, 2016, 6:01 p.m. in Government
Aucklanders have waited over 100 years to get a truly modern and integrated rail system. We have one, but it is only in the past decade that it has become ‘double tracked’ to enhance passenger service offerings. Unfortunately the rail line ends at a brick wall in the downtown Rail Station. This has led to capacity constraints as the trains that come in have to go out the same way. Advocates, including our Mayor, have been pushing central Government for years to contribute funding to what is known as the City Rail Loop so rather than a brick wall at the end of the line in downtown Auckland we tunnel our way out to the suburbs (forming a ‘loop’).
Posted by Iain on Jan. 22, 2016, 6:45 p.m. in Immigration
The New Year has started off with a bang for us here at IMMagine – South Africa is in turmoil, the rand has been in freefall and has fallen 35% against the New Zealand dollar in the past month or so. The cause? Among other things, the President firing a respected Finance Minister who was willing to stand up for transparency, accountability and a basic ‘money doesn’t grow on trees and the state airline needs to sort itself out’. This was a challenge the President could not take – so he was fired. To hell with the economy and accountability!
Posted by Iain on Jan. 15, 2016, 10:17 a.m. in Living
For those of you that live in big cities you cannot imagine the sky at night here. Being the southern hemisphere, we get to look in toward the centre of our galaxy when we look up. Our skies are dark (little light pollution once you are away from the city) and not a night would go by without my sitting in a deck chair just staring up the sky. You’d be amazed at how many satellites you see (13 in one hour is the record). We are lulled to sleep by the sound of crashing waves, Morepork (native night owls) calling to one another and a chorus of crickets.
Posted by Iain on Dec. 18, 2015, 3:22 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
They say Wellington a good day cannot be beaten. ‘They’ are usually Wellingtonians - of course - who are understandably biased. I never seem to be here when the sun is shining, but even on a rainy, cold ‘feels like mid-winter in Auckland’ day as it is today just a week out from Christmas, it is still pretty special. Down here for a flying 24-hour visit, day one was spent in the bowels of the Immigration Department’s head office meeting with the ‘big cheese’ and his senior team, part of a regular cycle of get-togethers to discuss the issues of the day, ‘progress’ and potential future moves in the immigration space.
Posted by Iain on Dec. 11, 2015, 4:01 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
A well intentioned colleague asked me a few days ago if our Christmas message to clients should drop any reference to Christmas given many of our clients are not Christian and we look after a fair number of Muslims, Jews, Agnostics, Buddhists, Atheists and goodness knows what else. The concern was that we might perhaps cause offence to those that are not Christian. She received short shrift (in good humour).
Posted by Iain on Dec. 4, 2015, 1:38 p.m. in Living
Walking down Orchard Road this morning with beads of sweat hooking up and trickling down my face, I was wondering if countries like Singapore will even be habitable if the current Climate Change talks are not successful in Paris. No one I ever consult with in this part of the world tells me that they are leaving because they believe their grandchildren will be living in an oven; likely unable to spend much time outdoors given the heat and humidity. They want to go to New Zealand for education and for work life balance and I wonder when they will start adding ‘to escape the impacts of climate change’ to that list? They should.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 27, 2015, 12:01 p.m. in Visitor Visa
That is the question... Regular readers in South Africa will know that in recent times increasing numbers of South African citizens travelling to New Zealand are being questioned about the purpose of their visit when they check in to their flights in South Africa, in transit en route during a stop over or on arrival in New Zealand. It is causing understandable consternation among many.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 20, 2015, 11:14 a.m. in Immigration
There is one particular issue that frustrates more clients who are applying for Residence of New Zealand under Skilled and Business categories than virtually anything else. The issue is proving your relationship with your partner/spouse. Clients struggle to fathom why Immigration New Zealand demands the mountain of evidence that they do in regards to the relationship between main applicant and partner being ‘genuine and stable and likely to endure’.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 13, 2015, 1:31 p.m. in Immigration
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.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 6, 2015, 11:02 a.m. in Living
It might be that I am tired after a long year, much of it spent on the road, but I did turn my thoughts to retirement last night. Not giving up work, I have mortgages to pay, but how we plan for it in New Zealand and how the process works. I am a good few years off qualifying for it yet thank goodness.
Posted by Iain on Oct. 30, 2015, 6:26 p.m. in Rugby World Cup
I have long thought, but dared not to utter, the thought whilst in South Africa that it is not and never has been a ‘rainbow nation’. It was an illusion. A convenient one and I might add ‘nice try’ back in 1994. Hoping that everyone will pull together and build a nation is a catchy phrase. It's just that it hasn’t happened.
Posted by Iain on Oct. 23, 2015, 1:16 p.m. in Living
In this business you meet people every day who are looking for something better - a brighter future for their children usually, but equally, somewhere safe where the rule of law is respected. A country where everyone is treated equally irrespective of gender, religion, ethnicity or nationality. They therefore ask some interesting and challenging questions.
Posted by Iain on Oct. 15, 2015, 9:53 p.m. in Government
Increasingly many of our clients moving to New Zealand as skilled migrants are under 30 years of age and many have either put off starting families till they can get somewhere ‘safe’ or are secure in an environment more conducive to raising children. Some already have very young children when they arrive. Given most young people are not financially well off and both partners need to work when they arrive in New Zealand in order to put food on the table, it raises the question – what do they do with their children if they are both out working?
Posted by Iain on Oct. 9, 2015, 3:25 p.m. in Crime
'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 wandered back the way they had come 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.'
Posted by Iain on Oct. 2, 2015, 11:45 a.m. in Environment
In what might just be one of the biggest achievements of our Government it announced earlier this week that it was creating a marine reserve around the Kermadec Islands which results in 620,000 square kilometers of islands, ocean and ocean floor being closed off to all fishing and potential mining. The Kermadec Islands stretch over 200km some 800-1000km north of New Zealand’s North Island and because they have never been part of any landmass the many isles of this volcanic group are home to some unique species of land and sea animals.
Posted by Iain on Sept. 25, 2015, 2:01 p.m. in Visitor Visa
Before a game of rugby at the World Cup it is common for the two coaches to sit with the referee and ask how various rules might be interpreted and enforced given there is always a degree of interpretation of many rules. All parties to the game leave with an understanding so they can prepare in order to play within the rules once the whistle is blown for kick off. Getting a Visa can, depressingly, often seem like a game without rules let alone interpretations at times.
Posted by Iain on Sept. 18, 2015, 6:50 p.m. in Living
We live in an age in which anyone with anything to say, whether right or wrong, fact or fiction gets a chance to confuse the world. Take the Republican Party presidential nomination process. Nowhere has more garbage been spewed by so few so often as we are currently being bombarded with out of the US. At least I don’t have to watch it and can turn it off. I do however have to field constant questions from would-be migrants over what is fact and which is fiction on the internet about this country and the visa process.
Posted by Iain on Sept. 11, 2015, 6:19 p.m. in Refugees
As the old saying goes: 'out of sight out of mind'. When however you are rocked to the very core by a photo of a dead three year old boy, dressed as your child would be for any fun day at the beach, lying face down in the sand, he quickly became the face of every displaced person. And our hearts went out to him, his family and the millions he suddenly represented.
Posted by danni on Sept. 4, 2015, 3:58 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
Last week, New Zealand rock radio station The Rock completed their annual “Rock 1000” countdown, a list of the top songs ever according to voting Kiwis. These 7 days of New Zealand radio have become world famous with people from all corners of the globe tuning in to listen to the vote-based, week-long countdown. Back in South Africa, Radio 702 ran a similar countdown annually but on a much smaller scale.
Posted by Iain on Aug. 27, 2015, 3:26 a.m. in Living
At our seminars and at follow up personal consultations we try our best to describe to potential migrant clients what sort of life they might expect if the Government of New Zealand lets them in. What kind of people we are, as New Zealanders, more or less. Sometimes it is easy to convey the similarities and differences and sometimes less so.
Posted by Paul on Aug. 21, 2015, 9:40 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
Several weeks ago we began IMMagine's first photo competition in an effort to gather together pictures from people just like you, showing ‘your’ New Zealand. A pictorial homage to life and living in New Zealand from people of all shapes, sizes and walks of life including those who were born in New Zealand and those who migrated here.
Posted by Iain on Aug. 14, 2015, 10:12 a.m. in Living
I am in Paris this week and next taking a break from the latest very hectic three weeks of roadshows and consultations in South Africa. Interest there has never been greater. As I have to be back in South Africa in a little over two weeks flying all the way back to New Zealand seemed daft and counter-productive (not to mention uneconomic). It was smarter to stay on a similar time zone. I know, any excuse to come to my favourite European city… What interests me among other things is that French appear in the top ten source countries for migrants to New Zealand.
Posted by Iain on Aug. 8, 2015, 8:22 a.m. in Visitor Visa
I am sure that you were always told by your parents to tell the truth. As the old line goes, if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear by being honest and truthful. Right? What happens however when one rule contradicts a second that you must comply with later in order to win the game – and you have to comply with both to get what you need?
Posted by Iain on July 31, 2015, 5:58 p.m. in Jobs in New Zealand
The New Zealand Government announced a few days ago that it was increasing the bonus points that can be claimed for a skilled and relevant job offer outside of Auckland from 10 to 30 points. The internet is abuzz! Not sure why. I suggest everyone stay calm. Much ado about very little. Government announced they were doing it in order to encourage more migrants to settle outside of Auckland.
Posted by Iain on July 17, 2015, 4:18 p.m. in Immigration
I thought that Danni’s guest blog last week was very timely and insightful. Exploring what goes on in someone’s mind when they are thinking about emigrating; what promises they make to themselves, their partners, their family, what their expectations are and what actually happens was really interesting. It reminded me, not that I feel I needed it, that migration is a very human process where expectations can be dashed, met or exceeded.
Posted by danni on July 10, 2015, 12:41 p.m. in Immigration
There’s something to be said about leaving one’s paths behind: the roads you grew up on or where you went to school, the corner shop you loitered around with your friends in your (perhaps) misspent youth, the mall you frequented for your grocery shopping, the place you were married, the hospital you first held your newborn child.
Posted by Iain on July 3, 2015, 5:06 p.m. in Crime
I always tell people that whatever New Zealand might not be, one thing it certainly is, is safe. I can trot out the statistics at seminars or consultations, watch potential clients’ surprise when they learn our police don’t carry guns, that as citizens we are banned from carrying guns and you can walk up and knock on most people’s front doors here without anything or anyone stopping you
Posted by Iain on June 26, 2015, 1:48 p.m. in New Zealand Weather
Having spent last week in Cape Town complaining about the cold I came home to what was for three days this week a mini Ice Age by comparison. Average maximum daily temperatures in Auckland through June and July tend to be around 16-17 degrees Celcius which is cool but by no means cold because with our humidity it generally feels a degree or three warmer.
Posted by Iain on June 19, 2015, 9:10 p.m. in Immigration
With my latest tour to South Africa nearing an end I wonder if this country is ready to implode. Just when it seems the Government cannot make themselves look any worse, they load that shotgun and aim it at whichever part of their foot they didn’t blow off last week. I cannot help wondering if there isn’t now a creeping arrogance given they have no effective opposition and their hold on power absolute.
Posted by Iain on June 12, 2015, 2:27 p.m. in Government
Something very interesting is happening in New Zealand. A quiet social service delivery revolution, that is being carefully watched around the world. If you asked most Kiwis however I doubt they’d even know it is happening. Such is the Government’s caution they might get offside with the voters if it isn’t handled very tactfully. So far they have done a masterful job of flying this well under the radar.
Posted by Paul on June 5, 2015, 5:01 p.m. in New Zealand Employment
The Southern Man is travelling through South Africa at present dealing with the masses looking to make the move to our (currently rather soggy) part of the world. It therefore falls upon me to take his place for this week’s blog post. A client of mine mentioned something in passing to me today which has prompted this post...
Posted by Iain on May 29, 2015, 3:26 p.m. in Immigration
How do you know when an immigration policy is failing miserably? I have been looking into visa application numbers, approval, decline and withdrawal rates for the Entrepreneur work Visa category. The policy was put in place just over a year ago in April 2014. It has to be considered a dismal failure.
Posted by Iain on May 22, 2015, 4:55 p.m. in Australia lifestyle
I’m in Melbourne this week and working out of our office here. Let me bust a few myths for you about this place. Before I do let me say if I was to move to any city in Australia this would be it – it is like a really big Auckland (about three times as many people) with the vibe, cultural mix and attitude to life that is at once quite familiar if not the same.
Posted by Iain on May 15, 2015, 6:08 p.m. in New Zealand Economy
Auckland residential property market. I know it isn’t the most riveting of topics but when you consider that property values in Auckland are up 50% in five years and in that time the South African rand has fallen by 30% against the Kiwi then for a South African migrant, as ione example, this has massive implications on home affordability.
Posted by Iain on May 8, 2015, 7:07 p.m. in New Zealand Employment
In New Zealand a small but vocal anti-immigration voice exists. The one party that supports less immigration, NZ First, traditionally polls around 5% in national elections but in the last one it got over 7%. On the one hand it looks tiny and you might reasonably conclude that around 93% of the population don’t see immigration as a die in the ditch election issue and vote for someone else on the really important, or at least more critical, issues.
Posted by Iain on May 1, 2015, 5:36 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
Is it just me or do you also wake up and say ‘My goodness, it’s Friday again?’ I know it is a tired cliché but I swear it is true – the older we get the faster time seems to fly. And my world seems full of Fridays. Here we are again – another one and I have gone another week without playing any golf!
Posted by Iain on April 24, 2015, 4:17 p.m. in Living
Tomorrow is ANZAC Day, the day which probably more than any other, is increasingly viewed here in New Zealand as a true National Day. A day when we pause and give genuine and sincere thanks to those men and women who have served in the military forces and in particular those that never made it home, falling in foreign fields or on oceans distant. We are not big on nationalism in New Zealand, we are too independently minded. If you think we are the same as Australians now, tomorrow is the day you might observe if you were around these parts, we are not.
Posted by Iain on April 17, 2015, 8:07 p.m. in New Zealand Economy
This week the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank gave the strongest signal in two years that moves are afoot to try and deal with (to)rampant (Auckland) house price inflation. And it’s about time. Some key numbers released this week...
Posted by Iain on April 10, 2015, 8:14 p.m. in Border Patrol
For some time New Zealanders have been debating Government surveillance, both of locals and our Pacific neighbours. Our Government constantly reassures us with that old line that if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear. And it’s okay because everyone is spying on everyone else...
Posted by Iain on April 3, 2015, noon in Immigration
Ch-ch-ch-changes……… We are not talking David Bowie, we are talking Immagine. Two years in the making you are about to see some changes to our brand. New colour scheme, same logo. New website, more ‘2015’ in relevance and offerings.
Posted by Iain on March 27, 2015, 6:42 p.m. in New Zealand Sport
Seats have been ‘shotgunned’ on couches. The whisky is breathing. The beer fridge is full. The large piece of beef is thawing and ready to be smeared in marinade in preparation for a slow barbecue come mid day Sunday.
Posted by Iain on March 20, 2015, 8:25 p.m. in New Zealand Weather
With many parts of New Zealand suffering from their annual drought the prayers and rain dances have been in full swing these past few weeks. It seems one rain dance too many as Cyclone Pam, having smashed her way across Vanuatu, set about sprinting across 3000km of South Pacific ocean in a little over 24 hours to attempt the same destruction on New Zealand.
Posted by Iain on March 13, 2015, 11:01 p.m. in New Zealand Economy
Last week’s blog asked the question whether non-New Zealand residents or citizens should be able to buy residential real estate. It sparked off quite a discussion. As usual I received a number of private emails (I welcome and prefer public comment on the blog) accusing me of being either ‘right on’ or a complete racist... It is worth following up on some of the points raised.
Posted by Iain on March 6, 2015, 6:05 p.m. in Living
New Zealand has long required ‘foreigners’ seeking to buy iconic, coastal or farm land over a certain (small) size to secure permission from the Overseas Investment Office before they will be allowed to. Overseas buyers are required to clearly demonstrate the economic benefits to New Zealand (not the vendor)of such investment and if they fail to deliver they can be forced to sell. Pressure is increasing on the Government to do the same with residential property in an attempt to take some of the heat out of the residential market particularly in Auckland, if nowhere else.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 27, 2015, 1:30 p.m. in Jobs in New Zealand
“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?” So said the great Lewis Carroll. He could have been talking about Immigration Officers at Auckland Airport.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 21, 2015, 1:24 p.m. in Immigration
As I have written about previously New Zealand appears to love statistics - if it breathes - measure it, if it moves - time it and if it has migrated here, follow it’s fortunes. It makes for some interesting insights. I usually allow people to leave comments to any blog post I have written for up to 12 months - I have tried to create a forum for people to share and learn. Even when the evidence seems to contradict the comment.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 14, 2015, 10:47 a.m. in Living
It’s been a big week and my apologies for the later edition of the Southern Man. It’s that time of year when the Accountant wants to see me, the Dentist decided on a bit of root canal, I had a mediation over a leaky house issue before it gets to the Courts and somewhere in among all that did a week’s worth of work. Hey, I am only human and Southern Man’s letter from new Zealand just had to wait.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 6, 2015, 4:39 p.m. in New Zealand Economy
The issue of unaffordable housing, particularly in Auckland, continues to dog the Government which in my opinion seems to refuse to actively address the issue, other than to do some minor tinkering around the edges. With the average house representing more than six times the average annual salary in Auckland, this city is becoming one where many people might have to accept renting for their whole lives
Posted by Iain on Jan. 30, 2015, 3:03 p.m. in Education
It’s that time of year when several thousand nervous and excited 5 year olds head off for their first day of school. No doubt their parents, like we all did, will fuss and worry over whether they will ‘succeed’ or ‘fail’ rise to the top or sink to the bottom, be prepared for a fulsome and rewarding life (however you might measure that) but all will want, indeed as New Zealanders, demand, a quality education
Posted by Iain on Jan. 23, 2015, 3:25 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
At this time of the year we Kiwis love nothing more than getting out and enjoying the long summer days despite the heat and often high humidity. My wife and I often take a long walk after work which must be one of the best urban walks going but the other day I appear to have frightened some tourists with my friendly offer to take their photo.
Posted by Iain on Jan. 16, 2015, 12:49 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
It’s been a fabulous four weeks of high summer here – like those I remember when I was a small boy; week after week of sunshine, swimming and fun. Around Auckland the temperatures are 25 to 26 degrees, the humidity isn’t too bad making the comfort level feel more like 30, there has hardly been a cloud in the sky and after thinking in December I’d have to put drainage in the garden it is now a daily fight to keep the plants alive with constant watering.
Posted by Iain on Dec. 19, 2014, 2:43 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
Here we are, another year almost over and Christmas bearing down upon us like a runaway freight train…… I love this time of year. Not just trying to getting a break from the rigours of the day job but the thought of total relaxation for a couple of weeks by the pool or at the beach. Christmas means many things to many people and here in New Zealand it has largely left behind its Christian roots
Posted by Iain on Dec. 12, 2014, 2:43 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
Having just arrived back to a very humid Auckland it seems that at last summer has arrived. Temperatures are now around 24 degrees and the humidity levels are about 90%. The wind of the past 6-8 weeks seems to have abated as the Pacific high pressure cells smother the northern parts of New Zealand like a warm blanket. While December can continue to be wet on and
Posted by Iain on Dec. 5, 2014, 4:53 p.m. in Immigration
What happens when an organisation has no competition, no profit motive and it is the only supplier of a service with a captive audience? You call yourself a Government Department and you get the following true but barely imaginable story. I won’t name the Branch of Immigration New Zealand as I hope to sort this problem out...
Posted by Iain on Nov. 29, 2014, 12:40 a.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
People move to New Zealand for all sorts of reasons – there are the obvious ‘pull’ factors - they fall in love with one of us and the partner says ‘I am going home, come with me’ or they come on holiday and fall in love with the country having fallen in love with the lifestyle and people and sometimes they are pulled in our direction by family responsibilities or needs. Sometimes they don’t choose us at all...
Posted by Iain on Nov. 21, 2014, 8:37 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
I write a lot in this blog about the practical difficulties of securing a long term future in New Zealand in terms of the rules and regulations and labour market barriers and sometimes don’t think I focus enough on the life that might await you once you have. Perhaps I take the laid back New Zealand way of life for granted because it is my life.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 14, 2014, 4:04 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
New Zealand has once again been ranked in the top three most prosperous countries in the world for 2014. Topping the annual list this year is Norway followed by Switzerland in second place. For what it is worth Australia came in seventh so a tidy little double for the Immagine Immigration countries of destination…The least prosperous country this year was the Central African Republic. The United States came in 10th.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 7, 2014, 3:25 p.m. in Jobs in New Zealand
I have written many times about the “chicken and egg” situation that exists for migrants trying to enter the labour market before they have a Resident Visa. That is that the employers generally demand Work Visas before they will offer jobs but the Immigration Department cannot (on the whole) give a Work Visa without that job. It is the reason why many migrants fail in their quest to get New Zealand Residence...
Posted by Iain on Oct. 31, 2014, 5:25 p.m. in Living
We are often asked want entitlements migrants have to local tax payer funded health care. Before I answer that it is worth explaining that the New Zealand health system is overwhelmingly tax payer funded i.e. you are a resident for tax purposes (not to be confused with actually paying tax…) you are covered by a system which you don’t pay (much) to use when you need it .
Posted by Paul on Oct. 24, 2014, 4:01 p.m. in Retirement
We all grow old. It is an inevitable consequence of living. Can't escape it, can't change it. You may, if you happen to be incredibly wealthy and with no medical aversion to plastic, be able to postpone it, but no matter what tactics you employ to stave off father time, we all get there in the end. For some (including myself), the thought of the 'twilight years' brings with it visions of plush leather recliners...
Posted by Iain on Oct. 17, 2014, 9 p.m. in New Zealand Economy
I often think of my homeland as the little country that could. And in equal measure the little country that doesn’t realise that it is actually quite special. Two events this week reminded me of how we punch well above our weight and a third quickly reminded me most New Zealanders don’t appreciate just how special we are.
Posted by Paul on Oct. 10, 2014, 8:42 p.m. in Immigration
There is no doubt that the internet has changed our lives – forever. Our ability to access information at the click of the button and our ability to connect and share that information with people anywhere in the world is truly awe inspiring. It has given people in the most remote and isolated places the ability to talk to those in the most densely populated parts of the planet.
Posted by Iain on Oct. 3, 2014, 4:39 p.m. in Living
I was having a catch up with one of my clients from Johannesburg a few days ago who is two years into her new life in New Zealand. She recounted to me a recent Facebook exchange between her friends back ‘home’ not believing her when she told them that her 8 year old son disappears with his neighbourhood friends to the local playground where they run, climb and cavort unsupervised and unattended by any adult.
Posted by Iain on Sept. 26, 2014, 5:25 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
It really is so easy to take this country for granted. I was reminded of this in two small ways recently. A couple of weeks ago a client arrived from Indonesia to find employment in order to secure his family’s skilled migrant visa.
Posted by Iain on Sept. 19, 2014, 5:43 p.m. in Living
Sometimes, when sitting with friends having a dinner party I try and explain what I do all day. Don’t get me wrong, the story I am about to tell is the reason that we are in business – the lunacy of the immigration process...
Posted by Iain on Sept. 5, 2014, 4:07 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
It is two weeks out from our three yearly national elections and about this time I get plenty of emails from people asking if New Zealand is going to shut its doors to immigrants.
Posted by Iain on Aug. 29, 2014, 2:59 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
I reckon you could spend a lifetime of weekends visiting somewhere new in New Zealand and you would never see it all. It is that diverse and that exciting. Cities, towns, villages, forests, theatres, festivals, mountains, beaches, rivers, nature reserves, national parks, scuba diving, sky diving, mountain biking, hiking, rafting, sailing, boating, fishing – it just goes on and on.
Posted by Iain on Aug. 22, 2014, 3:05 p.m. in Immigration
With exports up in value by 25% in the past six years and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the developed world at 5.6% I cannot always portray how impressed I am of the people of this country who by and large don’t sit around and whinge, they just create, develop (usually on the smell of an oily rag)...
Posted by Iain on Aug. 15, 2014, 2:47 p.m. in Immigration
Why is immigration always framed by politicians in New Zealand and abroad as if it is a problem? With the highest net migration figures in over ten years our Prime Minister last week felt compelled to explain the latest immigration ‘problem’ will go away soon enough. It’s just part of a cycle, they are mainly Australians (not real migrants then one assumes…..).
Posted by Iain on Aug. 8, 2014, 8:16 p.m. in Jobs in New Zealand
Reflecting an economy in expansion mode latest unemployment statistics must make very pleasant reading for a Government one month out from national elections. The unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level in 5 years and at 5.6% New Zealand now has...
Posted by Iain on Aug. 1, 2014, 8:28 a.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
It is high time New Zealand had a population policy. As touched on last week immigration policy seems to reflect political cycles – short term thinking and no long term plan. Say what you like about China and Singapore but at least they have long term plans even if you don’t agree with them.
Posted by Iain on July 24, 2014, 4:39 p.m. in Immigration
I have just spent four weeks in Paris and Barcelona (relax this isn’t a story about what I did on my summer break…) on a working holiday and am constantly surprised not so much what I learn about other people and places on these trips but what I learn about New Zealand and New Zealanders.
Posted by Paul on July 18, 2014, 3:36 p.m. in Immigration
For anyone who has ever been to one of the seminars we regularly hold in South Africa or Asia, they will be aware of the fact that we give a very realistic picture of what it’s like to live in New Zealand. We don’t sell the country (it sells itself) and we don’t hand out rose-tinted glasses...
Posted by Paul on July 11, 2014, 2:09 p.m. in Immigration
New Zealand owes much of its history to migrants; in fact the country was settled, developed and created for the most part by people from foreign shores. It started with Polynesian settlers sometime in the year 1280 and then later when Captain Cook claimed New Zealand in 1879.
Posted by Paul on July 6, 2014, 10:04 a.m. in Immigration
It’s that time of year again when politicians dust off their banners, rally the media and take to the streets in an effort to secure votes in the upcoming 2014 general election. One of the topics most widely contested and often used as a ‘political football’ in the run up to the election is immigration.
Posted by Paul on June 28, 2014, 12:35 a.m. in New Zealand Employment
This week’s Southern Man comes to you a little late (apologies). The Southern Man himself is in Europe; we had two of the team in Singapore earlier this week and now one in Malaysia (me). All the while the rest of the faithful crew were busily working away in Auckland...
Posted by Iain on June 20, 2014, 2:34 p.m. in Immigration
n April 2011 the Immigration Department Operations Unit sent out an internal guidance note to its Branches that was not made public. The memo tried to clear up the obvious confusion among immigration officers overseas and airport officials locally on what to do...
Posted by Paul on June 13, 2014, 4:10 p.m. in Immigration
If you asked most people how many different kind of Work Visas there are for New Zealand, I would bet good money that none of them would guess the real number. There are in fact more than a dozen different types of Work Visa...
Posted by Iain on June 6, 2014, 4:38 p.m. in New Zealand Economy
It is national election season. In elections anywhere politicians who desperately seek to occupy the Treasury benches will, sadly, say anything and raise any fear, in order to secure power. This year is no different. In a bizarre outburst a week or so ago the opposition Labour Party Leader publically blamed migrants
Posted by Iain on May 30, 2014, 3:24 p.m. in New Zealand Employment
Another ‘desperate skills shortage’ article appeared in the local press this week. And it made me grumpy. According to the article: ‘New Zealand ranks seventh among the top 10 countries that are having problems finding highly skilled staff...
Posted by Iain on May 23, 2014, midnight in Living
We are in an election year and although the campaigning has not officially started it is in fact well under way. I guess every day between elections all parties are fighting to get their message across and their ideas out in front of the public...
Posted by Paul on May 16, 2014, 3:26 p.m. in Immigration
The answer to the question “why do people migrate?” is nearly as complicated as working out the meaning to life or the location of a certain missing air-plane. The reasoning can include anything from lifestyle, work/life balance and education...
Posted by Iain on May 8, 2014, 4:32 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
When we are overseas and consulting on what life might be like for those looking to join us here in New Zealand we have three sources to drawn upon in trying to predict what new arrivals might experience - our own lives as New Zealand ‘natives’...
Posted by Iain on May 2, 2014, 5:21 p.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
I am seldom tempted to think there is a God, nor any need for one to explain the complexities, beauties or horrors of our lives, our world, the universe or securing a resident visa. But at heart I am a scientist and I do think about these things as we all probably do. After a lifetime of reading and contemplation I concluded many years ago life exists because it can. The evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of there being nothing particularly special about it despite 'life' sometimes appearing so special to us in all its forms and grandeurs.
Posted by Iain on April 25, 2014, 2:04 p.m. in Immigration
Net migration figures rose to an eleven year high in the year ending March 2014. Around 32,000 more people arrived ‘permanently’ than left the country. By definition a person who indicates when on arrival at an airport they ‘intend’ staying for 12 months or more, irrespective of whether they actually do, is deemed a permanent arrival. Likewise anyone who indicates on their way out of the country they intend leaving for more than 12 months is deemed to be a permanent departure.
Posted by Iain on April 11, 2014, 8:36 p.m. in Immigration
I arrived in Cape Town yesterday to be welcomed by a blast of hot air as I exited the airport. Having complained a week earlier that perhaps winter had arrived early local prayers were answered with scorching temperatures in the high 30s. Also feeling the heat but seemingly shrugging it off is the South African President, Jacob Zuma. In an ‘only in South Africa’ farce the Public Protector (a bit like our Ombudsman in New Zealand) issued a scathing report accusing the President and his party of theft of public funds.
Posted by Iain on April 4, 2014, 11:40 a.m. in New Zealand Lifestyle
I don’t often get excited by surveys but when one appears that affirms the message we give potential clients, I do get excited. Few have excited me as much as one released this week from the Washington based Social Imperative Forum that ranks countries by social progress. It’s not as dull as it sounds as it goes to the heart of what our society is about, how we got here and what challenges remain. The survey asks three essential questions...
Posted by Iain on March 28, 2014, 2:14 p.m. in Government
Did Confucius or some other sage (at Saatchi and Saatchi?) once say that self-flattery is the lowest form of compliment? I am not sure. I learned this week just how good the team at Immagine really are when compared to the rest of the immigration advice industry. This week’s blog is not so much about my team as it is the abject failure of the New Zealand Government’s licensing scheme in protecting migrants from shoddy Advisers. I long rallied against regulating this industry but have learned that...
Posted by Iain on March 21, 2014, 4:13 p.m. in Immigration
There is something about the immigration system that resembles the pendulum of an ailing grandfather clock. A timing mechanism that swings wildly from extreme position to extreme position. Oh for the comfort of predictable and stable rhythms. It seems that once someone inside the Department gets the idea in their heads some part of entry policy is too ‘easy’ they counsel their political masters change is necessary.
Posted by Iain on March 14, 2014, 4:10 p.m. in Living
It’s time for my home town, Auckland, to grow up. Literally. Debate has begun raging across the isthmus that is the fast growing city of Auckland over whether to grow out or up. The Auckland Council’s proposed Unitary Plan released for discussion several months ago, among other things, plans for rezoning many suburban areas allowing medium density housing and apartments. ncluding my own in Mount Eden, a suburb that was settled and built during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Leafy streets and old Victorian villas line these pretty neighbourhoods.
Posted by Iain on March 5, 2014, 3:22 p.m. in Living
Now I am not sure if being named the world’s most expensive city to live in is any reason for Singaporeans to celebrate, but it may be a mantle they’d prefer not to have. The announcement this week from the Economist Economic Unit that Singapore has now leap frogged Osaka, Tokyo, Moscow, New York, London and Sydney as the world’s (alleged) most expensive place to live in is, I suspect, not a whole lot to be proud of and perhaps explains in part the continued popularity of our seminars here in the city state.
Posted by Paul on Feb. 28, 2014, 2:43 p.m. in Immigration
The immigration process is absolutely overflowing with lists. If there is one thing that public servants love to do, it is to create lists (and really bad promotional videos) for everything. And while these lists often serve as ‘tools of the trade’ to those in the know (like us), they can be a veritable straight jacket of red tape and confusion for the average ‘do it yourself’ migrant. Amongst the myriad of lists available there are a few that cause people the most headaches, so I am going to explain the logic (where applicable)...
Posted by Iain on Feb. 21, 2014, 3:21 p.m. in Living
My home town of Auckland continues to do very well and this year again appears in the top three cities in the world based on quality of life measures in the latest Mercer 2014 Quality of Living worldwide rankings. Coming in third behind Vienna and Zurich, Auckland outranks all Australian cities and interestingly mot in North America and Europe also. Behind the top three were Munich at 4and Vancouver at 5 (always, like these other cities, a top performer). Without sounding smug this is not at all surprising to me.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 14, 2014, 9:15 p.m. in New Zealand Employment
What interests me about writing this blog is how the topic of migration and immigration can set off the malcontents. I find there are two types. Those that live in New Zealand who have an opinion that migration is a bad thing and those would be Kiwis who have perhaps attended one of our seminars, possibly even had a consultation with us, proceeded to attempt climbing the immigration mountain alone and on the cheap who have failed.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 7, 2014, 9:01 p.m. in New Zealand Employment
The most common question I get asked (after what we charge!) at these consultations is how to get a job when all the online advertisements demand work (or resident) visas or NZ citizenship first, yet you cannot get a work visa without first having the job. A classic catch-22 if ever there was one. First and foremost it is important to recognise that migrants, in any labour market, will almost always be behind the locals in the job application queue.
Posted by Iain on Jan. 31, 2014, 8:12 a.m. in Living
‘It’s life Jim, but not as we know it’ bounced repeatedly around the inside of my head earlier this week as I ventured out for a couple of hours break from my hectic consulting routine in Jakarta, Indonesia. I wanted to explore what I think might be ‘downtown’ here (but I am still none the wiser). If I had just arrived from another solar system 160 million light years from this place I could not have been more surprised.
Posted by Iain on Jan. 23, 2014, 3:58 p.m. in Immigration
“If you hadn’t been representing the client, the visa would never have been approved”. These words from a Branch Manager to me this week when I refused to give up on a Visitor Visa application that one of her staff wanted to effectively decline. Nice validation of the value we offer clients but it became unpleasant, frustrating and oh so avoidable. The client, a Philippine national living in Singapore needed a Visitor Visa so he could fly to New Zealand...
Posted by Iain on Jan. 17, 2014, 11:43 a.m. in New Zealand Economy
Happy New Year to all our regular Southern Man Letters from New Zealand readers. The team is back in the office, tanned and relaxed (that lasted about two days!) and looking forward to an extra busy year. For us it is going to be a year of firsts – we are now dipping our toes in the Hong Kong and Indonesian markets. Across the Tasman Sea our Australian colleagues are heading to Botswana, Greece and Turkey to test the migrant waters there. And what of New Zealand in 2014? How are the tea leaves looking?
Posted by Paul on Dec. 20, 2013, 9:38 a.m. in Immigration
When all through the house, not a creature was stirring..., except for a Government policy maker who decided that changing the rules at the end of the year would make a lovely Christmas present. Late last week the Minister of Immigration released a statement relating to proposed changes to the Long Term Business Visa (LTBV) Category. Whilst the announcement didn’t reveal specifics over what the new policy would look like, it made a few references to the ideas being batted around inside the immigration halls of power.
Posted by Paul on Dec. 13, 2013, 1:29 p.m. in New Zealand Economy
It’s about this time of year that people start ‘winding down’ and thinking about the holiday season ahead. It’s also a good time to take stock of the year that was and what potentially lies ahead in 2014. For many people (including a lot of our clients) next year might just be the year that they pack their bags, saddle up and mosey on over to the land of the long white cloud. For the vast majority of them, finding a job is going to be at the top of the ‘to do’ list, so let’s have a look at what happened in 2013 and what’s in store for when they arrive.
Posted by Iain on Dec. 6, 2013, 2:08 p.m. in Immigration
What you are about to read is a true story. It shows, if any evidence was needed, how inept the Immigration Department can be and how idiotic decisions can literally change lives. I today met a Malaysian who on paper is possibly the highest scoring skilled migrant I have ever met and if he had a job offer would score over 220 points. Which, trust me, is about as good as it gets. A highly qualified Electronic Engineer he took his wife and young family to New Zealand and completed his PhD at Auckland University.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 29, 2013, 2:34 p.m. in Living
Last weekend I was up north at my beach house with some friends. There I was Sunday, swimming in a somewhat tepid Pacific Ocean about to catch another wave that had risen on an easterly swell when I turned and said to my buddy ’Man, if this is global warning I do hope you left the car engine running when we came down to the beach’. Sorry Greenpeace but it does have some advantages….I don’t recall the sea being this warm at this time of year.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 22, 2013, 1:18 p.m. in Immigration
It’s useful as we close in on the end of the first half of the immigration year that began on 1 July to analyse what is happening with pass marks, skilled migrant applications and the implications for the next few months. In last week’s pool draw the Government selected 660 Expressions of Interest (EOI). All those selected either had to have 100 points or more including an offer of skilled employment OR they had a claim to 140 points or more (with or without a job offer).
Posted by Iain on Nov. 15, 2013, 1:50 p.m. in Living
When I was ten years old I remember engaging in a spirited debate with my mother on the merits of communism. At ten years old I could not fathom how any person or society that deemed itself civilised could or would not treat everyone equally and ensure everyone enjoyed the benefits of that society. The year was 1974. To my mother’s credit she didn’t poo-poo my naivety – I suspect she thought it was rather quaint (but deluded as the Cold War raged globally)...
Posted by Paul on Nov. 8, 2013, 4:19 p.m. in Immigration
If there was a way for the officials that run the immigration system in this country to ‘walk a mile in my shoes’, I would gladly hand over my size 11’s. In this business we have learned that you can never underestimate what it means for someone to pack their lives into a box, burn bridges in their homeland and head for New Zealand in the hope that they will be able to establish a new life here. For some it’s a choice but for many it’s the only option. And for all their talk about ‘customers not numbers’...
Posted by Iain on Nov. 1, 2013, 10:57 a.m. in Immigration
I don’t pretend to understand what goes through New Zealand politicians’ heads but “How do I get re-elected next time round” is probably up there. Only that thought can explain to me why we are not seeing Government increasing now, with a degree of urgency for next year and beyond, the numbers of well targeted skilled migrants allowed into New Zealand without job offers....Recent statistics suggest that around 90% of all skilled migrants still require highly skilled employment before...
Posted by Iain on Oct. 24, 2013, 4:56 p.m. in Immigration
We are constantly bombarded with questions from clients who need skilled and relevant job offers to secure their Resident Visas who are entering New Zealand to find employment ’What do we say at the airport, if asked the purpose of our visit?’...I have been made aware of an internal memo dated April 2011 sent to all Immigration New Zealand Branch Managers (and which most offshore branches and officials at Auckland Airport have either forgotten about or never read) which confirms quite unequivocally...
Posted by Paul on Oct. 18, 2013, 4:04 p.m. in Living
If there is one thing New Zealanders like, it’s a fair deal. I wouldn't say we are famous for it, but it’s an attitude that you will find pretty common among most of us. We like to see the ‘little guy’ get his chance and we like to make sure that wherever we go, people see us as relaxed, adaptable and easy going. It’s not that we shy away from competition and the pursuit of being the best, it’s just that we won’t necessarily stand on others to get there...
Posted by Iain on Oct. 11, 2013, 3:50 p.m. in Immigration
We are always told the importance of first impressions. I am a believer. I know when I meet a client they will decide in the first few minutes whether I am likeable, trustworthy and someone they can safely entrust all their tomorrows to (residence visa applications are high stakes activities). I do the same when I meet others or someone is trying to sell me something. It is human nature and we are designed to react based on first impressions.
Posted by Paul on Oct. 4, 2013, 3:25 p.m. in Immigration
The Government introduced a Bill to Parliament this week designed to crack down on employers who exploit migrants. It’s about time. I was recently talking to a client who works in a local (upmarket and expensive Indian) restaurant about what she had encountered in that industry in terms of exploitation. We were specifically discussing how common it is for Employment Agreements to record ‘market rate’ salaries (a requirement to get Work and Resident Visas) and what people were actually being paid...
Posted by Paul on Sept. 27, 2013, 3:11 p.m. in Living
No, I am not going there (well not entirely)…there is plenty of debate, discussion, argument and general consternation over New Zealand’s result in the America’s Cup to last a lifetime and I don’t want to add fuel to the fire. Besides our PA has more passion for the race and Team NZ than anyone I know and I don’t want to put my foot in it – or suffer her wrath. We lost, let’s move on. The race itself does however pose a number of fascinating questions, which I believe I can safely discuss without too many glaring looks from the office next door.
Posted by Iain on Sept. 20, 2013, 10:31 a.m. in Immigration
When I was slip of a lad I remember watching a movie about a group of British prisoners of war in WWII. Toward the end of the film the men, having clawed their way through sweltering jungles and hotly pursued by Japanese soldiers came to a clearing. They knew that if they made it across they were back to their own lines. However they saw on either side of where they were crouched two machine gun nests. They had nowhere to hide. To go back meant certain capture and death. To run, meant a chance, albeit small, that they would make it to the other side.
Posted by Iain on Sept. 13, 2013, 11:31 a.m. in Immigration
We have just ended year two of the three in the government's current three year residence Programme. They are woefully short of their targeted visa issuance at the 2/3rd stage of 54,000 skilled migrants and this has serious implications on the labour market, available skills and honesty about its intentions. According to its own public statements the Government plans (and planned) on issuing 85,000 Skilled migrant Resident Visas by the end of June 2013, at the end of the the three years. In the first 12 months, the target was 27,000 plus or minus 10%.
Posted by Iain on Sept. 6, 2013, 3:30 p.m. in Immigration
Last week we brought you Melanie Visser’s story and I promised you, if we could drag it out of him, her husband’s Dewald’s story on their move and how he felt about it. I thought, after Mel shared with us her reasons for wanting to come here, her fears, motivations and experiences it would be good to hear from Dewald. I confess I could have a field day analysing the two descriptions of this couple’s experience of the move. If I have learned anything in a quarter century of helping migrants it is...
Posted by Iain on Aug. 29, 2013, 3:02 p.m. in Immigration
The decision to migrate is, for many people, an extremely difficult one. There are, for people in countries like South Africa always good reasons to leave and equally there are reasons to stay. This week, an illustration of what most clients go through, the difficulties of reaching a joint decision with a spouse or partner and executing the strategy we have laid out for them, is best told by one of our recent clients from South Africa. Next week we are hoping to hear from the author’s husband and get his side of the story...
Posted by Iain on Aug. 23, 2013, 12:16 p.m. in Immigration
A question we are asked a lot is can I bring my pets? So this weeks’ Letter from New Zealand is dedicated to all you would be migrants who are thinking of coming but need to know if you can bring ‘Fluffy’ with you. Before going much further it is important to appreciate that New Zealand has not been attached to any other landmass for over 60 million years and we do not have most of the pests and diseases that cause such havoc in other countries.
Posted by Iain on Aug. 16, 2013, 3:31 p.m. in Immigration
You bet. I often quip that to get across the border here you must enjoy the health of an Olympic athlete – and I am only half joking. There has been a swirl of uninformed media opinion (print, TV and social) recently over a South African chef who has purportedly been in New Zealand for a number of years on a number of ‘renewed’ work visas all of which involved a number of medical examinations. A few months ago he filed a residence visa application underbthe Skilled Migrant category...
Posted by Iain on Aug. 9, 2013, 4:27 p.m. in Living
As regular readers of the Letters From New Zealand know I am a father of two teenage boys. One is about to turn twenty and hopefully leave the ‘dark years’ behind and the other is in full teenage rampage. Like all parents of teenagers we wonder if they are better, worse or the same as we were. confess upfront that what tempers me when dealing with my boys, who deep down I love and respect (I think), is that in them I see myself at the same age. How my parents survived me I cannot fathom.
Posted by Iain on Aug. 3, 2013, 12:55 p.m. in Immigration
The Japanese have two words which neatly survive translation from a description of their culture to our immigration process – ‘tatemae’ - the way things appear and ‘honne’ - the way things really are. A shame we don’t have single words in English to describe these concepts because nothing sums up the reason we immigration advisers exist than these two concepts. While it is a cultural description I always counsel potential migrants ...
Posted by Paul on July 26, 2013, 2:41 p.m. in Immigration
In the mid 1700’s Adam Smith revealed what would arguably become the cornerstone of modern economics; the suggestion of an invisible hand that guided the self-interest of individuals in a society to promote the wellbeing of that society as a whole. Smith’s dictum was summed up in the following quotation from his opus, the Wealth of Nations: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest…”
Posted by Iain on July 19, 2013, 12:36 p.m. in Living
New York. The one city on the planet that can make London look like a big village and Auckland a one horse town. And make me feel like a country bumpkin. I met the family here in New York last week for a mid-winter break and to explore some business opportunities. Not my first trip here and I have visited previously for a few days with my wife. It is the first with my teenage sons in tow.
Posted by Paul on July 12, 2013, 2:29 p.m. in Immigration
One of the most confusing pieces of immigration policy is the difference between ‘Residence’ and ‘Permanent Residence’. We spend countless hours explaining this to clients simply because INZ have made it very difficult to understand. So in this week’s blog we are going to explain it for you, unravel the mystery, tear down the myths and hopefully simplify what can be a pretty mind boggling set of rules.
Posted by Iain on July 5, 2013, 2:57 p.m. in Living
I was ploughing my way through another 12 hour working day yesterday in Durban feeling pretty tired after a week of relentless consultations. At the same time I was thoroughly enjoying myself meeting some really nice people, exploring the possibilities and options of them to joining us in New Zealand and sharing the possibilities of the life we can offer, when one client blurted out, ‘Iain, I just have to ask you – I have been told by someone that New Zealand is boring...
Posted by Paul on June 28, 2013, 3:06 p.m. in Immigration
A couple of weeks ago we wrote two interesting pieces on INZ’s proposed attempts to drag their IT systems into the 21st century, namely their website and online visa processing systems. INZ have for several months now been touting a rather substantial investment in their IT infrastructure as potentially revolutionising the way that people integrate with the Immigration Department; making for faster decisions through largely automated processes.
Posted by Iain on June 21, 2013, 5:15 p.m. in Living
I often say that in New Zealand we have big weather. Not bad weather, big weather…..although having just sat through a week of monsoonal thunderstorms in Kuala Lumpur we aren’t the only ones who seem to be the recipients of major weather events. Three months ago virtually the whole of New Zealand was stricken by drought which for many areas was second time in three years. ‘Rain’ the farming folk cried
Posted by Iain on June 14, 2013, 4:35 p.m. in Immigration
While it might be stating the obvious that I am not the biggest fan of bureaucrats it is interesting some of the questions I get privately from regular readers of this blog. Two spring to mind. The first, almost always from Singaporeans is, doesn’t the Government of New Zealand treat your clients more harshly because of what you say in your blogs? How very Singaporean I always chuckle ...
Posted by Iain on June 8, 2013, midnight in Immigration
What a week in the world of immigration. I often find when I meet a potential client for the first time they announce with great confidence that their case is ‘straight forward.’ Although the analogy might not be reassuring to my clients I confess those two words make me recoil as a vampire to garlic. There is literally no case that is straight forward, or perhaps I should qualify that...
Posted by Iain on May 31, 2013, 2:55 p.m. in Immigration
The local media are increasingly reporting worsening skills shortages and a mismatch of the skills available for the vacancies requiring filling. I have written on a number of occasions and advise many clients in consultations that they should not be put off coming to New Zealand to find work when they read the unemployment rate is still around 6.2%...
Posted by Iain on May 24, 2013, 10:18 a.m. in Immigration
I was reflecting on my colleague Paul’s recent blog on the proposed computerisation of decision making at the Immigration Department and it sent a chill down my spine. In 1985 I watched an excellent film called Brazil. Set in the future, bureaucracy was rampant, all powerful and unaccountable...
Posted by Iain on May 17, 2013, 12:50 p.m. in Living
After working 15 days without a break I spent last weekend at the Tanjong Jara resort in north eastern Peninsula Malaysia. I needed to catch my breath, to catch up on some sleep and remind myself what it means to be a human again after two weeks in claustrophobic Singapore and chaotic Kuala Lumpur enduring 12 hour plus working days.
Posted by Paul on May 10, 2013, 2:12 p.m. in Immigration
Anyone remember Skynet? For those of you out there who have no idea what I am talking about, Skynet was the global computer system in the movie franchise ‘Terminator’ that went rogue, creating a race of robots which it then sent out to destroy mankind. It was and thankfully still is the stuff of sci-fi fantasy; however life may imitate the cinematic arts sooner than we think.
Posted by Iain on May 3, 2013, 2:55 p.m. in Living
Is New Zealand a racist country? That was the question put to viewers on a local TV show that aired the night I flew out of New Zealand last week. I didn’t get to watch the show but I read an online article the following day that suggested 76% of those that voted in their ‘poll’, said it was. I confess I was very surprised. My experience is my friends are not racist...
Posted by Iain on April 25, 2013, 4:32 p.m. in Immigration
When I started out in this game 24 years ago my first Boss had until fairly recently been a senior Cabinet Minister who had held a number of portfolios including Immigration. He was quite fearsome, had an ego the size of Texas, detested the stupidity of bureaucracy and the way those rules were interpreted and implemented by state functionaries with little or no incentive to question them.
Posted by Iain on April 19, 2013, 12:55 p.m. in Immigration
As the world reflects on a life well lived with the passing of Baroness Margaret Thatcher I have this week paused to give thought to her legacy. Saviour or demon? Reformer or wrecker? Uncompromising and tough. She changed the landscape at home and abroad. Some say she saved the nation and others accuse her of economic sabotage...
Posted by Iain on April 12, 2013, 2:28 p.m. in Living
I mentioned a week or so ago that autumn was slowly winding its quiet way up the country. Well it has now arrived in Auckland. It almost feels like someone has flicked a switch. It is a time of year I love and a change that I enjoy (although I could have done with one more month of the amazing summer we have just had).
Posted by Iain on April 5, 2013, 11:56 a.m. in Crime
About a year ago I wrote a blog reflecting on national crime statistics for the year ending December 2011. In that year crime was down by around 10% on the previous year. I didn’t think it could improve beyond that especially at a time of relative economic quiet (traditionally with higher unemployment so too crime rates). However, it hasn’t happened – our safe little country just got even safer.
Posted by Iain on March 24, 2013, 8:58 a.m. in Living
My apologies for the late Letter from New Zealand. I returned home earlier in the week from fourteen days of hectic consulting (dawn till dusk and beyond) in Singapore and Malaysia. Seriously shattered. It has taken a few days to recover. Not helped by yesterday being the first day of the third cricket test between England and New Zealand at Eden Park. It is the last cricket test of the New Zealand summer.
Posted by Iain on March 14, 2013, 9:12 a.m. in Living
It’s been a long, hot, rainless summer for most of New Zealand. It has been fantastic if you like, sun, surf (and fishing), but things are getting pretty dire if you are a crop or dairy farmer. This time last year we ‘townies’ were moaning of the summer that wasn’t, overcast, humid and plenty of rain. A boom for the farmers reflected later in the year in their incomes.
Posted by Iain on March 8, 2013, 2:43 p.m. in New Zealand Employment
Those that know me understand my views on the State and how the absence of competition and the disciplines demanded by the profit motive means that try as they might, bureaucrats will never do the job as well as the private sector. Take last week’s blog on Engineers and our question of trying to get a straight answer out of the Immigration Department on just when an Engineer is an Engineer for the purpose of bonus points...
Posted by Iain on March 1, 2013, 6:10 a.m. in Immigration
Sometimes we are asked to justify the costs of our services. Which is valid but also signals to us that anyone who asks doesn’t deal with immigration rules or bureaucrats very often . In this business one wrong move with a visa application and your grandchildren won’t be Kiwis and therefore we play for very high stakes. We are the best at what we do. Our record suggests that more than 99% of the time our clients get their visa.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 22, 2013, 6:39 p.m. in Immigration
What a week. And stick with me. Yes this week’s Letter from New Zealand is longer than usual but it is a goodie. I think you’ll find it one of the most interesting ever. I had a brush this past week with state spin doctoring in respect of an article that was being written by the Christchurch Press for which I was being interviewed.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 15, 2013, 6:52 p.m. in Living
I wouldn't usually reproduce someone else's blog piece but this week I am going to (and I hope the author doesn't mind). I do so in response to some pretty vicious and defamatory comments posted last week on the Letters from New Zealand blog site. Most posts I took down - anything defamatory will always be removed especially when the person is too cowardly to put their real name and email address to it.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 8, 2013, 2:16 p.m. in Immigration
The Immigration Department is going through another of its restructurings and this time it involves many Managers (particularly at a branch level) reapplying for their jobs. This is a way, I suspect, of easing out the career deadwood and bringing in ‘outsiders’ who can, in theory, bring private sector disciplines and approaches.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 1, 2013, 9:21 a.m. in Immigration
I remember being really surprised when I was in my third year of Primary School when my school report said among other things that ‘Iain never stops asking why’. My curiosity and unwillingness to take things at face value was clearly getting to my then teacher. I am pretty sure it wasn’t a compliment.
Posted by Iain on Jan. 24, 2013, 3:52 p.m. in Living
I wrote in a piece a couple of weeks ago from my hammock at my beach house that I was shortly heading for Singapore, the very antithesis it seems of New Zealand. I knew as I lay there under a tree penning my thoughts that within a week or so I’d be in this overcrowded, concrete, air-conditioned to death hothouse. The thought didn’t bother me but nor did it thrill me.
Posted by Iain on Jan. 18, 2013, 11:22 a.m. in Living
Our media seem to love beating up on New Zealand. One of the ways they do it is by regularly reporting on how many of us are leaving for Australia. I confess I get really tired of it – we have a common border with Australia and the whole idea is to allow the free flow of people between us. It clearly has advantages for the people of both countries.
Posted by Iain on Jan. 11, 2013, 10:44 a.m. in Living
Happy New Year to one and all. Back in the office next week and looking forward to another busy year helping our clients make the move to New Zealand. We are big in this country talking up our lifestyle – of our relaxed attitude to life (and work), our take it easy culture and our love of summer and the outdoors.
Posted by Iain on Dec. 14, 2012, 10:18 a.m. in Living
When you think of New Zealand what do you think of? Sheep? All Blacks and rugby? Hobbits? Farms? Beaches? Mountains? Wide open spaces? I wonder how many of you think ‘home of some of the fastest growing technology companies in the world’.
Posted by Iain on Dec. 7, 2012, 2:05 p.m. in New Zealand Employment
When something is so obvious why do people ignore it? The Christchurch rebuild has begun and worsening labour market shortages are starting to appear. I’d suggest we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. They are about to get worse. Much much worse. For months we have been predicting that the rebuild will take far longer than the planned ten years for one simple reason – a shortage of skills and labour to do the job in Christchurch and the impact of that on the rest of the country.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 30, 2012, 11:49 a.m. in Living
I have three parts of New Zealand that regular readers of this blog understand are extremely dear to my heart – Lang’s Beach in Northland, Waiheke Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf and Queenstown. Asking me which one is my favourite as a few people have done is a bit like asking which of your children you love the most. The truth of course is you love them all but you love them for different things.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 22, 2012, 11:18 a.m. in Living
A bit of a change of pace this week... If a picture tells a thousand words - grab yourself a coffee, put your feet up and watch this six minute featurette prepared by some fantastic local producers. It is a real eye-opener even for those of us who have lived here for quite some time. Each time I watch it I notice something new and something familiar. It will give you a nice introduction to Auckland, our 'Big Little City'... Iain Macleod - Southern Man
Posted by Iain on Nov. 9, 2012, 9:16 a.m. in Immigration
I think I might have made a good Crusader had I been born in the 10th Century rather than the 20th. Which is not necessarily a self-compliment nor any commentary on the virtues of Christianity. It might actually be the clearest indication yet that I am a fool. This week’s Letter from New Zealand is not a religious story. This is a story about a morality test faced by the Immigration Department that has played out over the past 9 months...
Posted by Iain on Nov. 2, 2012, 11:24 a.m. in Immigration
If you are going to blog and put your opinions out there for the world to read you have to be prepared for some of the blow back. My pieces invite exchanges of views particularly as they relate to migrant experiences of New Zealand and the process to get that precious residence visa. Unless the comment posted is defamatory (and a few have been) or highly offensive eg foul language I am happy to post comments from people with dissenting views. I do not have a monopoly on either the truth, nor opinions...
Posted by Paul on Oct. 26, 2012, 1:55 p.m. in Living
I am often asked when travelling overseas to meet with potential clients, “will we be accepted in New Zealand”. As a New Zealander it’s actually quite a strange question to be asked. The short answer is “of course you will” but the longer answer involves a little more explanation. To give this thought a little context, roughly one in every five ‘New Zealanders’ wasn't actually born in New Zealand. 20% (23% to be precise) of our population hails from another country, with a different culture and a different background.
Posted by Iain on Oct. 18, 2012, 9:42 a.m. in Immigration
A few weeks ago my colleague Paul wrote a great piece for this blog busting some of the common immigration myths. It got good feedback and comment and as I sit here in Singapore interviewing hour after hour and day after day I realised we could, between us, write an entire book on immigration myths that we bust. Of my four golden rules for clients to survive the immigration visa process with any of their mental faculties intact (assume nothing, suspend logic, just when you think you know your visa will be processed by an officer who doesn’t) the fourth is to be very careful of spending too much time on the Immigration Department’s website...
Posted by Iain on Oct. 10, 2012, 4:20 p.m. in New Zealand Employment
There is an old Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times." I think when it comes to the global and New Zealand economy these are indeed very interesting and perhaps even dangerous times. I am often asked what lies ahead in the short term for this economy by those exploring a move here. Which rather suggests people give me more credit for predicting the future than perhaps I am due. In a business confidence survey out this week the outlook for general business conditions over the next 12 months was slightly net negative i.e. more people thought that conditions would deteriorate than improve...
Posted by Iain on Oct. 5, 2012, 10:36 a.m. in Living
I heard a great story this week from a client from Johannesburg who is going through the roller coaster emotional ride that is migration and wondering if they are doing the right thing in moving here – will it be a case of frying pans and fires? Her cousin moved to Auckland four months ago and a few days ago became a ‘victim of crime’. A laptop or two were stolen from her house. She pinned a large note on a tree outside her house pleading for the thief to return the items. Much to her surprise they did! In the dark of night the laptops reappeared by their front door in good working order a day or two later.
Posted by Iain on Sept. 21, 2012, 12:44 p.m. in Living
If you are not aware, I am the father to two teenage boys, one who just turned 19 and the other 16. I have been giving a lot of thought lately as to how these two sons of mine might be able to enter the Auckland property market in the coming years given the seeming relentless rise in residential property values in this city. There are now 11 suburbs in Auckland that have reached a median value of NZ$1 million with one now sitting at a median sale value of $1.9 million which could well make it the first to top $2 million in the coming months.
Posted by Paul on Sept. 17, 2012, 10:45 a.m. in Immigration
Most people that know me, know that I have a bit of technology fetish, actually forget fetish its more like an obsession – if it has wires or flashing lights, it might as well be a teaspoon and I might as well be a magpie. I also have a keen interest in engineering and science and one of the television shows I enjoy the most is the Discovery channel show - ‘Mythbusters’. It’s basically a show where two special effects engineers take common everyday myths and try to ‘confirm’ or ‘bust’ them. This usually ends in explosive mayhem, and a fantastic hour of television.
Posted by Iain on Sept. 6, 2012, 3:51 p.m. in Living
I had a very interesting experience while spending a few days in Melbourne last week. Interesting and a little unsettling. I was there to help my partner Myer interview potential new consultants. I was also there to continue my ‘learnings’ on the new Australian skilled migrant policy. As I have written about before for many skilled migrants gaining a Resident Visa of Australia is far easier than New Zealand. So once again, and for I think the fourth time in the past year, I found myself in Melbourne which is the most New Zealand of cities outside of New Zealand...
Posted by Paul on Aug. 31, 2012, 9:13 a.m. in Immigration
The Southern Man takes a break this week and goes ‘back to school’ with our colleagues in Australia, coming to terms with the Immigration rules across the ditch. Trust me if you thought New Zealand was confusing, the Australians have the concept of ‘red-tape’ down to a fine art. In his place, I wanted to share a short story that illustrates both how utterly inconsistent the immigration system can be (a topic that has featured regularly here) as well as the importance of knowing how it works and who to talk to – a skill we have very carefully fine tuned in this business...
Posted by Iain on Aug. 23, 2012, 10:16 a.m. in Immigration
My apologies for no Southern Man Letter last week. Call it a technical hitch while in Johannesburg. I hope you missed me. What a week it has been here in South Africa which has once again made international headlines for all the wrong reasons. In the past few days striking platinum miners have managed to butcher a policeman who they hacked to death. They went on to kill a second policeman, killed 8 fellow miners in intra-union clashes and of course then came the slaughter of 34 strikers by police, cut down in a hail of automatic weapon fire...
Posted by Iain on Aug. 10, 2012, 2:56 p.m. in Immigration
No issue gives more potential skilled migrants more grief more often than the oft advertised demand by recruiters and employers that applicants hold Work Visas or Residence Visas before they apply for the job. The Catch-22 of course is that Government Immigration policy does not normally allow the granting of a Work Visa unless the job has been offered. Plenty of hair has been torn out over this. Often, ours...
Posted by Iain on Aug. 3, 2012, 2:37 p.m. in Immigration
A few weeks ago the INZ Spin Doctors rather mischievously claimed they had to increase Visa application fees by an unprecedented 17% owing to an 'unexpected fall' in the numbers of migrants being approved residence of New Zealand. Given they control the numbers of migrants and can easily increase the numbers of residence visa approvals this explanation was at best pathetic, and, at worst, deceitful...
Posted by Iain on July 27, 2012, 4:48 p.m. in Living
I am back in the land of the long white cloud. This long white cloud of ours has in recent days been dropping a fair bit of rain from it but it was nice to go to sleep a couple of nights this week with the rain tinkling on the roof and snuggling under the duvet after three weeks of sweating through the night in Malaysia (that or being kept awake by the noise of the aircon unit).
Posted by Iain on July 20, 2012, 10:28 a.m. in Immigration
They say there are two certainties in this life of ours – death and taxes. True enough but I can add two more and they both involve airlines and flying. The first is that as soon as the coffee is served following takeoff you will hit turbulence. Just when you think it is safe to take that first sip from your cup the scalding brew will throw itself out of its cup and at your person thanks to that pocket of air the plane just fell into...
Posted by Iain on July 12, 2012, 10:51 a.m. in Living
It’s a tired old cliché that travel teaches you much about yourself and your cultural norms but it is an infallible truth. This is why I try and arrange to take time out with my family once a year and go somewhere that might take us out of our comfort zone and to explore in part what it means to be a New Zealander.
Posted by Iain on July 6, 2012, 11:39 a.m. in Living
I so believe in travel – not just to escape the grey and rain of an Auckland winter but travel continues to provide me with work possibilities, opportunities to just take it easy and chill out and to interact with other people and cultures. The older I get the more I treasure these encounters on journeys through different countries.
Posted by Paul on June 29, 2012, 8:12 a.m. in New Zealand Employment
Barrack stole the slogan from Bob and I feel comfortable stealing it from Barrack, however it remains to be seen if the powers that be, tasked with rebuilding Christchurch will be shouting it from newly built roof tops. The Canterbury Employment and Skills Board (CESB) announced in late 2011, that around 36,000 additional workers would be required to fuel the rebuild of the quake struck city...
Posted by Iain on June 22, 2012, 9:26 a.m. in Immigration
If you have no choice in where you have to go to obtain a service are you a customer or a captive? I so tire of Governments and the state functionaries they employ using the language of the private sector and acting as if they have ‘customers’ when the poor sods that have to use them have nowhere else to go and are at their mercy...
Posted by Iain on June 15, 2012, 10:05 a.m. in Immigration
We have just helped a family get their Resident Visas under the Skilled Migrant Category in about three weeks. Although this isn’t the quickest case we have argued – I think the record is 24 hours - this was particularly pleasing given the complex policy barriers that seemingly conspired in an attempt to collapse the whole application. In this case we needed to find a solution...
Posted by Iain on June 8, 2012, 12:44 p.m. in Living
When I am overseas I am so often asked what the climate in New Zealand is like. Especially in winter. Some have heard it is great. Others have heard the opposite. What is clear is your perception of our sub-climates is all based on your own experiences. South Africans even find Auckland cold. My British clients will swear we simply don't get winter.
Posted by Iain on June 1, 2012, 3:47 p.m. in Living
What’s the best immigration related question you think I have ever been asked? I have to tell you I get some good questions from potential clients and I also get some really dumb ones (in the category of not-completely-brain-dead-but-getting-close was when I was asked at a seminar I was presenting – ‘What language do you speak in New Zealand?’...
Posted by Iain on May 25, 2012, 3 p.m. in New Zealand Employment
I understand that a lot of New Zealanders and local business owners read the Southern Man Letter so this one is for them. We are often asked by employers ‘How do I know if a migrant has the legal authority to work for me?’
Posted by Iain on May 18, 2012, 4:11 p.m. in Immigration
There is an ongoing, but thankfully small scale debate in New Zealand over whether we gain much from wealthy migrants. James Cameron (of Titanic and Avatar fame) has just bought a large farm here. We know Shania Twain owns a chunk of the South Island. Peter Thiel (of PayPal and Facebook fame) is investing heavily here and seeding many exciting start ups through his venture capital firm.
Posted by Iain on May 11, 2012, 4:16 p.m. in Immigration
I wrote a few weeks ago about the leaked cabinet paper that indicated a big shakeup was under way under the Parent and Sibling (Reunification) categories. If you read that Letter I indicated that it was going to become far more difficult for some parents to join their children here in NZ on a permanent basis.
Posted by Iain on May 7, 2012, 1:09 p.m. in Living
A few of you have emailed me asking what happened to last week’s post. Well I confess after two weeks of non-stop talking in Singapore and Malaysia and very little sleep I snuck off to Fiji for a few days of R and R with my family and also to celebrate my brother’s 50th birthday.
Posted by Iain on April 27, 2012, 5:45 p.m. in Immigration
Last week I wrote of the little drama over claims coming from the Christchurch Branch Work Visa Manager that he and his colleagues were going to ‘get tough on those entering New Zealand as visitors and subsequently applying for Work Visas’...
Posted by Iain on April 20, 2012, 9:03 a.m. in Immigration
I was mildly irritated recently to read the latest glossy release from the Immigration Department a couple of weeks back called ‘Vision2015’. Sent out to all and sundry (I guess in the parlance, ‘stakeholders’) it was pages and pages of, well, as far as I could tell, nothing but a commitment to make consistent decisions.
Posted by Iain on April 12, 2012, 4:06 p.m. in Living
This time last week I was in Central Otago, one of my favourite places on the planet let alone New Zealand. A group of six of us were off to ride the Otago Rail Trail. Formerly the railway line linking Dunedin to the Otago gold fields the railway was shut down in 1992...
Posted by Paul on April 4, 2012, 12:13 p.m. in Government
As you will no doubt be aware from last weeks blog, the Southern Man has taken a leave of absence this week, pursuing his own personal equivalent of the Tour de France, through Central Otago on the world famous (in New Zealand) Otago Rail Trail...
Posted by Iain on March 30, 2012, 4:49 p.m. in Living
I spend so much time overseas exploring other people’s countries that I spend precious little time exploring and enjoying my own. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that saddens me a bit. Having a beach house doesn’t help.
Posted by Iain on March 22, 2012, 2:25 p.m. in Immigration
You know I have a distrust of the mass media and little respect for the standards of journalism in New Zealand. The print media here are increasingly tabloid in flavour and excel in negative headlines and stories. Their reporting is shallow with few exceptions.
Posted by Iain on March 16, 2012, 11:13 a.m. in Immigration
In an interesting development last week the New Zealand Government signalled they are reviewing the visa free status of South African passport holders who wish to travel to New Zealand as tourists, to visit friends and family, to check the country out as a place to settle...
Posted by Iain on March 8, 2012, 1:57 p.m. in Immigration
In a recent blog I questioned why the Government appeared to discriminate so strongly against parents of migrants. Now we know. They simply don’t want them to migrate to New Zealand. Not if they are from China, India, the Pacific Islands or other parts of the third world it appears.
Posted by Iain on March 2, 2012, 11:04 a.m. in New Zealand Employment
Skills shortages are starting to bite. With commodity exports continuing to bring high, if not record, prices, an economy that is growing at 3-4% and the rebuild of Christchurch moving from damage assessment to rebuilding phase the labour market is tightening and tightening quite quickly.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 24, 2012, 11:16 a.m. in Living
I’m 36 hours off a plane from South Africa and the jet lag has well and truly hit. Its a weird thing but when I fly from east to west, even when crossing eleven hours worth of time zones, the jet lag at the other end is pretty much non-existent. One decent nights sleep of 6 hours and I am up and away. No looking back.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 17, 2012, 11:31 a.m. in Immigration
I am often asked to explain the New Zealand Government’s seeming aversion to allowing permanent entry to parents of already settled migrants. It is easy to explain. It is harder to defend.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 10, 2012, 11:29 a.m. in Immigration
Coming this week to you from Johannesburg, South Africa. I remember a few years ago a client of mine who had lived in New Zealand for a few months and tasted his new life shared with me what he thought was the single greatest difference between South Africa and New Zealand.
Posted by Iain on Feb. 2, 2012, 4:51 p.m. in Immigration
Somewhere in Auckland (yesterday) the city’s population increased by one to reach 1.5 million. Chances are that baby is of Polynesian ethnicity, has four or five brothers and sisters, his/her mother is 30 years old and our newest Aucklander was born in South Auckland...
Posted by Iain on Jan. 27, 2012, 9:09 a.m. in Immigration
Back behind the desk as summer continues its balmy journey out my window. No more fresh sea breezes or sun on the face, only the gentle, occasional waft of bus exhaust fumes seeping in my window from Queen Street...
Posted by Iain on Jan. 18, 2012, 3:49 p.m. in Living
Happy New Year and can I take this opportunity of wishing you all the very best for 2012. So where to begin with this, my first Letter from New Zealand in 2012? We could talk immigration policy, pass marks and so on but that would be a bit dull.
Posted by Iain on Jan. 18, 2012, 3:45 p.m. in Living
This is my last Southern Man Letter from New Zealand for 2011. My bags a re packed, I’m going to do the family thing and then it is off to the peace and quiet of Lang’s Beach in northland for three weeks of not very much.
Posted by Iain on Dec. 15, 2011, 3:43 p.m. in Immigration
As the end of the year bears down on us like a runaway freight train and I ponder the holiday season ahead it is worthwhile reviewing some of the changes to immigration policy and processes that have taken place this year.
Posted by Iain on Dec. 9, 2011, 3:13 p.m. in Living
I have always been a straight shooter. I am not into telling people what I think they want to hear and this I suspect is why the consultancy I established all those years ago has been as successful as it has (he typed immodestly). If you have not spent much time in New Zealand, you might be forgiven for thinking that this is just a trait of mine.
Posted by Iain on Dec. 1, 2011, 1:38 p.m. in Government
We have just had our national elections and as expected the centre right National Party was returned to power and will form the next Government with two (very) minor parties in coalition for the next three years.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 18, 2011, 3:05 p.m. in Living
Waiheke Island is often referred as the “jewel” of the Hauraki Gulf. Lying 45 minutes ferry ride to the east of downtown Auckland it is an island of incredible contrasts and beauty. I had the opportunity of spending the day exploring the island with my wife, cruising in her VW Beetle with the soft top down this past Sunday.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 11, 2011, 2:58 p.m. in Immigration
I have often written about how my city is changing. Sometimes the changes are subtle and sometimes they are not. So much of the change is positive and for the better but at other times I feel some of the city’s inhabitants might just be in danger of losing their humanity a little.
Posted by Iain on Nov. 4, 2011, 2:47 p.m. in Immigration
I have long believed INZ should put on all its guides, application forms and leaflets the same sort of warning that cigarette manufacturers must put on their little packets of death – something along the lines of ‘WARNING –Dealing with the Department of Immigration might lead to severe mental instability.'
Posted by Iain on Oct. 29, 2011, 2:35 p.m. in Rugby World Cup
The ghosts of 1991 to 2007 have finally been laid to rest. The mighty All Blacks who so dominate world rugby year in and year out have finally secured their second Rugby World Cup. The RWC monkey (gorilla?) is now firmly off their backs.
Posted by Iain on Oct. 21, 2011, 2:29 p.m. in Immigration
I can see with the All Blacks now poised to take the World Cup for the first time in 24 years how dedication to a single goal; a goal that is researched, visualised, planned and then executed can be such a force for good, not only for those involved but for those around who get to bask in the reflected glory.
Posted by Iain on Oct. 14, 2011, 2:20 p.m. in Living
An easy 90 minutes drive from Mount Eden in Auckland is Lang’s Beach. I am lucky enough to own half a beach house (or ‘bach’ – as we North Islanders call it – don’t ask me why) along with my brother-in-law.
Posted by Iain on Oct. 5, 2011, 2:13 p.m. in Living
Despite Dan Carter being ruled out of the rest of the Rugby World Cup with a groin tendon tear the sun still came up this morning. Never has so much attention been paid to one man’s groin in the history of humanity (as far as I can tell).
Posted by Iain on Sept. 29, 2011, 2:10 p.m. in Allocations
I remember quite distinctly when I was ten years old, sitting in the passenger seat of my mother’s old Austin 1100 being driven home from school having an in-depth discussion about the merits of communism with her. As you do when you are 10...
Posted by Iain on Sept. 19, 2011, 6 a.m. in New Zealand Employment
With unemployment levels for the over 25's now at 4.5% and falling, skills shortages are beginning to build. With the Government having cut skilled migrant numbers (for the time being I am told), I give it six months and the impending skill shortages will start to bite and cause real frustration for employers.
Posted by Iain on Sept. 14, 2011, 6 a.m. in Living
It’s spring in Auckland and I love this time of year. There’s something about it for those of us who are lucky enough to enjoy more than two seasons. Here in Auckland we tend to get four of them of equal length although there are those who will tell you we can get all four before lunch.
Posted by Iain on Sept. 8, 2011, 6 a.m. in Living
I wasn’t going to do the rugby thing in the blog but the anticipation, excitement and the biggest event (party!) New Zealand has ever put on, or might ever see, has overcome me.
Posted by Iain on Aug. 31, 2011, 6 a.m. in Immigration
I sometimes feel like a very frustrated Sherlock Holmes, and in the absence of any public statements or explanations as to what they are doing, it is left to industry experts, such as myself, to analyse and speculate.
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