It's just a thought...
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Posted by Iain on June 12, 2020, 1:13 p.m. in New Zealand
New Zealand is now back to normal. No restrictions on what we do, where we do it or in what numbers. There are no active cases any longer in New Zealand. The virus will only arrive on planes (or boats) so the borders will remain closed, with few exceptions (except it seems movie makers and those with work visas for positions of regional or national importance, earning twice the median income for a time critical project,etc) and no end in sight.
Still the Government stays silent on its plans for the majority with visas who are stuck offshore.
What an interesting three months it has been.
I've learned so much these past few weeks as the lockdown forced upon us new ways of thinking about how we live our lives, how (much) we shop, how we get around, how we work and how we do business in a world where if you can't work remotely and don't have an online sales portal you are largely screwed. A world where, just as we get over this pandemic, experts are telling us a global pandemic is now expected every ten years as we continue to grow our population, further encroach on natural spaces and get in ever closer contact with the creatures that share the planet with us but which we want to run over with bulldozers and/or eat.
With NZ now free of coronavirus we've enjoyed, for the first time in over two months, the freedom to go where we want, however we want and in whatever numbers we want.
It is actually quite surreal.
I've learned that at IMMagine we can continue to deliver our service without all sitting in our downtown office. I've learned that there's no need for a Monday to Friday work regime. Even less for a 9 to 5 workday. No reason to spend hours sitting in traffic (cutting greenhouse gas emissions), being stuck on buses or trains or travelling to work at the same time as several hundred thousand others Aucklanders.
I've learned I don't miss Auckland. Sitting up here in Northland in early winter having lunch in the sun in shorts and tee shirt, is really quite nice. I realise I don't miss airports, planes and hotels.
And there's one other thing I've learned.
If you have a problem do not look to Goverment to solve it. Don't expect politicans to know the answers. Not to the big questions, nor the small.
Look even less to the public servants, those agents of Government.
This week we were asked by INZ's General Manager to complete a survey on the quality of their service over the past few weeks. I'm not sure what he expected us to say given they were not at work for 8 weeks because they are so useless they couldn't work remotely, but at the same time I am not sure he will enjoy the responses he got from my team.
What first caught our eye was this bold statement:
‘As trusted stewards of the immigration system, we continue to facilitate and protect New Zealand’s interests throughout this unprecedented time.’
For starters, nobody who deals with these clowns trusts the Immigration Department. Nobody who works with them every day like we do, anyway.
They aren’t ‘stewards’, they are state functionaries that get in the way more than they add much value to anything.
We don’t see too much evidence of facilitation either.
Even less protection of the interests of thousands of employers with staff stuck in visa limbo.
What we see is a deer trapped in the headlights not knowing which way to turn.
Infrequently we receive announcements that they are thinking about doing a 'piece of work' on this 'framework' or that 'joined up' cross agency approach....announcements that they are thinking about thinking about stuff. (They actually get paid to think about thinking).
There will be no new normal for INZ as there is for the rest of us. They have already slipped back into their distorted reality, one size fits all, unplug the brain cells approach to, well, almost everything it seems.
Exhibit A. As New Zealand went into lockdown we filed a work visa for a highly skilled client. He had been offered the position of a Lift Mechanic. He was in New Zealand, his family was in Zimbabwe, the company was looking to fill several such roles. They had advertised for months. He was the only one they found. We filed his work visa, fully documented and almost decision ready (it was when a case officer finally picked it up)
INZ sent out their now standard post lockdown patter, a robotic letter demanding the employer demonstrate that they could still not find anyone to fill the vacancy. Didn’t matter that they couldn’t when they offered the job to our client, all that is important to these ‘facilitators’, these ‘stewards’ was whether they could find someone on the day the visa application was finally assessed. No matter how long they sat on it without actioning anything.
The employer had not stopped advertising when our client was offered the job, as they were looking for several.
We were told by INZ they were not demanding the company advertise some more, but that was the clear inference (even though the employer had been until very recently).
We obtained a letter from an expert industry specific recruiter confirming that the lockdown and rising local unemployment had not seen any rise in the numbers of local applicants available or applying for this and similar highly specialised technical roles. In fact, the opposite is happening - as everyone is back at work and the construction sector is working in full catch up mode, demand for these skills had increased.
We pointed out to INZ that the labour market isn’t imploding across the board, it is selective and some sectors are seeing lots of advertising.
Advertising dropped by around 90% as we went into lockdown and through April (obviously and predictably) but jumped by 75% in May. Hardly an imploding labour market demanding any great change in the way INZ carries out local labour market testing. However, the instruction from on high was they should, so rather than breaking things down by sector or occupation, thinking about how each sector might be impacted (tourism decimated; hospitality lockdown hit but at level 1 now rebounding; ICT, Education and Construction - hardly affected at all) and rather than treating ‘each case on its merits’ we started seeing the same templated garbage being pumped out.
Prove you still can’t find a local they demanded. Okay. Easy, here is a reminder of the evidence we supplied previously and here is an updated snapshot of the market.
Here is the verbatim response (meaning the grammar and syntax is not mine) to that initial response from us:
‘To proceed further of the client’s application to process, we require the following information:
Income tax or bank statements from overseas over a period the client works between April 2012 to July 2019. We note that you have provided the work reference letters from South Africa, however we require this information for the verification purpose only. Also, employer is looking for the applicants to have at least five years length of experience to qualify for this role’
What the officer failed to realise, because she clearly doesn’t know even the most basic of rules is that a person can be qualified for the role they are seeking to fill in NZ if they have a particular qualification OR a certain number of years of work experience. This client has both and is qualified by either and his work experience is immaterial. No need to verify anything.
Further, this is not the first correspondence with this officer - we can but scratch our heads over why this issue wasn’t raised the first time around over two weeks ago (answer - because she hadn’t thought about it the first time she emailed us, she must have thought of this ‘concern’ later).
My colleague questioned why this work experience verification was only being raised now and pointed out that it wasn’t material to the decision.
The officer replied she’d go and speak to her Supervisor.
She replied a few minutes later advising not to worry about the work verification. No apology. No nothing.
Clearly, she didn’t know the rules. We called her out. Only then did she go and ask what the rule was. The Supervisor told her IMMagine is right.
The work visa was approved and issued today. But what a struggle!
Don’t you think, just maybe, if you have a trainee you’d do what I do when someone without much experience joins IMMagine and demand they draft their correspondence, show it to someone who knows the rules, ask them to justify their thinking, get it right and then send it to the client or their legal representative?
Generally, no new Adviser at IMMagine is allowed to send out unchecked correspondence for a year until we have absolute confidence they can do so accurately.
The General Manager of INZ claims he leads an organisation that sets out to ‘facilitate and protect’ during these ‘unprecedented times’. What he leads is actually a three ring circus without a ringmaster. They facilitate little. They obstruct much.
As I reflect on everything that has changed these past ten weeks, how our business has evolved rapidly and successfully to the point where reading this you have no idea where I am writing it, or where the Lead and Second Lead Consultants working on client files are working from, it occurs to me that one thing that will never change is INZ.
The politicians and bureaucrats won’t get us out of the economic hole we are in. It is our clients, their employers and all the other private sector businesses that face the rigours and discipline of a competitive marketplace who will do so.
INZ remains, sadly, a rigid and monopolistic government department that deludes itself as to its role and importance.
They seem to have learned no lessons as at all.
Until next week
Posted by Iain on Jan. 17, 2020, 6:50 p.m. in Skilled Migrant Category
What does 2020 bring for skilled migrants?
The short answer is delays and frustrations.
INZ continues to advise that they are placing skilled migrant (points) resident visa applications into two queues — those that warrant prioritisation based on two limited criteria and those that do not.
Priority to INZ today means you earn a "high salary" of $104,000 or higher. Alternatively your New Zealand job is in an occupation that requires statutory registration.
The priority cases are being allocated within a few months of receipt and everything else I am continuously told by the senior management will be allocated “strictly in chronological order of receipt of the application”. As recently as yesterday.
INZ has essentially stopped allocating for substantive processing, non-priority resident visa applications received after December 2018 (not 2019).
It is extremely difficult to explain to a Software Engineer earning $103,000 that his case will now take 2 years to be allocated and processed when his colleague sitting at the next work station on the same work visa is getting priority because he earns $104,000. Or tell the Auditor they don’t warrant priority but the Electrician does.
What makes the (registered) Electrician more valuable to the country than the Auditor?
And where did these prioritisation criteria come from anyway? Who dreamed them up?
It is arbitrary and a mess. And it is getting messier. The Minister of immigration, Iain Lees-Galloway was warned and acknowledged this problem in April last year. He has done nothing about it.
The reasons we got here are clear and were predictable. The consequences of a wrong move now by Government is frightening. All the solutions are unpalatable.
INZ is contractually obligated and resourced by their political masters to only process and approve the number of skilled migrant resident visas that the government has set out in the publicly listed residence program (which lasts 18 months before being revisited). Although for years, and when convenient because they issued fewer resident visas than their annual ‘target”, the politicians constantly told us that they operate targets and not quotas (‘the numbers aren’t important, it is about quality”), yet all of a sudden, when the economy is on fire and lots of migrants have skilled jobs these ‘targets’ cannot be exceeded. Which rather makes them sound more like quotas to me. Targets when it suits. Quotas when it suits.
As of yesterday I am informed that there are 10,000 priority and non-priority applications covering approximately 37,000 people sitting in the queue waiting to be allocated. What took six months last year will take 18 months now.
So how did we get here?
It is the government that sets the annual targets/quotas and it is the government that sets the pass mark to be selected from the skilled migrant pool. I have written previously that the pass mark is clearly too low and the number of migrants getting skilled jobs in the economy is too high.
In many ways the immigration department's hands are tied. They cannot increase the target/quota which means they say they must delay allocating cases for processing system (or at least that is their story and they are sticking to it). They cannot put the pass mark up (that is true), the Government does that. At 160 points to be selected, the numbers building up in the system awaiting allocation is increasing with every subsequent pool draw.
So what are the solutions?
1. Significantly increase the pass mark to perhaps 190 or 200 which will certainly lead to significantly fewer applicants being invited to apply for residence. That is what the pass mark is for — it acts as a valve system to control the flow of applicants into the system. So why doesn't the government put up the pass mark?
I can think of a few reasons — the most important is it will screw the Auckland labour market and the Government needs Auckland votes. Auckland continues to be a ‘jobs factory’ and we have a critical shortage of workers across most sectors and industries. Already around 70% of skilled migrants are being forced out of Auckland in order to secure enough points even to reach the 160 threshold.
In construction, hospitality, tourism and child care, the impacts are already being felt with the current pass mark exacerbating existing skills shortages. If they put the pass mark up the government is going to have Auckland employers screaming even louder. Given the importance of Auckland to the national economy, if the Government restricts the labour market there too much, you're going to see a significant decrease in economic activity. That is not politically very palatable for the government.
Another reason is that many of the skills we need desperately (and tradesmen spring immediately to mind) already struggle to secure 160 points, even outside of Auckland. Put the pass mark up higher and you'll be excluding some of the most critical skills we lack.
2. Let the allocation of processing times continue to get longer and longer.
That also creates a political headache for the government which is already getting it in the neck because we have some 150,000 odd people in New Zealand on work visas. The reality is many migrants are only here on work visas because there is a potential pathway to residence. If they think they can secure that future more quickly in Australia, Canada, the UK or the US then that is where they will go. Migrants will put up with a certain amount of crap to get where they want to go but they do have limits and many of them have choices.
3. The nuclear option — shut the program down and don't accept any more applications into the skilled migrant pool until the current backlog is cleared. Based on current estimates that would take two years.
It would be simple, it is clean and it turns off the tap. Experience demonstrates however that when you want to turn the tap back on you've lost the trust of the market and the skilled migrants the economy demands will go and settle in countries with a more forgiving and certain process. That is if we had any economy left to worry about.
I'm sure there are many policy makers in Wellington who would argue that it takes two years to get residence of Australia for example. That is true but the significant majority of our clients secure that residency while they are sitting in their home country. They are not uprooting, they're not selling houses before their future is secured and they are not taking the risk that skilled migrants coming to New Zealand are.
The bizarre thing is all this interest in New Zealand is actually a good economic news story (it’s just a bad political one for the parties in Government because of the things they said to get into power back in 2017). To get into this country you must be able to get skilled employment and given the very real barriers to getting work for migrants without work visas, (our old friend the ‘chicken and the egg’), the fact that so many employers are still willing to play the visa game is testament to what full employment in the local labour market looks like when your business is expanding or you need to replace someone who is moving on. These migrants are getting jobs because we have more jobs than we have people to fill them and it is as simple as that.
Simply put, employers have no choice but to employ immigrants. They aren’t doing it because they want to. A fact usually lost on the anti-immigration politicians and voters.
Now, put yourself in the shoes of the current government. This is an election year and all three parties making up the current government campaigned in 2017 on cutting immigration and they did cut skilled migration targets by around 20% when they gained the treasury benches. Oh for that breathing room now!
The current government also promised to build 100,000 houses over 10 years, a policy since abandoned as unachievable (surprise, surprise, we don’t have the skills to build them!) and house prices have continued to climb, pushing many people out of the permanent home ownership market. While many migrants have been pushed out of Auckland in order to score the 160 points, that is now putting infrastructure pressure on other centres. It is interesting to note for example that in recent months property prices in Wellington have almost caught up to Auckland.
Obviously more migrants means more infrastructure is needed and the lack of a comprehensive population policy and planning for the numbers is the root cause of the problems today.
If we don’t want migrants, fine.
The only alternative to that however is to ensure we are producing the right sets of skills we need locally. We are not, and have never done so. How do you force a kid to become an Electrician or a Teacher or a Brain Surgeon if they want to be a Lawyer or Tattoo Artist or Software Developer?
Migrants only get residence because we are creating jobs we simply cannot fill ourselves. Deny them the possibility of residence and a long term future, and for the majority, they will go elsewhere. For those who might be inclined to let out a rip roaring ‘hurrah’, consider how you might feel when you have no one to teach your kids at their school or a plumber to fix your burst water pipe, or Brain Surgeon to remove your tumour...remember you wanted fewer migrants so please don’t whine about it.
There is a big problem to fix with the Skilled Migrant Category and right now all we are seeing is the can being kicked down the road through longer allocation and processing times — no doubt in my mind to keep immigration as far away from the election campaign as possible. It won’t work.
Whatever they do or don’t do, the pressure is building on Government with every passing week. The lack of policy or even foresight on this issue by this Government is incredibly disappointing — they had nine years in opposition to come up with some (costed) plans. They spend a whole lot of time talking and ‘virtue signaling’ but very little time actually doing anything, because I strongly suspect they are clueless when it comes to solutions.
And given how hard they campaigned that we had too many migrants, they are now lying on a bed of nails that they hammered into place.
Going to be an interesting year.
Until next week
Posted by Myer on Oct. 25, 2019, 1:41 p.m. in Immigration
With the announcement that the parent category in New Zealand is to be operational in May 2020 it’s perhaps opportune to compare the options available to parents wishing to be reunited with children in either Australia or New Zealand. Whilst both Australia and New Zealand are reluctant to accept parents because of the greater healthcare costs elderly parents will place upon the health systems of both countries, the immigration policies are quite different.
As far as residence visa options are concerned, New Zealand reopened the category for parents that they "temporarily" closed three years ago and have limited the annual quota of parents under this category to 1000 per year. Whilst parents don’t have to have any specific amount of capital to qualify under this category, their children in New Zealand would have to have a significant earning capacity with annual incomes of at least $106,080 to sponsor a single parent or $159,120 to sponsor two parents but up to as much as $212,000.
I’m not sure of the logic behind this, clearly income earning capacity on the part of children is used as a means to limit the number of parents who can qualify to those with children in the top 10% of income earners in New Zealand.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that these parents are less likely to require state funded healthcare, and given the fact that children don’t necessarily need to pay healthcare costs on the part of parents, I can’t quite follow the logic on the part of the government. It seems a relatively arbitrary (but very effective) way of culling the number of parents entitled to apply for permanent residence.
The sponsoring child in New Zealand needs to have been the holder of a resident visa for three years before they can act as sponsor but the parents don’t have to satisfy a “balance of family” test like they do in Australia. Having just one child in New Zealand to act as sponsor is sufficient.
There is, in addition, the parent retirement category which does place an asset test requirement on the part of the parent to prove NZ$1.5 million in cash or assets and be willing to invest at least NZ$1 million in income producing investments for a period of four years. They also need to demonstrate an annual income of at least NZ$60,000 in the 12 months preceding their resident visa filing. The majority of parents that contact us don’t meet these requirements - particularly the final one - but if they do this is a pathway which create a high degree of certainty. The NZ child acting as sponsor only needs to hold a resident visa but not for three years.
As far as Australia’s residence visa categories for parents are concerned, parents have to satisfy a balance of family test by proving that they have at least as many children lawfully and permanently residing in Australia as any other country. The Sponsoring child also needs to have lived in Australia for at least a period of two years and be a permanent resident visa holder. This can include periods of temporary residence prior to the child obtaining permanent residence.
Sponsors don’t have to have any particular level of income but the cost of a contributory parent visa application is quite steep. There is a rather large “contribution” payable by each parent of AU$43,600 which is aimed to recoup some of the healthcare costs the Australian government is likely to spend on elderly parents as their medical costs will escalate in their advancing years. There is also an Assurance of Support Bond that needs to be paid and is held for 10 years before it is returned to the sponsor of AU$14,000 for two parents and AU$10,000 for a single parent.
The quota or annual of contributory parent visa applications is 7175 and in addition there is another 1500 places for the non-contributory parent visa application.
Because processing times of contributory parent visa applications is lengthening (it’s approximately four years at present) the government has, in July of this year announced temporary visa options for parents that will allow them to spend either three years in Australia or five years in Australia at a cost of AU$5000 or AU$10,000. These temporary visas can be extended for up to a total of 10 years.
New Zealand also has temporary visas available for parents because of the time it’s going to take to process a residence visa, allowing parents to spend six months in New Zealand in each year of a maximum of three years but it remains to be seen when the category reopens if this will be sufficient time for the parents to remain in NZ while their residence is being processed.
So often I have consultations with applicants, particularly in South Africa where I’m told that skilled migrants want to immigrate with extended families including siblings and parents. Whilst it is possible for siblings younger than 45, in the case of Australia, and younger than 56 in the case of New Zealand, to apply on their own merits, it’s becoming harder to make plans to immigrate with parents included. We are fast approaching (if we haven’t already approached) the time when migrants need to focus on the reasons why they are thinking of immigrating, and if these reasons are primarily for the purposes of securing a better future for their children (as it is in most cases) it will be an added bonus if their parents can be accommodated at a future point in time.
I’m not unsympathetic to the plight of parents and they are clearly the migrants that Australian and New Zealand governments will grudgingly accept. Whilst the concept of family cohesion is a laudable one, it’s becoming harder to accommodate in terms of immigration policies for both Australia and New Zealand. Time, as my partner Iain is fond of saying, is your enemy when it comes to migration and parent residence categories are prime examples of this.
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.
Figures just released evidence that Australia accepted approximately 162,000 permanent migrants in 2017/18, down from about 183,000 the year before, and well below the 190,000-a-year quota. Net migration was 240,000 but this includes those who are not only arriving as permanent residents but those on visas allowing a stay of 12 months or more, which is a fair number of people to accommodate in terms of accommodation, transportation, healthcare facilities and education facilities.
We also learned this week that Australia’s population is set to reach 25 million in August 2018 some 24 years earlier than predicted in 2002.
Australia’s larger cities such as Sydney and Melbourne are suffering from congestion, infrastructure that cannot support a growing population, rising property prices (although having said that, at time of writing property prices in Melbourne and Sydney are forecast to decrease by 1 – 2%) and in the context of these issues migration to the larger cities is said to be adding to the burden.
Yet on the other hand, Australia has a shortage of skilled people in regional areas. Regional areas would constitute some of the smaller cities in Australia such as Adelaide and Hobart as well as anywhere outside of the metropolitan areas of Melbourne, Sydney, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Perth to name a few.
Since late 2016, job vacancy growth in regional areas has outstripped vacancy growth in our largest cities. According to the latest Internet Vacancy Index released by the Australian Government, vacancies in regions have grown by 20 per cent since February 2016 compared to only a 10 per cent increase in our largest cities.
These growing vacancies are occurring across a range of job opportunities.
This is the context in which some of Australia’s recent policy changes have taken place aimed at reducing the number of migrants destined for Australia’s major cities and encouraging migration to smaller cities and towns. These changes include:
As most of these changes have occurred in the months April– July 2018 they are to soon to have caused the reduction in permanent migrants in 2017/18, from 183,000 to 162,000 and their effects both in terms of the annual quota of permanent migrants as well as the effects on diverging migrant flows from metropolitan to regional areas is yet to be felt.
In fact it may take some time before the true effects of these changes are felt because of transitional provisions available to those on work visas in Australia at the time these changes came into effect. Those on temporary 457 visas still have a greater number of occupations to transition to permanent residence and it could be as much as 4 years before the full effect of the changes take place.
It’s therefore ironic that we are having a debate about migration numbers in the context of some of the harshest changes to immigration policy that I have seen in the last nine years.
It is, however, overdue that we should have an informed debate about population size and whether the vision for Australia is a “big” Australia, or “sustainable” one as some of the terms that politicians have been bandying about and to then design in immigration policy designed to meet that target. Instead of what we have been doing the past is to come up with an arbitrary annual quota because in the absence of a formal population policy, Australia’s immigration policy is its de facto population policy.
For the foreseeable future I expect that there will be more Van der Merwes, Singhs and Lees found enjoying the country lifestyle of Australia.
- Myer Lipschitz, Managing Partner (Melbourne Office)
Posted by Iain on July 6, 2018, 9:52 p.m. in Immigration
One hundred people are queuing up to enter Eden Park to watch a test match between the All Blacks and France. Ninety nine are admitted entry without incident, but one is stopped, taken aside and questioned. When asked why that one person was stopped the official replied "We needed to check that the ticket was legitimate and not purchased off a scalper, because scalping is illegal". When the official was then asked "Okay, but tell me why did you stop and check that particular fan when you didn’t stop any of the others?" The official replied that "It was simply a random check".
Is it simply coincidence that the one person stopped was not white and the 99 allowed unchecked entry were ‘European’?
This is not a true story and this incident did not take place, but we see the parallels in our day jobs dealing with visas constantly.
I have long had an uncomfortable feeling that the Immigration Department does make decisions - or least scrutinises certain applicants - in a different way such as 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 more than 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.
Let me offer a recent example and you tell me what conclusion you might reach. This is a true story.
We routinely apply for visitor visa ‘extensions’ for clients who have travelled to New Zealand on the so called ‘Look, See and Decide’ trips. These are trips essentially to find work. While the majority of our clients have secured work within the time given on arrival in the country and we file work visas, some don’t.
While nothing in this game could be described as routine, we recently had a client needing an extension so that he could continue his search for employment. He was highly educated (in the UK), an Accountant, had a history of overseas travel (for study and living), had never breached the conditions of his visa when overseas or while in NZ, had the funds required to extend his stay, was in an occupation where all clients before him had secured employment and in every respect was no different to the majority of our clients in terms of profile; except he was from Uganda.
We had discussed among ourselves in te office that INZ would likely give him a hard time over this ‘extension’ and so the application was watertight.
Our concern at the treatment we expected he'd receive was partly because Immigration New Zealand had given him a hard time when we applied for his first visa to come to New Zealand and they really put this client under the microscope. Therefore, we didn’t expect anything different for his ‘extension’. There was no reason for them to give him grief with the first application and even less reason to do the second, but as we said, he is from Uganda...
Almost on cue, we received a letter from the Department outlining their ‘concerns’ with the application – they did not question the evidence or the way the case was presented but expressed some doubts that he was employable.
The only factor we could see that made this applicant different to the hundreds of others we help each and every year go through this process was his ethnicity/nationality. Was it merely coincidence he was singled out and treated differently?
We pushed back, hard, and INZ eventually granted the visa but we were left with the very uncomfortable feeling that he was treated differently because of the fact he was African.
INZ, if challenged on this, would undoubtedly dismiss any suggestion of racism and their spokseperson would trot out their standard line of ‘INZ assesses each application on its merits and all applications aremeasured against a set of objective criteria’. That is garbage and everyone working in this industry knows it is simply not true.
There is increasing evidence that there is either a cultural problem inside INZ and officers are (sub)consciously biased or applicants are being profiled in a way that most New Zealanders would not feel happy about. I hesitate to say decisions are based on the race of applicants, but we know INZ do have what they call ‘risk assessment profiles’. They might suggest they have evidence that Africans are more prone to lying than non-Africans but in almost 30 years of practice I've seen little evidence of that.
I accept that there is evidence that some applicants with particular profiles from some countries do present a higher risk to the integrity of the border, but I cannot help wondering if Immigration Officers, given the culture they work in, start by assuming that if you are from a certain country or from a certain ethnic group, you must be dodgy and are as such obliged to try and keep you out.
Alternatively, if one was to be charitable, it could be as simple as officers do not know where to draw the line on what is reasonable questioning and what is not but every day they lay themselves wide open to accusations of racist decision making.
It is also difficult for any reasonable person to comprehend how, if rules do not change but outcomes do and 'like' cases end up with different results, that a different assessment process can not be in play. Of course it could just be INZ is not very good at what it does and these are just inconsistent outcomes (for which they are infamous). That would be bad enough, but I don't buy it.
I cannot escape the conclusion that there is not racism or some agenda at play. While it is another blog in itself, I have written previously of the terrible treatment being given in the past eighteen months to former international students seeking to follow a pathway to residency our Government dangled in front of them as reason to come to NZ and study rather than go somewhere else. When challenged on this INZ is on record as saying 'all cases are assessed objectively against a standard set of criteria'.
Hardly a week goes by when we don’t get phone calls from distraught young people (always Indian) who have completed their studies, have got a job but are being denied work visas because INZ claims that their ‘qualification is not relevant to their job offer’. A common example is the graduate with a Diploma in Business being denied the opportunity to take up a job as an Assistant Manager. Apparently because according to the bureaucats, a diploma in business isn’t related to working in...business. It always was historically, but these days suddenly isn't. There was no rule change that tightened the definition of what ‘relevant’ means, just the outcomes were different.
There might not be racist assessments going on and it could be as I have accused INZ of previously, of a hidden agenda to rid the country of these tens of thousands of students the Government now does not wish to stay. That would be no better but while we keep seeing Indian students being singled out it could be both a hidden agenda that just happens to be a racist one.
I think too often we scream ‘racist!’ without justification and it can be something of a catchall when things don’t go our way.
I can say, however, that I know the difference at least when it comes to visa applications. INZ is at best suffering from an subconscious bias they need to rid themselves of and at worst it does make assessments and decisions based less on the evidence in front of it than the ethnicity or nationality of clients.
There is, as I say, more and more evidence of INZ agendas at play and as that body of evidence grows, the pressure is going to mount on the Government to do something about it.
It is not a good look for a country that has long prided itself on treating everyone equally.
Iain MacLeod, Southern Man
Posted by Iain on June 8, 2018, 2:32 p.m. in Immigration
"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."
So says the Party in George Orwell’s epic novel, 1984.
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.
They can, and do, run roughshod over applicants (or as they call you all, ‘customers’ or the more sickening, ‘stakeholders’) and their own rulebook. I always wonder how someone can be a customer when you can’t get a visa anywhere else and the government operates a monopoly. I’d call you prisoners because you can’t go down the road to buy the service from someone who offers it better. You are forced into dealing with whatever idiot the government says you must.
We are doing some work for a major telco right now that has been trying, without success, to fill a large number of technical customer support roles.
Unemployment in New Zealand is officially 4.4%. That effectively means we have no skilled unemployed and even the unskilled are able to find jobs if they look. As an example, the government recently announced that tourists on visitor visas would be given permission to help pick this year’s kiwifruit harvest in the Bay of Plenty because there is no one to pick the fruit and the danger is that it’ll rot before it can be picked. It’s hardly skilled work; it just takes attitude and getting out of bed for six weeks. I suspect then that our real unemployment rate, if that is defined as those wishing to work but cannot find it, is actually almost zero. Those that wish to work, are working.
The real businesses of New Zealand continue to create thousands of jobs every month. The economy is humming. The biggest problems employers have today across the country is a lack of applicants.
Back to the Telco. No company we have tried to help has spent more time, money and energy in recruiting locally, training, upskilling and promoting New Zealanders wherever possible. As they say, why would it be otherwise? They are a Kiwi company with Kiwi customers, and what company in its right mind would ever get involved with work and resident visas if they could find locals to fill vacancies? Who wants to deal with the Immigration Department?
Well, the Immigration Department seems to believe, many.
The positions the company seeks to fill are demonstrably skilled requiring these Customer Support folk to understand and dispense advice on IT products and services to their customers. Although they work in a call centre environment the evidence we presented to the Immigration Department clearly matches the tasks for what INZ call an ICT Customer Support role. Appeals have been won against the Department for incorrectly declining resident visa applications when identical roles as this Telco is needing to fill were labelled as not being skilled. INZ has ignored those appeal decisions.
The department is currently trying their utmost to turn down a request the company has made to be allowed to top up their local work force with non-residents via work visa policy. Notwithstanding the company sat with several INZ officials in a friendly and relaxed meeting in which the company felt they finally got through to INZ why these positions were skilled (beware the smiling fox was my advice at the time), showed them what the staff do, explained the difference between, say, a call centre worker selling cellphone data packages and one that requires detailed knowledge and understanding of the complex IT systems and software that smartphones run, INZ continues to insist that these roles are not skilled for the purpose of work visas. They have put that in writing. This role, duplicated across scores of workers does not meet the definition of skilled employment for work visas, they say.
The funny (peculiar, not 'ha,ha') thing is the residence team of the same Government department continues to approve and issue resident visas to the employees of this same telco already on work visas, because the position is deemed by them to be...skilled!
For the uninitiated, the definition of what is skilled for the purposes of securing a work visa is the same for the purposes of securing a resident visa.
You might want to read those last few paragraphs again. Not skilled for a work visa but skilled for a resident visa – applying the same definition.
Talk about Alice in Wonderland!
So...on the one hand, work visas, and the company’s application to recruit more ICT Customer Support staff is being knocked back because the role is not ‘skilled’, yet where other staff doing an identical job are applying for residence, applying the same test of what is ‘skilled’ they are being granted residence. As recently as a week or so ago.
At the same time and somewhat chillingly, officers of the Department are in effect threatening the HR Department of this company to stop calling the role ‘ICT Customer Support’ when they file work visas. Our advice to the company is because it is required to ‘nominate’ the occupation off INZ’s skilled occupation list and it is unlawful to mislead an officer or the Department (as they love to remind their ‘customers’), the company must select that occupation that most closely matches the tasks these people are to do. The closest match is, without a shadow of a doubt, exactly what the company is calling them.
Without strong representation from the likes of us, willing to stand up against ‘Big Brother’, it would be easy (some might even say sensible) for the company to cave in. The problem with that is if they do what the ‘Party’ tells them to do, the department can then control the past (‘last time you filed this sort of application you said it was a call centre customer role’) and in so doing they can control any future applications by forcing the company to do what the Department wants them to do.
Very Orwellian, and I read the Departmental spokeperson on this particular issue (it has made the mainstream media) advise, one presumes with a striaght face, that 'visas are assessed objectively against a set of measures and criteria'. Yeah, right. Of course they are - so how can the work visas be declined for not being skilled but the resident visas approved? One of those two outcomes simply has to be wrong if the Department is as claimed 'objectively assessing' them.
The Immigration Department is an embarrassment. Worse than that they hinder and obstruct business, they manipulate and frighten applicants, they seek control and one unit of the Department says a job is not skilled so we cannot give you a work visa yet those clients that manage to get past that particular set of functionaries and secure their work visas through another pathway (as many of them are bizarrely) are in time being granted residence by a different unit whose staff say the same job is skilled.
Even though we have pointed out this obvious contradiction INZ management refuse to see it. They refuse to acknowledge it and refuse to do anything about it.
I have often said if the Immigration Department was a business, as they like to call themselves, they’d have been bankrupted a long time ago.
Just like in that great novel, 1984, however they try and control what everyone is meant to think.
It is dark and it is dangerous and till my team and I breathe our last, we will fight it.
Until next week...
Iain MacLeod, Southern Man
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.
On the Minister, I cannot believe he was not being very calculated and while I’d like to believe he had the best interests of South African farmers in mind, the way he has gone about handling the issue suggests his kite flying exercise was more for domestic consumption; appealing to an anti-immigrant (unless those migrants are white) constituency rather than any real interest in reaching out to a group in possible need of ‘rescue’ in South Africa.
There are clearly enough people in Australia who believe their pre-1958 ‘whites only’ immigration policy represented some sort of demographic ‘dream time’ that a cynical Australian politician will seek to exploit that minority world view. It is a shame that a country where 20% of its people were not born there and who, for the most part, all get on like a house on fire living harmoniously, has room for a Minister of Immigration who will try and exploit a minority view for political gain. If he was genuinely concerned with the plight of white farmers in South Africa (or, simply more intelligent) he would have quietly floated the idea to his colleagues, gauged their reaction and if they were in agreement that white South African farmers deserved special treatment, they could have quietly gone about creating a visa pathway for them without the political grandstanding. You have to ask yourself why Dutton handled the issue the way he did.
Recently New Zealand did something similar in creating a special pathway to residence for several thousand largely unskilled farm workers at a time the same Government was tightening up on migration in general because of concerns we were dropping the ‘quality’ of our skilled migrants. Sensibly, and with profound (or cynical, depending on your perspective) political judgement, it was done quietly and what could and arguably should have caused a political backlash, passed virtually unnoticed by the public. As a result, 4000 people who would not otherwise not have had any pathway to residence because they are effectively farm labourers but who were making an economic and social contribution to the rural economy, now have a path to achieve it.
Mr Dutton, it seems to me, must have known his musings on maybe, possibly ‘looking at’ creating a pathway for white farmers was not going to fly and it is impossible for me to conclude that he has done anything other than cynically exploited the situation white farmers find themselves in across South Africa. He didn’t fly his kite for them, he flew it for political gain at home.
Those of you who think, so what, if it helps thousands of farmers to get somewhere ’safe’ and to a ‘civilised country,' you might want to reflect for a moment on what the chances of it happening really are.
It is very interesting that in the past few days the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, one of the Government’s most senior Cabinet Ministers, several senior politicians along with the Prime Minister himself have all poured cold water on Mr Dutton’s suggestion. It would suggest that his kite-flying exercise was pretty much simply politicking, not for the ultimate benefit of any white South African farmer, but for local consumption. That is what made me so angry and disgusted - if he was truly serious, he’d have gone about it very differently and in a way that might have been politically acceptable and worked.
The second tragedy the piece illustrated is that South Africans have sadly got to the point where they cannot have a grown up discussion about anything without it descending into ugly vitriol and accusing one another of every opinion being based on a racist worldview. Anyone who ever believed in a ‘rainbow nation’ must surely, by now, realise if it wasn’t always an illusion, it is a crawling baby struggling to learn to walk. I got to the point a while ago in South African hotels of dreading the question about what colour toast I wanted for breakfast, in case my preference for ‘white over brown’ might be construed as the outward manifestation of my inner racist, rather than a simple taste preference. (‘Why don’t white people want to eat brown bread I ask you!?’ I can hear Malema screeching into his bullhorn, ‘It’s because if it is brown, it is inferior to white!’ I imagine he’d then start dancing and singing about ‘one farmer, one piece of brown toast’).
That last week’s blog resulted in a very predictable firestorm of ignorance, abuse and hate on social media was sad. All I was saying was if white farmers deserve a break because their lives are threatened what about all the other people around the world being threatened for no reason other than their skin colour, religion, political beliefs as well? Why aren’t they being treated with the same ‘compassion’ as Dutton claims to be showing white farmers? There are thousands of people being held in appalling conditions in Australian detention centres who one might reasonably argue should be ahead of South African farmers in the ‘help us’ queue.
No matter what the discussion point, if you don’t agree with my opinion, I must be a racist. If I don’t agree with yours, it is you who must be a racist. So it seems to be in South Africa. Even 24 years after the dismantling of apartheid, old world views in South Africa still run very deep. There are plenty of politicians, Julius Malema being the prime example in South Africa, willing to exploit those for maximum political gain. To also have a senior foreign politician in a country like Australia which has a very recent - some would suggest ongoing - sorry history of racist immigration policies, is to offer little other than pouring fuel on the South African flames. I am not sure who that actually helps in South Africa.
Is a target of 30% black ownership of land in South Africa such a bad thing if done properly, sensibly and fairly? Before I set anyone else off, I agree - if it is done properly - and over the past 24 years it is hard to find a lot of evidence this is an economy where the political leadership has done much ‘properly'. And therein lies the real problem - only when local politicians stop turning the economic argument into a racial one can there be any chance of success or peace in this land.
Maybe I didn’t explain it very well, but so many people either could not see beyond their own biases having read the piece last week and launched into racist attacks (seemed to be equally split between black on white and white on black) yet most, in their haste to rather froth at the mouth seemed to completely miss my point.
I feel as desperate for the farmers of South Africa as I do for any victim of the senseless violence that pervades this country.
Mr Dutton has raised the expectations of literally millions of white people who now want to believe, because they are white, that Australia is some sort of knight in shining armour that will ride to their rescue.
I am pretty certain that it will not happen - not for the South African farmers let alone any other white, ‘christian, cricket and rugby playing people’ that he has said ‘assimilate’ so well into Australia. If those things count then add ‘points’ for being a fully paid up member of your local South African cricket club to the ‘points’ criteria for skilled migration. If being Christian makes you a good Aussie, then give all those that go to a Christian Church 20 bonus points. Australia operates a test for English language so why not a tractor driving test, if what they want is farmers?
Mr Dutton’s biggest mistake (or achieving exactly what he wanted) of course, was to go public with his musings rather than quietly make the suggestion, perhaps at a closed Cabinet meeting, for further discussion.
Ironically, he has now put the Australian Government in a position where in my view, they cannot help the South African farmers and for me, that is the greatest tragedy of all - a cynical politician of the worst kind or just a very stupid one.
Across Australia the clear majority of people have great sympathy for anyone who is targeted, officially or unofficially, because of the colour of their skin. Given how divisive the ‘benefit’ of economic migrants and refugee seekers is in Australia it is simply not going to open a residence door just because a person is ‘white’.
It is 2018 after all in most of Australia, even if where Mr Dutton comes from it is still 1918.
Until next week (when we will talk about something else)...
Iain MacLeod, Southern Man
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.
New Zealand targets 27,000 skilled migrants per year with a variance of 10%. Between the start of the immigration year and 3 November, New Zealand approved and issued around 4,100 resident visas. If you annualise that you’ll see that it will barely reach 50% of the stated target. That is not to tell the whole story however. We had clearly signalled that there would be no pool ‘draws’ for six weeks through to late August as the new system was reset. This saw three draws skipped.
It may be that numbers recover in the months to come but given the difficulties I have written about so often about the disconnect between the visa process and the labour market (employers want work visas but Government won’t give work visas without jobs for the most part), the jury is out on whether New Zealand will reach its self-declared quotas this year.
I see no prospect of pass mark increases.
The question is whether we will see it fall. If so when the politicians will let it as unemployment continues to fall rapidly in NZ. It is now down to 4.6% which effectively means if you want to work there is a job with your name on it.
We are continuing to find that in the significant majority of cases our English speaking and experienced clients are finding jobs in 8-10 weeks. If all migrants are doing the same then I think that there is a chance the pass marks may not need to fall and the next few months will confirm that.
Over in Australia things have taken a bizarre turn in recent times.
The Aussies, never ones for originality, took the NZ skilled migrant system – Expressions of Interest (EOI), a pool, selection and invitation, modified it and I believe are seeing the first signs of it falling apart.
Historically to meet their own skilled migrant quotas (which are not national quotas like NZ where you compete against everyone chasing one of those 27,000 places, but occupation quotas – you compete against those in the same ‘nominated occupation’ as you).
Historically, the Australians needed to select 2000 EOIs each selection period. They have cut that in half since July 1. Inexplicably or with an arrogance that one might suggest is misplaced, they feel no obligation it seems to ever explain what they are doing, nor why. The implications of cuts to the numbers being selected means more people are fighting for fewer places and that pushes up pass marks.
One might speculate they might be doing this to push applicants toward state sponsorship. It would be nice to know.
In Australia, each State or territory has its own ‘in demand’ occupation lists so there is the possibility the Federal Government is in effect abandoning their own national occupation targets and devolving the decision on which skilled migrants get into Australia to the various States. If they are it makes some sense. I’ve never understood how some bureaucrat in Canberra can possibly know how many Primary School Teachers, Electrical Engineers or Software Developers the economy needs over the next year.
State sponsorship has the advantage of creating greater certainty for our clients as the pass mark for those with state sponsorship is fixed at 60.
Further, the Australian Government recently decided, again without explanation, not to do a pool draw. This has huge implications on many levels. We have at least one client in the pool (after racing the clock to get him to that point following a Herculean effort by our team in Melbourne) who turns 40 any day now. At that point, while he will still secure a Permanent Resident Visa, it won’t be the ‘live wherever you wish’ visa, but a State Sponsorship visa which requires him to have an ‘intention’ to settle, or at least spend two years in that state. He doesn’t have to live there, the law on that is clear, but he is expected to ‘give it a go’ (whatever that means).
If the Australian Government does not offer greater certainty to applicants they’ll lose people they say they need as more and more choose countries where a plan offers greater certainty.
We also suspect that Australia is suffering a flood of fraudulent or at least mischievous EOIs. Whereas in NZ you pay to file an EOI, in Australia you don’t. I have always thought this invited frivolous applications. When there is no skin in the game there is nothing stopping people filling as many EOIs as they like.
If they claim the pass mark they must be selected. Equally stupidly, unlike NZ, being selected from the pool leads to an automatic and guaranteed Invitation to Apply for residence. We believe that this is the reason that the pass mark for Accountants for example shot up to 85 points despite the annual quota of places being doubled this immigration year. The pass mark at the end of the previous immigration year was 70-75. When you double the supply of places unless there is an unprecedented increase in demand (which there has not been) the pass mark should have fallen, not gone up. That strongly suggests people are filing frivolous applications. And why not? It’s free!
I hope the Aussies learn from NZ some of the lessons of running a pool system. Charge to get into it. Don’t automatically invite everyone that you select. Carry out credibility assessments. Invite them when things look credible. They’d cut down on the fraudulent and plain stupid applications if people had to pay the $500 odd that you pay to file an EOI in NZ and while credibility checks in NZ still result in large numbers of applicants being declined, our system isn’t broken.
Australia’s is. While they don’t tend to take advice off Kiwis they might want to do so on this occasion.
If they don’t, skilled migrants will continue to look elsewhere when Australia’s slowly falling unemployment rates and an improving job market for skills suggests they need these skills sets.
But hey, they’re Aussies, and since when have you been able to tell an Aussie they might not be doing something right?
Until next week...
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.
Already my inbox is filling up with ‘What does it mean for my chances of moving to NZ?’ emails.
Without wishing to sound like the aforementioned political leader, if you read my blogs you’ll know that my view has been (and nothing has changed with this announcement today):
Today the Leader of NZ First all but confirmed my suspicions as he ‘anointed’ the Labour Party and their Green Party sidekicks. Don't be too concerned if you are highly skilled but be very worried if you are in NZ studying or planning on doing so.
Those applying to study in New Zealand are defined as ‘migrants’ and all the hot air coming from New Zealand First in recent years that we are being overrun by foreigners was clearly bogus and played on a wide mis-understanding as to how ‘migrants’ are defined. NZ has become a very popular place to study but it is quite true that at least half those coming to study were using it as a spring board to try and get residence. Some got it, most did not.
People were confused that students and many work visa holders were considered as ‘migrants’. I think most of us think of migrants as people moving permanently to a country - not those coming to study for 2-3 years or have working holidays for a year or two.
That is the reason we have had ‘record’ numbers of migrants - tens of thousands of international students. Not permanent residents.
That ignorance has been exploited election after election by NZ First.
What the public has never been told by this politician is that the numbers of resident visas being granted every year has not changed. Not this year, not last year, not five years go. In fact, skilled migrant resident visas have also fallen as the Government pushed up ‘pass marks’ for skilled migrants in order to deal to the problems it created by promising international students a pathway to residence.
The Labour Party which forms the biggest bloc in the new parliament has always been pro-immigration.
It is insightful that the Leader of NZ First at his Press Conference confirmed that New Zealand continues to need and welcome skilled migrants, does not want low skilled ones and that international students should be coming to study. Which is precisely what the outgoing Government recognised — just too late electorally which was a bad miscalculation on their part. They have paid the price for seeming to have no solutions to population driven house value increases and infrastructure pressures - particularly in Auckland.
So watch for announcements in the next few weeks taking aim squarely at reducing pathways to residence for international students in order to take the heat off skilled migrants. That is a good thing as it should then allow pass marks to fall and those that can contribute most to the country will continue to be welcomed.
My pick is the new Government will leave the pass mark at its current historical high for a few months to carry on the (bogus) message of ’toughening and tightening up’ message. Then it may well fall back to levels where the current target of 27,000 skilled migrants and their families might be met. In the meantime it’ll be spun as ‘quality over quantity’.
Foreign buyers will be limited from purchasing of existing residential property but that is common in many countries. My pick is we will follow Australia's pathway of allowing foreign buyers to buy sections and build. Maybe.
Potential skilled migrants in my view should sleep well tonight.
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.
Putting the brakes on the numbers of students transitioning to work and potentially resident visas is a move that will, later this year, have enormous potential impact on thousands of international students that were studying with a clear intention to use the pathway to residence created by the Government. Clearly, an informed Labour Party is aware that the National Party had already played this card. Having promised cuts in the ‘tens of thousands’, I guess they had to come up with something, somehow.
Just as the Government hasn’t actually cut a single visa from its residence programme, it appears neither has Labour in its announcement today.
It’s all smoke and mirrors designed to take the wind of our of NZ First’s sails.
No one suggests that many of the jobs currently being filled by temporary work or student visa holders shouldn’t be filled by locals, they should – but most employers will tell you those young Kiwis are not around to fill these roles or don’t want the work.
Denying many employers casual migrant labour might make a headline and take a few votes off Winston Peters but it’ll be interesting to see what ideas the Labour Party comes up with to reform our welfare entitlements to ensure there are young New Zealanders being ‘encouraged’ to fill these roles. Let’s hope so because there are going to be lots of vacancies. (Labour provided the example of a paediatric oncologist as benefitting from "their" changes – truth be told, anyone with these skills and qualifications would always have qualified for residence: would under National’s upcoming changes and will under Labour’s proposed rules.)
On the plus side, there is no doubt the changes announced by the National Party earlier this year and the announcements by the Opposition today will increase labour market shortages particularly in hospitality and tourism, creating plenty of opportunities for young New Zealanders to find employment in these sectors and in other casual work.
The export education industry will take another hit with these changes. The Government’s (quietly dropped) goal of it becoming a $5 billion a year industry just took another politically inspired hit.
Iain MacLeod, Managing Director, IMMagine Australia & New Zealand Immigration Specialists
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