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Immigration Blog


Posts in category: Communication

Immigration Blog

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The Times They are a Changing

Posted by Myer on Sept. 10, 2021, 3:59 p.m. in Communication

Social and economic commentators are fond of telling us that Covid has been a game changer in how we interact socially, transact economically and work. It has certainly proven to be true of our business and the recent success that a couple of our clients have achieved in securing offers of employment whilst overseas has prompted me to consider whether employers (and recruiters) are in the process of changing their recruitment practices to give a greater consideration to applicants based overseas.

Our business was predicated on a business model implemented in the early 1990s based upon presenting seminars in countries overseas and conducting face-to-face consultations with prospective clients. We did this because we always felt that people wanted a more personal interaction and a personal interaction was likely to engender more trust than electronic communication.

It’s a business model that we perpetuated because it worked. There was no need to change to an online offering, however because of travel restrictions as a result of Covid, we changed the business model to a purely online service where we present online seminars with follow-up private Zoom/Teams consultations.

It was gratifying to see how well people have responded to the change and our online seminars are as popular as the face-to-face seminars we used to present. We have also been able to reach a much wider audience with online seminars.

I don’t know whether people have become more receptive to the virtual format because of health concerns about attending public seminars or with so much digital content available these days, why not obtain your immigration advice in a ‘virtual’ format? You can still see and talk to the person in whose hands your and your childrens’ future is being placed. Only now they aren’t looking tired and jetlagged.

Recruiters (and employers) have always preferred to employ Australian and New Zealand citizens for positions because of the easy cultural fit and familiarity with local workplace processes.

The first “cab off the rank” has been those with work rights living in Australia and New Zealand and then those physically present without work rights and lastly those applicants based overseas.

It’s been a constant source of frustration for us and our clients overseas and whilst it is possible for skilled migrants intending to immigrate to Australia to be able to do so without an offer of skilled employment, almost all of those intending to immigrate to New Zealand have needed an offer of skilled employment in recent years to score sufficient points.

Migrants intending to immigrate to New Zealand have usually had to quit their jobs to be able to spend sufficient time looking for employment at a considerable cost, both financially and emotionally.

There are a number of reasons why those living overseas haven’t been given their due consideration but it primarily involves factors relating to getting to know the personality of the applicant, the cultural fit, gauging the sincerity of the applicant in choosing that position of employment and the migration decision itself as well as a feel for the applicant’s English-language ability.

Employers are also concerned about:

-          How long will it take to get the work rights?

-          How much will it cost them?

-          How much admin will they need to do?

With the first question being the most important, although in saying this I don’t ever recall a client losing a job offer because it took too long to get a Work Visa – employers seem to always wait even when very impatient (presumably because the money and time cost of them having to re-hire is worse than just waiting a bit longer).

So I think the biggest advantage work rights holders have over others is simply that they can start work as soon as possible, especially in the case of NZ where most employers seem frantic to get the person started, they are often desperate because they have work that needs to be done but not enough skilled manpower. Unfortuntely New Zealand immigration rules make this impossible

I’ve recently noticed a couple of our clients based overseas have received offers of employment and more people that I consult with are advising me of potential offers of employment which has prompted me to wonder whether Covid has changed the employment process just as it’s changed our business.

There could be a number of reasons for this namely:

1.      The severe skill shortages in both Australia and New Zealand are forcing recruiters and employers to cast their net wider. Unemployment in New Zealand is 4% and in Australia 4.7% although if you take into account those that want to work but don’t get Centrelink (unemployment benefit) or who want but cannot get more hours is actually as much higher. They don’t have the option of ignoring applicants overseas. Necessity has forced them to look abroad.

2.       “Out of sight out of mind” is a philosophy that doesn’t necessarily ensure the best applicant is employed and just as we obtain our entertainment and information online so to should we interview our prospective employees online. As a company we can get overseas candidates into their jobs with work rights within a few weeks.

3.      There is a greater willingness on the part of employers to allow applicants to work for them remotely even if they are going to be physically located overseas until such time as borders open in Australia and New Zealand.

4.      Both Australia and New Zealand have indicated that travel restrictions will ease once 70/80% of the population is vaccinated and employers are recruiting applicants overseas (because of severe skills shortages) to take advantage of increased travel flows which may occur early in the New Year.

If recruiters and employers are prepared to give greater consideration to applicants overseas it would prove to be a game changer as far as migration is concerned and it would be a win as far as employers are concerned because the best applicant would receive the offer of employment, not necessarily the easiest placement. This would result in a better outcome for both the employer and Australia/New Zealand.

Some recruiters have been guilty of putting candidates forward in the past that would result in the quickest and easiest commission, not necessarily the best candidate who may often be physically located overseas and require visas to commence employment.

Those applicants based overseas without work rights have often been placed in the “too hard basket” but with changing social and labour market attitudes post Covid, I don’t think that employers and recruiters can afford to ignore applicants based overseas and if they want to adopt algorithms on recruitment related websites to initially screen applicants, I would suggest that physical presence and work rights should receive a relatively low rating if any at all.

To paraphrase Bob Dylan’s lyrics perhaps recruiters need to “admit that the waters around you have grown” (with more candidates) and give a greater consideration to those overseas.

Communication in Our Time

Posted by Myer on Aug. 27, 2021, 2:09 p.m. in Communication

This week’s blog isn’t about immigration and it’s not about Covid. Whilst I’m never tired of immigration related news pertaining to Australia and New Zealand I am sick and tired of writing and reading about Covid, lockdowns, vaccination rates et cetera which seems to dominate the news in Australia.

As far as immigration related news is concerned, we are also in a bit of a hiatus, waiting on details relating to the New Zealand Skilled Migrant Category (expected shortly) and the State Governments in Australia to commence sponsoring applicants based overseas (expected when Australia opens its borders when we reach 70/80% vaccination rate). But I digress, this blog is not about Covid nor immigration.

Please indulge me, it’s rather a whimsical take on how changes in forms (or the medium) of communication have shaped behavioural conventions of society.

I spend a considerable amount of my day preparing free preliminary assessment reports to people who complete our questionnaire on our website

The report essentially summarises your options pertaining to obtaining residence in both Australia and New Zealand and advises you whether it is worth your while spending AU$350 in having a detailed 90 minute Zoom/Teams consultation with me or one of our registered/licensed migration agents. I not only consider the information in the completed questionnaire but CVs as well and prepare a preliminary report which essentially provides my conclusions.

The benefit of the report is that you have a considered opinion by someone with more than 30 years of experience in the industry and can proceed to pay AU$350 in the certainty that the consultation will be of benefit to you.

There is a benefit from our perspective in that we get to screen those people who want to have consultations with us as the AU$350 doesn’t fully compensate us from a financial return on the time we spend in a consultation and the subsequent email correspondence we exchange with those people who have consultations with us.

We receive anything from 20 to 60 questionnaires on any given day (depending on what crisis is unfolding on the world stage).

Of those preliminary reports I don’t think that I receive an acknowledgement from even 8%. There is no obligation to proceed with having a consultation but I was surprised at the relatively low response rate to something that is obviously important to people otherwise they wouldn’t spend up to 20 minutes completing a questionnaire. I understand that people may not want to proceed in having a consultation but I don’t understand the lack of response.

When I mentioned this to my business partner he told me that I needed a holiday :-) and that is true. It’s been a long year with a lot of it spent in lockdown in Melbourne but upon reflection it could be a number of reasons for this which could be an interesting social commentary.

I’m not about to bemoan the fact that the youth have no manners :-), that would make me sound like a crotchety old man and even though respected figures such as Socrates came to this conclusion I am far too hip and cool to do that. The fact that I have used the term “hip” probably negates this defence but there are as many middle aged people that complete the questionnaire as there are youngsters so the lack of response cannot be attributed to a generational perspective.

I understand that sometimes English isn’t first language of those people completing the questionnaire however most visa categories for Australia would require applicants to have a certain level of English-language ability and my report is written at a commensurate level.

The report is approximately 700 words and I wouldn’t have thought that this is beyond the average attention span although I do acknowledge that reality TV has made vegetables of many of us. I would hate to have to convey my assessment report through emoticons.

I was introduced to the writing of the Canadian communication theorist, Marshall McLuhan by a friend of mine who is a psychologist who writes on the fact that the medium of the message that shaped and controlled “the scale and form of human association and action”. In other words people behave in different ways depending upon the medium of communication. Some styles of communication have become acceptable in certain forms of interaction that wouldn’t be acceptable in others.

The style of communication would be different for people communicating face-to-face or through the phone or whilst driving cars or “shock jocks” communicating with listeners on radio and perhaps I need to accept the anonymity of the Internet and electronic forms of communication.

Perhaps in order to facilitate communication my preliminary report should contain a drop-down menu with the following choices:

1. Thank you for the report and the time you have obviously spent drafting it, I would like to go ahead with a consultation.

2. Thank you for the report and the time you’ve obviously spent drafting it, I don’t want to go ahead with the consultation but will retain your contact details for another time.

3. Thank you for the report and the time you’ve obviously spent drafting it, I don’t want to go ahead with the consultation.

4. Thank you for the report and the time you’ve obviously spent drafting it, but I am suspicious of committing to make payments on the Internet.

5. Que?

I would personally find that a sad commentary if people can only communicate through predetermined set messages because that implies that the audience isn’t capable of formulating their own cognitive thoughts but I do realise that attention economics is at play because we live in a society where there is an abundance of content and it is human attention that is the scarce commodity.

So if anyone requests an assessment report by completing a questionnaire on the following link of our website and the response you receive is a thumbs up emoticon, smiley face, tragic face or a “wishy washy” hand gesture please don’t think that I have taken acid, it’s just that I am adapting my style of communication to the time.

This blog has been typed by the writer with a large Smiley face.

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