The process for attaining working visas in New Zealand has undergone significant change in recent months, with the Government announcing a number of alterations that will affect thousands of visa holders across the country. Candidates often approach us regarding visa restrictions; however, with recent events in mind, you should understand the changes and how they might affect you. If you’re working on a temporary visa, or have employees working for you that fall into this category, here’s what you should be aware of, and why it shouldn’t be ignored.
What has changed
The long-term skill shortage list is a document that outlines the occupations that are needed the most in New Zealand, making it easier for people to stay in the country via a work or residence visa. However, with changing thresholds and certain skills being removed, combined with a more complex documentation process, it’s important to know where you stand before going down this route.
We also work alongside many international students looking to settle in New Zealand, who come to us on the Post Study Work Visa. Previously, moving on to longer-term work visas was a much simpler process. Now, with more documentation needed, we’re finding that many candidates are unaware of the process they need to undertake, along with employers not knowing the support they need to provide. While we can’t provide immigration advice, we can steer you in the right direction to get your questions answered.
The risk of ignoring changes to working visas
Whether it’s employers putting their projects at risk, or visa holders risking their immigration status, New Zealand Immigration’s more stringent processes should not be ignored. With the potential for visa situations to change over time, it’s important that you have the right facts to make an informed decision, whether you’re an employer or an applicant. Unfortunately, a recent candidate, who was contracting with us on a partnership visa, found this out the hard way. Due to changes in his partner’s visa requirements, he was notified by New Zealand Immigration that his case was being revisited. The end result saw his contract cancelled – an avoidable situation that highlights the importance of understanding the “terms and conditions” of work entitlement, as well as where you can go for expert advice. Although we keep up to date with developments within this space (as you’d expect), only licensed immigration advisors are legally entitled to advise on immigration matters.
Without clarity on the visa situations of candidates, it becomes difficult for us – as recruiters – to begin the recruitment process. If you’re unsure if the changes affect you, or how you can support employees in their attempts to move onto permanent visas, there are immigration professionals that can help you to understand any potential steps that need to be taken. To find out how the latest changes to working visas might affect you, or to seek expert advice, get in touch with a licensed immigration advisor.