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Immigration Adviser/Lawyer of the Year Category

We are thrilled to announce that Vandana Rai, Director of Immigration Advisers New Zealand has been selected as one of the finalist in the Immigration Adviser/Lawyer of the Year and Hall of Fame category of awards of NZAMI that are announce once in two years.The significance of the awards that she has been nominated for is as under:

  • Immigration Adviser/Lawyer of the Year Category – This award recognises outstanding professional individuals who are a Licensed Immigration Adviser or Immigration Lawyer who enhance the migration profession, and have contributed to the industry by their notable work in assisting migrants during the last 3 years.
  • Hall of Fame Category – This is a rare acknowledgement of a worthy recipient within the Immigration industry.This award is presented to an individual who has provided continuing service and participation in a field which contributes to New Zealand immigration, made a significant and noteworthy contribution to New Zealand immigration which should be recognised by their peers and the wider community.

Vandana Rai has been part of 2016 Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA) referral group in addition to being one of the Directors on the Board of the New Zealand Association of Migration and Investment (NZAMI) for 2017. She is well known within the industry for her contribution to the well being and support of International students, by way of giving not only a range of immigration advisory services but also pastoral care support. In last 2 years Vandana Rai has lodged more than 1400 visas with an approval rate close to 93%.

She is highly educated, having done Masters in Human Development as well as Masters in Business Administration apart from a PG Diploma in Guidance and Counselling and Graduate Certificate in New Zealand Immigration Advice.

Vandana, in her role as a member of 2016 Referral Group of Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA) championed the cause of making offshore licensing mandatory. Vandana Rai, as a director of NZAMI has also made her contribution concerning the assessment of Partnership-Based Visa applications in the Indian market. She has also done lot of spade work over the past 2 years on the partnership based applications who were character declined due to having received unlicensed Immigration Advice and has got character waiver approved for a number of clients, thereby assisting in their family reunification.

Vandana is humbled by this achievement and says that her strength lies in her team , which works unbelievably hard and is the main reason behind this success.

For the full list and more information about these awards, visit the NZAMI website.

International Students In New Zealand Affected By Bank Changes

As per Education New Zealand ( link provided below) Providers, agents and international students need to be aware that all banks in New Zealand are now required to collect additional information from international students before they can open an account in New Zealand.

As a result of the Global Tax Information Reporting and Anti Money Laundering campaign, all banks in New Zealand, as well as other financial institutions, are required by law to collect additional information from a foreign tax resident before they can open an account in New Zealand. As part of these changes, banks also require a certified copy of (or, in some cases, the original) the student’s passport (bio-page) and proof of current residential address. Those who apply to open a bank account while outside New Zealand will be required to provide proof of their current overseas residential address, and to present themselves at the bank to activate the account when they arrive in New Zealand.

The same changes are being implemented in other countries that are part of this global initiative.

These changes also apply to international students who intend to use INZ’s Funds Transfer Scheme (FTS) to transfer their funds to New Zealand. Note the FTS is only available to international students from certain countries.

FTS information

If applying for an account under the FTS in the near future, ANZ, the New Zealand bank that operates the FTS, may contact the student to complete additional forms to ensure they capture the additional information they require. These forms include questions around the student’s tax information, and the student themselves will need to complete and sign these forms (not their agent).

For FTS accounts only, acceptable proof of residential address includes:

  • utility bill (e.g. landline telephone and power only)
  • rates bill (e.g. property tax document)
  • tax certificate
  • insurance policy document

The document(s) listed above must be less than three months old and must state the student’s name and their residential address. Where the student is living with their parents and the document states their parents’ name(s), a parent whose name appears on the document must provide a letter stating that the student lives with them.

Note: there may be some delays visa application processing while Immigration New Zealand and ANZ work through these changes.

Link – https://enz.govt.nz/news-and-research/ed-news/international-students-affected-by-bank-changes/

Why is Immigration declining almost 50% of WD1: Post Study Work Visa (Employer Assisted) applications at Auckland Central office?

Why are so many Post Study Work Visa (Employer Assisted) applications of International students being declined in Auckland, New Zealand?

Concerns Identified resulting into declined applications

As per the media reports there has been a sudden spike in the number of applications declined, which had been lodged under Post Study Employer Assisted Work Visa category. Going by the feed back and experience the major reason (s) for the declines have been as under:

  • The applicant was unable to satisfy immigration officer that the offer of employment provided practical experience, which was relevant to the qualification.
  • The applicant did not hold an offer of full-time employment relevant to that qualification.
  • The major subject area and level of the applicant’s qualification was not directly applicable to the employment.
  • The qualification was not a key factor in the employer’s decision to employ the applicant in that position.
  • There was no clear link visible between the qualification studied by the applicant and the job description provided.

Way forward and precautions to be taken

The way forward and precautions required to be taken to minimise the risks of getting a negative outcome for such applications lodged could be as under:

  • Ensure that the major subject area and level of qualification is directly applicable to the employment.
  • Ensure that the qualification is a key factor in employer’s decision to employ the applicant in that position.
  • Ensure that there is a clear link existing between the qualification and the job description.
  • Ensure that the tasks being performed in the job are relevant to papers studied as part of the qualification.
  • Ensure that the learning outcomes of the subjects studied are relevant to the day to day work being performed in the job.
  • Job description should mention tasks that are directly applicable to the learning outcome of the qualification.

Should you still get a Potentially Prejudicial Information (PPI) from Immigration case officer, please be rest assured that Immigration is now posturing itself to decline your application, hence give it the attention it deserves and book an appointment by mailing at contact@nzimmigration.info

DO NOT TRY AND ANSWER THE PPI RESPONSE YOURSELF SEEK AN IMMIGRATION ADVISER ASAP

International Education Strategy for New Zealand

Last week the Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith has released the draft New Zealand International Education Strategy for consultation. The final date for the consultations to close is 31 August 2017, and a final strategy is expected to be published later this year. The Government through this consultation process is now hoping to get a series of feedbacks from various stake holders about how the proposed strategy aligns with its priorities.

The draft strategy per se sets out the government’s proposed vision, goals and immediate priorities for international education through to 2025.It also quite clearly endeavours to squarely bring the focus on ensuring that New Zealand continues to genuinely benefit from international education within the regulated boundaries that ensure quality education and student wellbeing.

The main inputs for this draft have been provided by the sector itself, including an online survey and a series of workshops in 2016. The draft strategy sits within the Government’s broader strategic direction for education and the economy and aligns and reflects the Trade Agenda 2030, the Business Growth Agenda, the Tertiary Education Strategy and the New Zealand Curriculum’s focus on international capabilities. An effort has also been made to seek alignment with the other related strategies including the Tourism Strategy and Education System Digital Strategy.

A quick analysis of the draft strategy indicates that the relentless efforts of various associations like NZAMI have ultimately paid off, and the Government has not only recognised the need to clarify the support given by various agencies but also taken steps to ensure that regulatory levers are aligned. However, what remains to be seen is how effective the implementation be in context of the lessons learnt in the last few years around previous such strategies and policies.

It is quite apparent that the immediate priorities, which are laid out in the draft strategy are likely spin offs from what has gone wrong in the last few years, and the fact remains that the recognition of these priorities has been there in the environment for some time now. Therefore, one can only hope that the timing of this strategy is right and the Government will be able to achieve the goal it has set for itself.

New Zealand Immigration Changes

Immigration New Zealand has announced changes that will have significant effect on the labour market contribution of migrants in terms of where they work, which industries they work in, the proportion who work or receive income support, and their earnings and sources of income. These changes will come into effect on 14 August 2017, and these changes will impact some people in low paid employment.

The highlights of changes in policy are as under:

  • More emphasis will be put on characteristics associated with better outcomes.For example jobs that are currently considered skilled renumeration threshold is being set at $48,859.00 a year while jobs that are currently not being considered skilled but are well paid the remuneration threshold is being set at $73,299.00
  • More points will be available for skilled work experience and some recognised post graduate qualifications, and points for age will increase for applicants aged 30-39.
  • Points will no longer be available for qualifications in areas of absolute skills shortage, for employmentwork experience and qualifications in Identified Future Growth Areas and for close family in New Zealand.

ESSSENTIAL SKILLS WORK VISA

In addition to the above New Zealand Government is also consulting on changes to temporary migration settings to manage the number and settlement expectations of new migrants coming to New Zealand on Essential Skills work visas. 

Three years Criteria

Introduction of a maximum duration of three years for lower-skilled Essential Skills visa holders, after which there will be a minimum stand down period before they can apply for another lower-skilled Essential Skills visa.Three years has been proposed as the maximum duration for lower-skilled Essential Skills work visas because maximum duration of three years provides a balance between giving visa holders the opportunity to transition to a more highly-skilled Essential Skills visa or obtain residence, while also ensuring that migrants with no pathway to residence do not become well-settled in New Zealand. It also provides employers with sufficient time to recruit new staff or up skill existing staff to fill the role.

Restricting Partners and Children 

New Zealand Government is restricting the ability of partners and children of lower-skilled migrant workers to come to New Zealand in order to reinforce the temporary nature of the visa and reduce expectations of settlement from temporary migrants with no pathway to residence. Lower skilled Essential Skills workers would take up employment in New Zealand with a full understanding that they would not be able to bring their family. Partners and children would still be able to come to New Zealand as a visitor and will only gain a work or student visa if they meet visa requirements in their own right.

Advisory for Student’s Partners & Agents to get a Positive Outcome from INZ

There has been a flood of character concerns that have been raised by Immigration New Zealand (INZ), Delhi Branch, in context of partners of First Time Student Visa (FSV) holders from India,who have displayed remarkable gullibility and naivety in lodgement of their visitor/work visa applications.

Both these words suggest that these applicants have been victimised,however while a naive person may not have realised the danger,a gullible person should have known better.

Please be advised that the use of these words, which has somehow surfaced as an excuse for making a false and misleading statement while filling up his INZ 1198 (Partnership Based Temporary Visa Application Form) and INZ 1146 (Form for Partner’s Supporting Partnership Based Temporary Visa Application),is in itself evasive in nature, and may not be bought by INZ.

Hence, it would be advisable for all Partnership Based Temporary Visa Applicants to seriously consider the long-term damage they may incur, on their chances to get united with their partners, before allowing themselves to be misrepresented and then resorting to gullibility and naivety as an excuse, which will always be open to questions by INZ.

Even the student recruitment agents who are misrepresenting these applicants are making a huge error of judgment, because not only are they loosing their remunerations but also killing their chosen profession in the long run.

The following relevant links will assist the partnership based applicants and their agents in making their choices:

INZ Link: http://www.immigration.govt.nz/migrant/stream/advice/

IAA Link: http://www.iaa.govt.nz/migrant/options/index.asp

INZ Link to character requirements:  http://dol.govt.nz/immigration/knowledgebase/item/1183  

Advisory for Student Visa Holders in New Zealand

Please be advised that most students who had come to New Zealand on Two Year Diploma, and are filing ONSHORE second year student visa,  are being questioned by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) on the evidence of funds,which they are providing in context of the commitment that they had earlier given with their OFFSHORE student visa applications.

It is for your information that based on the information submitted by the student applicant in his offshore student visa application,INZ  now needs to be satisfied that the applicant holds/has  held satisfactory funds for maintenance and outward travel at all times during the currency of his current visa, and has not breached the conditions of his current visa.

INZ is concerned that the student visa holder who was granted his student visa for New Zealand under Funds Transfer Scheme (FTS), no more has these  funds available to him,wherein they still should be available to him in the proportion that they should be , as at that time they were considered satisfactory for a study of two years.

INZ therefore needs to be given evidence  for onshore applications also, that these funds, which were previously shown were genuinely available to the applicant during his period of study in New Zealand and/or used for the purpose of the applicant’s maintenance while he was residing in New Zealand.

INZ also needs to be explained that why after one year of study, the applicant is now evidencing his/her funds by way of sponsorship from ABCD.

Additional Documents That May Be Asked For by INZ

  • Bank statements showing transactions for all of the applicants New Zealand accounts from his first arrival in New Zealand until today.
  • Evidence of any international transfers that may have been made.
  • If the applicant is employed in New Zealand, information about his employment, including salary or hourly rate.
  • An IRD certificate of earnings for the period from beginning work in New
  • Zealand until today.
  • Evidence of the relationship between the applicant  and his sponsor ABCD.

Implications of Not Providing the Above 

INZ may DECLINE to grant you a visa or you may become liable for DEPORTATION.

Recommendation

  • Always use the funds that you had shown with your first year student visa file when it was lodged offshore, for the purpose they were meant for.
  • Do not breach your visa conditions at any point in time.
  • Take immigration advice from a person who is either authorized or exempt.
  • Make sure you are always aware of the documents,which were submitted with your file at the time of lodgment, whether it is offshore or in New Zealand.

Need to Align ENZ and INZ Policies

While going through an Immigration New Zealand (INZ) update that was presented by Celia Coombes, Sector Relationship Manager (Education) during ITENZ Conference 2015,I came to know about the rebalance strategy that was underway in the international student markets of China, India, Chile, Malaysia, Germany and South Korea. One could not help but marvel at hard work put in and the noble intentions displayed by all involved.

As I watched the strategy take shape by way of the excellent ground level initiatives launched by INZ and Education New Zealand (ENZ) that were targeted to woo students of some of the South Asian countries into New Zealand, I also came across another bit of data related to INZ Student Visa Approval rate of 2015,which set me thinking.

The data which has been released by INZ gives out the student visa approval rate between January 2015 and December 2015.The Global figures of 42,514 approvals against only 18,103 declines are really impressive. However when I dwelled deeper I was aghast to find that of the 18,103 declines, 13,224 belonged to India alone, which was a staggering 73% of the total visas declined. I then decided to analyse the figures at hand a little bit more and totaled the visa declines of countries that were routing their applications through INZ, Mumbai Branch in addition to India i.e. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan. My surprise knew no bounds when I saw that the figure of 13,224 jumped to 15,449, which came to a mind numbing 85%. Armed with this data and my psychological background I sat down to think and analyse as to what effect must these student visa declines be having among the student market of these five countries that also are each other neighbours, shouldn’t ENZ be alarmed about the bad publicity it is causing and the years of hard work and money ENZ has put in to bring up New Zealand as a viable study abroad destination going waste.

My analysis of the situation gave rise to more uncomfortable questions, which prompted me to write down these few lines for an open brainstorming session.

More in another session….

Immigration New Zealand Takes Action On Students Breaching Visa Conditions

Several news report items as well as a communique of Independent Tertiary Education New Zealand (ITENZ) conveys that INZ has prioritised for deportation Indian nationals that are:

  • Unlawfully in New Zealand or
  • In breach of their visa conditions and
  • Outside of the appeal period to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal.

Due to the investigative work undertaken by its Risk Management Team, INZ has become increasingly aware of issues in the India market and is working with its partner agencies to tackle the problem.

INZ has already uncovered fraudulent behaviour involving the submission of forged or altered education loan documentation with student visa applications from India. It has identified approximately 160 approved student visas, of which 17 were cancelled before they entered New Zealand. The remaining students are in New Zealand and compliance action is being taken against those individuals.

We at Immigration Advisers New Zealand Ltd (IANZ) recognise that international students are vulnerable to exploitation and are focused on ensuring that students do not put themselves in a vulnerable situation.

A significant amount of enforcement activity is now underway in New Zealand involving Indian nationals. There are a number of ongoing investigations being carried out dealing with allegations of exploitation, provision of false information, aiding and abetting of unlawful work/overstaying and allegations of relationship fraud concerning Indian nationals and some education providers.

Please be advised that subject to any special direction to the contrary, every student visa, limited visa and interim visa granted for the purpose of study is subject to the following conditions:

  • The holder must attend the programme of study at all times as required, at the place of study endorsed on the visa, unless there are genuine reasons for absences; and
  • The holder must make satisfactory progress in the programme of study, which is primarily determined by the education provider offering the programme of study, and assessed against its academic progress policies; and
  • The holder must pay all or any fees that may be fixed from time to time and that are payable by the holder in respect of the programme of study undertaken or to be undertaken.
  • At all times during the currency of the visa to be in New Zealand, the holder must have the means to maintain himself or herself in New Zealand.
  • At all times during the currency of the visa to be in New Zealand, the holder must have the means to travel to a country to which the holder has a right of entry.

Advisory For Offshore Education Agents,New Zealand Education Providers, Employers, Recruiters and Travel Agents

Internal Administration Circulars (IAC) of Immigration New Zealand (INZ) provide information for immigration staff on procedural and process issues.They generally provide clarity of the instructions contained within the INZ Operational Manual.

Few of the important points of INZ Internal Administration Circular No 16/02 regarding Immigration Advice are reproduced here for your easy comprehension.

When can a person who is not licensed or exempt is deemed to have given immigration advice?

  • A person is providing immigration advice if:
    • The person is using or purporting to use knowledge of, or experience in, immigration; and
    • The knowledge or experience is used to advise, direct, assist or represent another person (whether or not for gain or reward); and
    • The advice, direction, assistance or representation (whether directly, or indirectly) is provided in regard to an immigration matter relating to New Zealand.

Who cannot give immigration advice?

Employers, recruiters, education providers and travel agents/sellers are not permitted to provide immigration advice, unless licensed or exempt.

They may complete an applicant’s form under the applicant’s direction, but cannot use their knowledge or experience to give the applicant advice about any immigration matter, such as:

  • What supporting documents they might need.
  • How they should answer a question in the form.
  • How they should answer any follow-up questions from INZ.
  • What type of visa they may be eligible for at a later date.

When does INZ have reasonable grounds to believe that someone other than the applicant or a licensed or exempt immigration adviser has given immigration advise?

If someone other than the applicant or a licensed or exempt immigration adviser is listed as the contact for communication, that person must not provide immigration advice.

Immigration New Zealand may have reasonable grounds to believe that a contact for communication who is neither licensed nor exempt is providing immigration advice if:

  • The contact for communication makes a substantial request or submission on behalf of a client, such as requesting an extension to a deadline or responding to concerns around Potentially Prejudicial Information (PPI).
  • The contact for communication has previously provided immigration advice.
  • The contact for communication’s website/advertising contains immigration advice, or claims that the contact for communication is an immigration adviser.
  • The client or a third party informs INZ that the contact for communication has provided immigration advice.
  • Media reports, websites or other sources claim the contact for communication is an immigration adviser.
  • A travel agent is unable to produce evidence of having arranged flights and/or accommodation.
  • An unlicensed offshore student visa immigration adviser submits an application for a visa other than a student visa.

Ref :Policy and Law – www.immigration.govt.nz