Category Archives: Blog

Essential Skills Work Visa – Importance of Advertising

Importance of advertising as part of labour market check?

Most work visa applications in New Zealand are essential skills work visa applications.When assessing an application Immigration New Zealand (INZ) must be satisfied that there are no suitably qualified New Zealand citizens (or residence class visa holders) available to do the work through a Labour Market Check, of which advertising is an important criteria, if the job vacancy is not for ANZSCO Skill Level 4 or 5.

Hence, it is critically important for the employer to give evidence of his efforts by advertising to recruit any suitable New Zealanders for that job, and then explain why New Zealand applicants or residents were not suitable or readily trainable.

Labour Market Check – How to advertise & assess the candidates

How to advertise?

Advertising is the most effective way to show that genuine attempts have been made to recruit a New Zealander by any employer.There are some guidelines for advertising below:

  • Type of advertisements – large websites like Seek, Trademe etc. are acceptable for all occupations, so they must be made use of.
  • Duration of advertisement– for ANZSCO skill level 1 – 3 roles, an advertisement for at least 2 – 3 weeks must be run.
  • Validity of advertisement– evidence of advertising can be used to support a work visa application, and is valid for up to three months from when the advertisement was first posted.Good news is that the same evidence can be used to support more than one visa application for the same position within that three month period.
  • Content of advertisement– the advertisement must accurately describe the job and skills required for the role, and the advertisement must align with the job description.

How to assess the candidates?

All of the candidates who apply for the job must be considered, including any referred by Work and Income.It’s important to remember the that suitable candidates are those who have the skills and ability to take up the job and/or can be trained. So,if one of the New Zealand candidates is suitable, he or she should have been offered the job. If no New Zealanders are suitable, the job could then be offered to a non-New Zealand worker, however submission of the following supporting documentary evidence with the Essential Skills Work Visa application must always be considered:

  • Copies of advertisements published in newspapers, magazines, employer’s website and recruitment sites
  • Receipts for paid advertising
  • Written confirmation from recruitment agencies (if used)
  • The duration of advertising campaigns and when/where it ran along with dates and frequency
  • Dossier of the applications received and the interviews conducted (i.e. How many New Zealanders and Non-New Zealanders applied?)
  • Catalogue of full details of the outcome of recruitment efforts, which must include the number of applicants, shortlisting outcome, and details of why any New Zealand applicants were unsuitable, or unable to be trained (i.e. What required skills, qualifications or experience did they lack?), a link should me made to skills, qualifications, experience or attributes included in the job advertisement or description)
  • Efforts that have been made to train New Zealanders to do the work, including details of the outcome, along with the details of any future plans for training and up skilling New Zealanders to do the work
  • Any industry statistics on the numbers of vacancies in the market or any other industry based evidence

Role of Immigration Advisers

A common reason for Essential Skills Work Visa applications being declined is that the employer has failed to follow proper procedure while doing the Labour Market Check or has not specified the position correctly in the job advertisement.

Many employers are resistant to employing migrants because of this requirement, because it involves time and expense.

A License Immigration Adviser can help overcome this obstacle by helping the employer by drafting the advertisement and preparing the Immigration New Zealand form. The recruitment/advertising on employer’s behalf can also be handled by Immigration Adviser at appropriate places/mediums/platforms, and with the relevant agencies.

Caution

The Job advertisement and offer can not discourage New Zealand workers from applying.Immigration will not approve an Essential Skills Work Visa application application if the job advertisement discourages New Zealand citizens or residence class visa holders, from applying.

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

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

Is Education New Zealand Brand Under Threat?

Introduction

New Zealand is a trade dependent economy, and international education sector is a significant contributor that helps Government of New Zealand earn its way in the world. As given out in the Education New Zealand (ENZ) statement of intent, which was published in 2012, the Government had given the New Zealand international education industry a set of challenging “export” targets that were to be met in next 13 years. The targets included doubling the value of international education industry to $5 billion, part of which was to increase revenues from the export of education services to $500 million a year from $109 million in 2010/11.

It goes to the credit of ENZ marketing strategists that these targets were met in just 5 years instead of 13 years. However, the exponential and rapid growth has not been without experiences, many of which need to be documented under the heading ‘lessons learnt and corrective measures undertaken’.

The most significant and evident lesson learnt is related to the constantly changing dynamics of various players involved such as education providers, education agents, immigration advisers, international students and the knowledge of how and why international students decide on New Zealand as their study destination.

Know the Players Involved

In order to correctly appreciate the players involved in this game an overview of each of their skills is necessary, and is as mentioned below:

  • Education Provider: These constitute private training establishments (PTE’s) and institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs), which deliver a variety of educational options under New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA). Education providers focus on their ability to offer education to the required quality standards while NZQA’s focus is on ensuring that the New Zealand qualifications are increasingly valued as credible and robust.
  • Education Agent: An individual, company or organization in the business of recruiting international students. The agent/agency derives income from the educational provider with which it works, contingent upon the referral of applicants. The relationship between the agent/agency and education provider is typically governed by a contract, or written agreement.
  • Education Counsellor:  An education counsellor helps prospective international student to find the correct course and education provider for achieving the desired educational success . These counsellors must be aware of New Zealand education system and how it is governed and administered by different agencies and providers at different levels.
  • Career Counsellor: A career counsellor helps prospective international student to effectively connect education and training with employment opportunities so that they make informed choices about their future employment and career progression .
  • Immigration Adviser: An immigration adviser is licensed to provide immigration advice, which relates to a prospective international student’s particular circumstances in connection with an immigration matter. They use their knowledge of or personal experience in immigration matters to advise, assist, direct or represent the students in their visa application.

New Zealand Experience

In the statement of intent document of ENZ, it is a well-highlighted fact that New Zealand education experience needs to be a positive one, if the New Zealand education brand is to grow in value, and its reputation is to be maintained and enhanced.

Hence, in order to ensure that the international students get the desired New Zealand experience it becomes incumbent on the players involved to ensure that the process of marketing it involves a pragmatic expectation mapping with the international students.This expectation mapping must cover the various aspects involved with respect to roles and responsibilities of the above mentioned game players.

Having said that, it also is true that it has always been and will remain a challenge to successfully manage each of these facets of international education as they tend to overlap with each other due to their ambiguous nature of qualifications, skills, services and interests.

The more we learn to manage them effectively, the better we get at giving the desired New Zealand experience to the international students and in turn increasing the profile of New Zealand’s education system in its priority markets. Therefore, evolving a collaborative model which focuses on matching the expectations of international students with their experience, while they are in New Zealand is the need of the hour.

Concerns Surrounding Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity and Conflict of Interest

The various concerns that have the potential to cause mismatch between international student’s expectations and experience are many, but the most significant among them is the role conflict, role ambiguity and conflict of interest surrounding the game players such as education providers, education agents , education counsellors , career counsellors and immigration advisers .

There is no doubt that there are many dimensions, which are surrounding the concerns and influencing the consequences, but the most noticeable among them is the huge pay out involved in the form of commission to education agents by the education providers, which has the potential to cause ethical conflicts among the players involved.

The Way Forward

An analysis of the situation at hand legislates that the lessons are learnt and corrective actions undertaken in order to ensure that brand New Zealand continues to shine and New Zealand gets popularised as a viable destination for quality international students. The game players involved need to take more responsibilities and ensure that the international students expectations are met and they get the New Zealand experience the way they had perceived it , when they were offshore.

Regards,

Himanshu Rai (LIA 201501323)