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Seven Invaluable Tips – Student Visa Interview

Question by Visa Officer

Why have you chosen your course, and how is it related to your qualification / work experience that you already have ?

Tip 1 – Why is the visa officer asking this question?

Before you proceed to answer this critical question, you will do well to appreciate that the visa officer is asking this question to understand how much planning went into, or how much thought and effort you have put into your course selection. Hence, make sure that your answer is structured to mitigate this concern of the visa officer.

Tip 2 – There is no right or wrong answer

Please note that there is no right or wrong answer to this question. You should use this opportunity to showcase your research about the selected course based on the skills you have learned and the knowledge you have gained while studying for your previous qualifications and gaining your work experience.

The most important thing is to remember that you will need to connect your previous qualifications/work experience to the course that you have chosen to study in New Zealand.

Tip 3 – Best way to prepare your answer

Write down the list of skills and experiences you gained through the process of getting your degree, and the internships that you have done. If you are struggling with that, think of all the assignments and project works you did in school—what skillsets did you acquire while working on those assignments and projects? How many of those skillsets relate to the course that you are going to do in New Zealand? Then, focus on those skills when answering this question in an interview.

Tip 4 – How to relate a seemingly non-related course

Even if your degree and work experience is not directly related to the job, you can probably find some connections between the two. Let us suppose you have an engineering degree, have worked as a management professional in a small to medium enterprise (SME). Still, you have selected a course in Supply Chain Management to study in New Zealand.

You might emphasize how, as a management professional with an engineering background while working in the SME, which dealt with supply chain management, made you realize the importance of studying this course.

Make a mention of how you realized that your existing skills are inadequate to effectively manage individual functions within this organization while integrating activities into key supply chain processes. Cover the aspect of how doing this course will give you the skillset to make the company that you will work for more efficient, competitive, and responsive to customer’s needs. Mention how important it is to take raw goods and turn them into products that reach customers. Explain how, via this course, you will learn to create a smooth supply chain and handle the entire distribution process, from the factory production line to the customer, based on the modules, subjects, and topics that you will study.

So, If your field of study does not necessarily relate to the course that you have selected, focus on how what you realized/learned prompted your course selection.

Gaining an education is invaluable, so if you answer carefully, you will be able to convince the visa officer that your selected course will help you fulfill the future career path that you are now choosing for yourself.

Tip 5 – do not be superficial in your answers.

If you have selected a course related to e.g., supply chain management, then research and find out what goes into meeting customer needs throughout production, distribution, and the delivery of products. Try an understand the design and operation of international supply chains, transportation, and logistics networks, get an idea of how partnerships are built, and between whom.

Become familiar with the computer simulation programs, which are used to coordinate the flow of materials along a supply chain, and forecast customer demand to ensure that products arrive in time.

Learn what type of career opportunities are available after doing this course, at what level, and which are the companies that offer them ( both in New Zealand and Globally).

Tip 6 – Be honest and sincere

While you should do your best to relate your field of study and work experience to the course that you have selected to study, it is also essential to be honest, as an interviewer can easily spot if you are insincere.

The visa officer will be curious to see how effectively you have planned for your future, so honestly research your options, and note the factors that influenced your decision. If you did advanced research and planning by going on various websites, and recorded salary and development opportunities, this will provide a solid foundation for your answer.

Here is your chance to highlight your strengths, and to demonstrate how your chosen field of study will prepare you for your future.

Tip 7 – Relate your course choice to post study opportunities available as publicised on government websites

In New Zealand the government of websites such as:

which cover the details of such opportunities, make sure that you have been on these websites and studies the information on relevant pages. You can also go on some of the popular job websites such as www.careers.govt.nz to research about the career prospects available in New Zealand after you complete your studies.

Conclusion

Focus on these seven tips, and you will easily be able to answer the – Why have you chosen your course, and how is it related to your previous qualification/work experience? Visa officer interview question.

If your field of study does not necessarily relate to the course that you have selected, focus on how what you learned can transfer or apply to the chosen path. An education is invaluable, so if you answer carefully, you will be able to convince the interviewer that your degree will help you fulfil the career path that you are now choosing for yourself.

Please do not forget to mail on contact@nzimmigration.info to get more such tips.

What it means to have your occupation on the Shortage Lists in New Zealand

What is Essential Skills Demand List (ESID), and what it means to have your occupation on the Shortage Lists in New Zealand?

As per the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) website, New Zealand competes internationally for skilled workers. Workers with skills on the Essential Skills Demand List (ESID) usually find it easier to apply for temporary work and some resident visas.

Skill shortages happen when employers find it hard to get staff with the right skills for the job. Hence knowing which jobs are in skill shortage can help you choose the best job option or decide what subjects to study.

The ESID lists include the:

  • Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL), also referred to as Area of absolute skill shortage
  • Regional Skill Shortage List (RSSL), which has replaced the Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL), and the
  • Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List (CISSL), which has replaced the Canterbury Skill Shortage List (CSSL).

If an occupation is on a skill shortage list, the options which are available for employers and prospective migrants include:

  • Skilled Migrant Category – under which migrants can apply for residence in New Zealand. It is a points system based on factors such as age, work experience, your qualifications, and an offer of skilled employment. You must also be aged 55 or under, and meet English language, health, and character requirements. Migrants applying for residence under this Category may gain bonus points towards their application if they have an offer of employment or work experience in an area of absolute skill shortage identified on the LTSSL.
  • Essential Skills Work Visa – this requires an employer to demonstrate that they have tried to recruit New Zealanders for the position and been unsuccessful. However, if an occupation is on a shortage list, the employer need not provide evidence of their attempts to recruit a New Zealand citizen or resident. This category of visa lets you come to New Zealand to work for up to five years. It can also lead to permanent residence in some circumstances. You can apply for it if you have been offered a job which you are qualified to do, and which you have experience in.
  • Essential Skills – Approval in Principle – where a number of migrants are being sought. An AIP under the Essential Skills Work Visa category allows a New Zealand employer to recruit overseas workers to work in New Zealand temporarily. Upon securing AIP status, an employer will be able to assist an overseas migrant with obtaining an Essential Skills work visa that is compliant with the conditions for which the employer’s AIP is granted for. The main benefit of AIP is that employees of employers who have AIP status is assessed to have satisfied the labour market test.
  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa – facilitating recruitment of skilled workers from overseas where the salary is at least NZ$55,000 per annum. This visa is for people who are looking for a pathway to live in New Zealand and who have a skill that’s needed by a New Zealand accredited employer. If an accredited employer offers you full-time work, you’ll be able to get a visa to work here. If you continue to work for that employer for two years, you’ll be able to apply to live in New Zealand permanently.
  • Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List (CISSL): Employers recruiting migrant workers to positions on the list will no longer need to show they have advertised the role locally in order for a work visa to be issued if the duties of the job substantially match the INZ description of the role, applicant has the qualifications and/or experience as stated on the list for that occupation, and job is located in the region specified on the list.

Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) reviews the ESID lists every six months to ensure they meet the changing needs of the labour market and to preserve employment opportunities for New Zealanders. It has been reviewed recently and the changes have already come into effect.

The latest outcomes of the LTSSL review are to:

  • Add Aged Care Registered Nurse.
  • Amend the listing ‘Construction Project Manager Roading and Infrastructure’ by extending the listing to include ‘Construction Project Manager’.
  • Decline submissions to add Carpenter to the LTSSL, however, it remains on the CISSL.

The outcomes of the Immediate Skill Shortage List (now the RSSL) review is to:

  • Add Early Childhood Teacher (all regions), Primary School Teacher (all regions) and Secondary School Teacher (all regions).
  • Remove Construction Project Manager Roading and Infrastructure as this is now listed on the LTSSL.
  • Decline submissions to add Café/Restaurant Manager, Fitter (General), Wood Machinist.
  • Decline submissions to amend Quantity Surveyor.

The outcomes of the CISSL review are to:

  • Add Building Associate.
  • Amend Plumber (General) to extend the listing to all regions.
  • Remove Stonemason for the Canterbury region – it will remain for Auckland and Northland.

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….