April Newsletter

In this edition:

Immigration Minister References Changes to Employer Accreditation and Labour Market Testing

As discussed in our article last month, the approach taken by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) on toughening up on employer accreditation renewals now seems to be underpinned by proposed policy changes in this area.

The Immigration Minister in a recent presentation to the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce advised that that some immigration policies, specifically in relation to employer accreditation and labour market testing are currently under review.  In particular, consultation documents are likely to be released soon highlighting (we anticipate) INZ’s focus to tighten the employer accreditation policy.

We are currently seeing issues with employer accreditation with resistance from INZ where employers are attempting to hire employees outside the occupations they had communicated that they intended to employ in their most recent accreditation application.  It appears that INZ is applying policy to try and achieve an outcome where less skilled roles are not acceptable.  For example, we have seen significant push back from INZ for those occupations at ANZSCO skill level 4 and 5.  This is despite the aim of the accreditation policy which is to allow accredited employers to supplement their workforce in their core area of business activity, which is irrespective of ANZSCO skill level.  So, it is worth being aware that if you have a lower skilled occupation and wish to have a visa granted under the accredited employer scheme, it is likely these applications will attract more opposition from INZ in the future.

We do not fully understand yet why INZ is taking this approach.  However, the recent presentation by the Minister has highlighted two key clues.  Firstly, the existence of consultation documents suggests that there will be changes to the employer accreditation scheme, and they may well be in line with the manner that INZ have been trying to apply the existing policy recently.

Second, the Minister emphasised that they are currently looking at changes to the policies governing the labour market testing, which are undertaken before granting certain types of work visas.  As predicted, we believe these market tests will become far more onerous as the new government will want to make a strong effort to have employers train and employ some of the 80,000 young New Zealanders who are not in employment or study.  We expect employers will need to prove more meaningful engagement with WINZ and other agencies demonstrating how they have helped these young people into work, rather than resorting to migrant labour (especially at the lower skilled end).

For migrants looking for employment in ANZSCO levels 4 and 5, you need to be aware that more stringent labour market testing appears to be on the way soon.

For further information or assistance with emigration please contact Lane Neave Lawyers on + 64 3 379 3720 or email liveinnewzealand@laneneave.co.nz.


Driving in New Zealand – understanding the roads and the rules

Driving in New Zealand can be a very different and often challenging experience for many visitors and new migrants. Unfamiliar signage, narrow and winding rural roads, and extreme weather conditions require a high level of concentration and caution from all drivers, particularly from those new to the country.

Many newcomers struggle with understanding the road rules and adjusting to the unique New Zealand roads. Some of the most important rules include:

  • Drive on the left-side of the road.
  • Keep to the legal speed limits: the maximum speed in urban areas is 50 km per hour (unless otherwise indicated on signage – e.g. 30 km in some inner-city roads and 40 km in school zones) and 100 km per hour on the open road / motorways. This has recently been extended to 110 km on a few selected motorways. These limits should be adjusted in adverse weather conditions.
  • Do not pass other cars when there are double yellow lines marked in the middle of the road; these indicate that it is too dangerous to overtake. Tourists and new drivers are often caught out on deceptive ‘blind’ corners and intersections on the open road.
  • Drivers and passengers must wear approved seat belts at all times. This is enforced by police and punishable by a fine. Child restraints are compulsory, and age and size appropriate car seats must be used by all children under seven years of age.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a crime in New Zealand and this law is strongly enforced by police. The legal limit is 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. There is a zero limit for drivers under 20 years of age.
  • Drivers cannot text or call on a handheld mobile phone while driving.

Unfamiliarity with New Zealand roads and driving conditions remains one of the biggest causes of accidents involving new residents and visitors. Distances on a map may appear short, but hilly, narrow and windy roads, combined with such features as single-lane bridges and unsealed surfaces, can significantly and unexpectedly extend a journey. Many visitor and new resident drivers also misjudge the stopping distances in bad weather, particularly on the open roads. Other traps for newcomers are: treacherous, icy roads in winter, sheep or livestock on the open roads, unfamiliar signage, and the frustrating impact of roads laden with campervans and caravans in the holiday season.

Visitors and new residents are able to drive for up to one year in New Zealand on an existing valid driver’s licence from their home country, or with an International Driving Permit. If the licence is not written in English, it must be accompanied by an English translation. After the initial one year of using an existing driver’s license, newcomers to New Zealand must obtain a New Zealand licence to continue driving. This may involve theory and practical tests depending on the country of origin. Australian or UK drivers, for example, do not have to sit any tests if they have held a current licence from their home nation for at least 2 years.  They are among other ‘exempt’ countries that have similar driving skills and licensing systems to New Zealand’s. To find out more about the requirements, visit the New Zealand Transport Agency website. The Agency has also produced a booklet specifically for newcomers and visitors to the country: Driving in New Zealand http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/driving-in-nz

Article provided by Lisa Burdes – SkillsConnect Canterbury Business Advisor at the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber offers migrant employment assistance, and support to employers of migrants in Canterbury. This service is fully funded by Immigration New Zealand (INZ). If you have questions about living and working in New Zealand, you can visit http://www.newzealandnow.govt.nz, email your query to newmigrantinfo@mbie.govt.nz or ring the INZ Contact Centre on +64 9 914 4100.


Tightening sector information released

Seek New Zealand have recently released an overview of the tightening sectors over the past year here in New Zealand. It makes  for an interesting read.

This reflects sectors  Enterprise Recruitment  has a strong presence in throughout New Zealand while the growing requirements in some sectors is surprising.

The increased demand in the primary sector is understandable given the low skill level requirements, remuneration and unwillingness of New Zealand citizens and residents to work in this sector.

However the higher skill level and remunerated roles in the Energy and Legal Services sectors reflects the growing shortage of quality candidates in mid and higher level skill levels throughout New Zealand.

Enterprise Recruitment & People have a strong network throughout New Zealand and remain interested in assisting skilled candidates with their placement requirements. Feel free to contact Steve Baker on steve.baker@enterprise.co.nz or 00 64 3 3530680 for a cost & obligation free appraisal of your employment options and opportunities in New Zealand.

Article provided by Steve Baker – Enterprise Recruitment and People.

Enterprise Recruitment and People has a national presence. We remain interested in providing obligation free advice to offshore candidate’s about their chances of securing employment in New Zealand. Steve can be contacted on steve.baker@enterprise.co.nz or 00 64 3 3530680.

www.enterprise.co.nz/


Auckland remains popular with migrants but not the only option

For a long time now many people have described the housing market in New Zealand as being in a bubble. They stopped doing that about four years ago with regard to Auckland as it became very clear that a fundamental shortage of property existed and prices were simply responding to that shortage. Interestingly, in the rest of the country, as we have seen prices rise firmly for the past two years in a traditional lagged response to Auckland’s surge, no-one has used the term bubble at all.

This cuts to the heart of something which many Kiwis still fail to grasp. Auckland is big, it will get bigger, and there is never going to be a reversal of the flow of people to our largest city. The envy of Auckland’s fast employment and business growth opportunities will continue and this will perhaps forever colour the language which people use to describe Auckland’s progress.

Does this mean potential migrants should simply go with the economic flow and concentrate their search for employment and community in just Auckland? Not at all. There are two other cities of reasonable size in New Zealand – the capital Wellington and our second biggest city Christchurch which lies in the South Island – home of the country’s best scenery by far.

In Christchurch economic patterns remain disturbed by the effects of the 2011 earthquake then reconstruction. The housing market is flat to slightly falling but this situation is unlikely to continue. Auckland housing has become very unaffordable for young people and it is likely that in 3 – 4 years when CBD reconstruction is largely complete and hotels get back up and running, some young people will relocate from Auckland and tourist numbers will surge.

The tourism relevance is that where people visit can influence where they subsequently shift to – or at least recommend friends look at if contemplating an international change.

This probable acceleration in population growth will place some new upward pressure on the Christchurch housing market, with assistance from trend growth in Christchurch’s high-tech niche manufacturing sector, health and education. So I would have no hesitation in recommending to potential migrants that they look closely at the employment opportunities available in Christchurch (watch for falling construction though).

In Wellington the dynamic is different. We are already seeing rapidly rising house prices driven by people seeking better investment yields and cheaper housing than Auckland now offers. But the economic dynamic is different from Christchurch. The government remains a dominant influence on the city and CBD in particular and while it is probably in a growth phase for the moment, when a change in government comes that can easily reverse.

Wellington does not have much of a manufacturing base to speak of, has almost no rural hinterland to service, and head offices continue to relocate to Auckland. For the moment, assisted by some good tourism sector growth and sectors like film-making, the city is enjoying a strong moment in the sun. But history suggests to us that this will not last and once the house price catch-up phase is complete attention will revert once again to some questionable underlying economic factors – not the least of which is earthquake risk.

Outside of the three major cities Hamilton, just south of Auckland, is growing rapidly and is well linked into Auckland’s growth. Looking there could yield very good long-term business growth prospects. Queenstown offers tourism sector involvement. Housing there however is hugely expensive.

Outside of these five locations, expect to see locals touting for migrant flows focussing very, very much on “lifestyle” – unclogged roads, fantastic quick access to the outdoors, etc. Lifestyle yes. Employment and business growth? In sectors like tourism and primary sector servicing yes. Beyond that, take a look by all means. But be realistic in your assessment of likely longevity of your stay there.

Article provided by Tony Alexander – Chief Economist, Strategy & Business Performance, BNZ. 

www.tonyalexander.co.nz 

 

contact

Mark Williams
Partner, Lane Neave

t +64 3 353 1063
m +64 21 222 2363
e mark.williams@laneneave.co.nz

 

Rachael MasonRachael Mason
Partner, Lane Neave

t +64 3 372 6323
m +64 21 1306 540
e rachael.mason@laneneave.co.nz