February Newsletter

In this edition:

Can you prove your partnership is going to last the distance to obtain a visa?

It appears that Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has become very sensitive to the number of people securing temporary work visas and residency under the partnership category, and at some point separating from the partners who supported them.

As a consequence we have noticed that INZ officers have become increasingly tough on assessing partnerships over the last few months when it comes to being satisfied that an applicant’s relationship is genuine, stable and likely to endure. The later part of this test seems to be where they are concentrating their assessment efforts, over and above whether they are satisfied that the applicant is currently living together with their sponsor in a genuine and stable partnership.

The onus on proving the strength of the partnership lies with the applicant and their sponsoring partner.  When it comes down to assessing durability, these are the main arms that you will need to prove with strong evidence:

  1. Shared residence
  2. Financial interdependence
  3. Public recognition
  4. Family support
  5. Time spent together
  6. Communication and maintenance of partnership

Essentially, INZ is looking for objective and independently verifiable evidence that you and your partnership will last the distance, covering all of these aspects.  A robust set of documents spanning these aspects for the course of your relationship should be submitted to avoid INZ raising concerns, or even declining your application.

If you are thinking about applying for residence based your partnership, we recommend seeking professional assistance if you have any concerns to ensure that adequate documentation is provided.  This is especially so if you have been living together for less than 24 months, there are periods of separation (travel/business commitments etc) or you do not have good evidence to prove that you have been living together in that partnership for a sustained period of time.

We have had to step in to resolve a number of applications where concerns have been raised by INZ, or submit new applications where the first applications has been declined because the couple could not demonstrate all the assessment aspects outlined above with objective evidence.

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

Communication in the Kiwi workplace

Understanding, and adapting to, the unique communication style of the Kiwi workplace is essential for successful settlement. Many newcomers to New Zealand find that mastering the intercultural communication challenge can spark conversation and friendships, and speed up the sense of ‘fitting in’. Conversely, failing to understand and adapt can confuse, offend, frustrate, and lead to potentially dangerous situations (think health and safety).

The distinctive New Zealand language and communication style has a real impact on successful integration into the workplace. The Kiwi accent is often the hardest thing for new migrants to get used to, even for those from English speaking countries. New Zealanders speak quickly, tend to mumble, and the vowels (particularly the ‘i’ and ‘e’ sounds) can be tricky to interpret! Even native English speakers will have trouble recognising the difference between “bare and beer” or “cheers and chairs” from a New Zealand accent. New Zealanders speak quickly, and rarely pause between words – or sentences. In addition to this, the rising intonation can often make a statement sound like a question.

It is also not always true that New Zealanders are easily understood if they speak slowly and clearly; it can also be the actual language that is used that can trip migrants up. Phrases like “flick me an email”, “pop it in there” and “try to stay on top of that” can be very confusing to non-English speakers.

Another interesting obstacle for new migrants in the workplace is Kiwi slang; something that is seamlessly incorporated into everyday conversation. This unique terminology is one of the biggest challenges for all newcomers – regardless of country of origin. ‘Jandals’, ‘togs’ and ‘smoko’, for example, will be foreign terms to those even from the United Kingdom and Australia. Add to these, common Maori terms like “kai” (food) and “whanau” (family) and the challenge becomes greater for those new to the country.

New Zealanders are generally relaxed and easy-going, and this attitude often extends to the workplace and to the style of communication. While this can be refreshing for new migrants, it can also be confusing. Phrases like ‘she’ll be right’ and “no worries, mate” are an interesting reflection of how the Kiwi culture values the ‘give it a go’, relaxed attitude. New Zealand places a strong emphasis in society on fairness, equality and informality, and the language used mirrors these values. There is an emphasis on ‘the team’ rather than the individual and it’s not uncommon to hear “we” used when the intended meaning is “you”: “could we get that done by lunchtime?”

Related to this is a final aspect of the Kiwi communication style that causes confusion; the indirectness of the language.  Rather than using phrases like “pass me that” or “shut the door”, New Zealanders often soften the language to avoid sounding rude: “would you mind passing me that” and “sorry, could you possibly shut the door?”. This overly-wordy language can be bewildering for many newcomers. Those who come from cultures where language is more direct find they may have to learn to adjust their language style in order to not offend!

The unique Kiwi language and communication style undoubtedly presents challenges for newcomers but with some effort from all involved most people find that it’s “sweet as”.

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. 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.

Range of opportunities still exist for migrants to NZ

The new coalition Government’s aim to reduce immigration numbers has resulted in Immigration New Zealand focusing on risk mitigation, whilst also trying to ensure New Zealand remains a destination of choice.

The new skill bands ensures that mid and high skilled candidates will still have an avenue available to them.

The recent news regarding New Zealand’s biggest construction company and their accumulated losses of in excess of $950 Million has had a huge impact of confidence within this sector.

That being said, opportunity springs eternal and this will create massive opportunities throughout New Zealand for other companies. There will obviously be an increase in the supply of skilled tradesmen, which could dampen opportunity for migrants looking at New Zealand as their destination of choice.

Fortunately, New Zealand’s economy is robust and diverse, with the primary and technology sectors two such examples where innovation and opportunity remain strong.  New Zealand’s requirements for both new infrastructure and redevelopment also remain an area where opportunity is great for overseas candidates with the right level of skill, experience and qualification.

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.


Robotisation is likely to have much less impact in NZ

For fresh migrants to a country there are a number of potential “nightmare” scenarios. On the personal side there is the risk of not fitting in or even being rejected by a community, school problems for children, or unbearably hot, cold, windy, or wet weather.

Putting these important considerations aside, the main nightmare from an economics point of view is job loss. Losing an expected source of income early in one’s migration makes establishing a new home and building up the necessary accoutrements of a reasonable standard of living difficult.

So what does the labour market look like in New Zealand? The first thing to say is that despite the likes of forecasts that globally some 800 million jobs will be lost to robots in the next few 12 years, there is no evidence of any such thing occurring in New Zealand. In fact when one looks at the make-up of the business sector in New Zealand robotisation is likely to have much less impact than in other countries.

Robots can most easily be used to replace workers in manufacturing facilities – especially in positions involving repetitive tasks. In New Zealand there is a reasonably sized manufacturing sector. But it almost exclusively involves short production run specialised outputs, including the likes of medical tech, a sector with revenue last year of $1.3bn of which 95% came from exports.

New Zealand used to have lots of production line manufacturing but it was subsidised and protected by high tariffs. Some lines even involved putting together the likes of TVs which had been produced in Japan but then dismantled in order to get into New Zealand without high tariffs.

But all of that ended in the late-1980s when the economy was opened up and deregulated. Thousands of people lost their protected manufacturing jobs and this process continued through the 1990s, especially in the regions. Most of the manufacturing jobs we could lose to robotisation have already gone.

What we see is that compared with ten years ago at the end of 2007, in New Zealand employment has risen by 19%. Employment in mining has fallen 17%, manufacturing 6%, IT 2%, and financial services 1%. Strong growth has occurred in construction 36%, scientific and technical services 40%, public admin 30%, education 29%, healthcare 30%, arts and recreation 26%.

Artificial intelligence will assist in many of these fast growing areas, but outright use of robots? Probably not much.

Ironically however, NZ businesses are under growing pressure to invest in new capital equipment, AI, machine learning and robotisation because the labour market is extremely tight and becoming more so. A net 49% of businesses cannot find the skilled staff they want and a net 31% cannot even find unskilled staff. Yet the economic outlook is for growth near 3% for each of the next three or four years.

While there are some strong factors underpinning regional growth in New Zealand, such as horticulture and tourism, it is likely that most jobs growth will occur in our big cities going forward, especially Auckland. In fact if we consider the 465,000 extra jobs created since the low-point of the labour market cycle in 2009, almost 50% have appeared in our biggest city of Auckland.

Businesses need staff, they want customers, diversity of thought drives business growth more and more, and all of these things can be found far more easily in a big city than a regional town. So in the absence of anything suggesting a surge in manufacturing concentrated in the regions as happened in earlier decades when tariffs and subsidies ruled, it makes sense for migrants to seek employment where the businesses are looking for them – in the main cities.

With regard to that, keep an eye on Christchurch. Within 3 – 5 years almost all of the reconstruction of the city centre following destruction or demolishing of over 90% of buildings following the 2011 earthquake will be complete. There could well be an interesting flow of young people from Auckland and Wellington down south seeking cheaper housing.

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


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