Immigration February Newsletter

In this edition:

Coronavirus update: an evolving situation

On 2 March the New Zealand Government extended new travel restrictions related to Covid-19 virus to visitors arriving from Korea and northern Italy. While these countries are not subject to a travel ban like China and Iran, it is likely at some point if the number of cases in these countries continue to build a travel ban will also be applied.

The travel restrictions for Korea and Northern Italy require individuals who have been in those countries within 14 days of arrival to register with Healthline and self isolate for a period of 14 days. This is very different to the travel ban that is in place for China and Iran.

To clarify, while the travel restriction requirements apply to all those arriving from Korea and northern Italy, the travel ban does not apply to New Zealand citizens or residents and their immediately members (spouse/partner, legal guardian, or dependent child under 24 years of age). Further, they do not apply to Australian citizens or permanent residents if New Zealand is their primarily place of established residence.

As a result of the travel ban for China and Iran, applicants may hold work visas but are unable to travel to New Zealand. If you have recently been granted a visa and are residing in these countries, we recommend carefully checking your visa to determine whether there are conditions requiring the holder to enter New Zealand by a particular date. If the “first entry before” date is approaching, the travel conditions may need to be extended to avoid the visa lapsing and becoming void. We have already extended some (resident) visas due to these issues although Immigration New Zealand (INZ) do not have a defined policy at this stage so they are reviewing each application on a case by case basis.

In addition, if you are travelling in from northern Italy and Korea then you also need to be aware and manage the 14 day self isolation period, with a view that in the short term the restriction for these countries may move to a ban so there is some risk of delayed entry for these countries too.

What we seem to be observing here is a phased border closing. Holders of work visas need to be very mindful of taking either work or personal related international travel at this time. It is possible, as the situation escalates, that such employees may well be caught by a new restriction preventing them returning to work until they self isolate for 14 days, or worse, being caught outside New Zealand and unable to return for a significant period of time if the country they are in is placed on the ban list while they are offshore.

For further information or assistance with emigration please contact Lane Neave Lawyers on + 64 3 379 3720 or email

Maintaining well-being whilst moving countries

Last year Mobile ran a well-received series of workshops for newcomers to NZ on maintaining well-being through the physical and emotional dislocation of moving countries.

The three most commonly raised concerns were:

1. Settling Children
2. Making friends
3. Spouse adjustment

This aligns with research identifying the major causes of international relocation failure as family issues, spouse dissatisfaction and inability to settle.

Last month we looked at helping kids make a successful move, and now we will share tips on how newcomers can beat expat loneliness and establish new friendships.

A fulfilling, interactive and stimulating workday is a given for most expats. But what about after hours? Establishing a new life and connecting socially will ensure your long-term happiness offshore.

Without contacts and an obvious peer group, expats risk falling into social limbo. A feeling of belonging neither ‘here’ nor ‘back there’.

Like any potentially tricky situation, the solution lies in knowing what to expect and planning a way forward. Unpack the suitcases. Get over the jetlag. Then take a moment to cover off the following bases.

1. Old friends and family

Decide who to stay in touch with back home – but don’t make it everyone, all the time. Allocate regular timeslots to your best friend, your parents, your sister. Ideally this should be face-to-face with Skype, Facetime etc.
Resist relying on frequent social media posts showcasing your new life to a mass audience. Or obsessively following what is happening at home and feeling resentful about your absence. This is no substitute for genuine two-way interaction with your nearest and dearest.
Better to use your time to get out and about developing relationships in the here and now.

2. Other expats

Find some expats you like, not too many, and get together once in a while to share a common cultural experience. Track them down via blogs, clubs or be brave and approach people with a familiar accent. Watch your national sport, cook food from home, and relax with people who understand the same in-jokes and references.
Work hard to make sure it doesn’t become a moan session – but sympathise with each other about the ups and downs of life offshore.

3. Locals

Seek out like-minded and open-minded locals as your passport to settling in. Start with the helpful co-worker to who happily shares advice on everything from health insurance to grocery shopping. Friendship may develop, but if not, just remember to repay their kindness when you can.

With the basics sorted, venture further afield. is a great way to target your effort. It hosts a multitude of informal interest-based groups to choose from. Membership is as simple as turning up and there’s no need to go back if it’s not your thing.

You’ll soon be meeting plenty of locals but don’t be discouraged if it seems hard to engage beyond a first encounter. Chances are they have busy lives with their own friends and family – they are not meaning to be unfriendly, so just move on. Others may lack expat experience themselves so won’t appreciate how hard it is to put yourself out there in pursuit of friendship.

Expat friend-making is essentially a numbers game. Persevere. Step-by-step. Show initiative. Put in the effort and you will develop the network that anchors you into your new home.

Article provided by Bridget Romanes – Principal, Mobile Relocation.

Investment in New Zealand companies

Being a small island nation, which is geographically isolated from global major economies, has led New Zealand’s transformation away from a traditional agriculture export orientated nation to a diversified open economy. There continues to be a focus on, and emphasis toward, developing knowledge innovation. One way that investors can achieve exposure to our economic development is to invest in New Zealand companies, which is also an acceptable investment under the investor visa programme.

For investors who are new to New Zealand, there are many avenues to assist you to access investment information. The easiest way is to invest in publicly listed companies. There are many advantages, such as, strong governance requirements imposed by NZX, transparency and continued disclosure of company information, liquidity – easy to buy and sell and diversification.

In addition to publicly available information through the NZX, investors can support their investment decision by obtaining financial advice and research analysis through recognised providers. The NZX offers investors with a wide range of companies, from early stage to mature stable companies, to consider.

There though are alternative investment opportunities through private companies that investors may wish to think about. Companies may seek money through:

Seed capital: Local universities and research institutes provide numerous innovative ideas each year that require money to commercialise. Investors can reach out to those organisations to access more information although there are also local Crowdfunding websites to help entrepreneurs to start their business.

Angel capital: New Zealand has a vibrant angel investor network. A lot of regions have established their local angel network to connect local entrepreneurs with investors. These often occur through regular meetings, where new investors can meet with other likeminded people.

Venture capital (VC): While still in its infancy, the track record of domestic VC funds is not long, investors can access companies through a fund manager. The NZ government has recognised the need to improve this, committing NZD300million to co-invest alongside private investors to help develop the local VC sector.

Private Equity (PE): As with VC, investors generally invest through a specialist manager, but like VC we only have a few fund managers with good track records. As part of my job, I am provided the opportunity to meet many of them and note several areas in common:

1. Remain specialists, only seeking opportunities in areas that they know,
2. Retain a strong local network to help source deals directly,
3. Prefer to work alongside the company founders to create a win-win exit strategy

Other opportunities: Baby boomer generation entrepreneurs have been either passing down their business to the next generation or selling them to exit. This trend is expected to continue and may provide investors with alternative investment opportunities.

Article provided by Ally Cui – Director, JB Were.

New Zealand’s salary up’s and down’s – what it might mean

Three trends driving the top performers

Shaped by local and global forces, some jobs have rocketed in value while others tumbled. Few hirers would be surprised to see careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, doing so well in our salary data. However, they might be surprised that the number one, Modelling & Simulation, recorded an impressive salary rise of 75%.

Mathematics, Statistics & Information Sciences came in at number 16 with a rise of 30%, while a 27% increase put Biological & Biomedical Sciences, where much of the growth has been driven by food technology, at number 19. As a country, we place enormous emphasis on farming and agriculture, and food technology is an important subset of that. As to the future, it will be interesting to see whether the growing number of STEM graduates entering the workforce has a long-term impact on salaries.

Homing in on the need for domestic housing

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), New Zealand has one of the highest rates of homelessness. Employers will be heartened to see Housing & Homelessness Services in second place, with a salary increase of 63%.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has pledged almost $200 million to provide housing for 2,700 long-term homeless people in the 2019 budget. More broadly, demand for domestic housing has been fuelling the Construction industry, which helps explain why Forepersons & Supervisors and Architectural Draftspeople both made the top eight, with salary rises of 38% and 35% respectively.

Tourism flying high

Tourism is one of New Zealand’s biggest exports, and with visitor numbers growing by over 50% in the past 10 years. Demand for domestic and international travel has also been stimulated by lower airfares. This has no doubt helped drive the 50% rise in salaries for workers in Aviation Services and the 36% rise for those who work for airlines. Kitchen & Sandwich Hands are also earning 36% more, which suggests both tourists and locals are spending more. That could be good news all round for the one in seven New Zealanders employed directly in Tourism.

New Zealand’s top 20 salary gains

RankIndustryRole type2018-2019%
1Science & technologyModelling & simulation$94,21075%
2Community services & developmentHousing & homelessness services$74,04363%
3Healthcare & medicalOptical$92,36253%
4Manufacturing, transport & logisticsAviation services$81,31050%
6Hospitality & tourismAirlines$63,45036%
7Hospitality & tourismKitchen & sandwich hands$41,78536%
8Design & architectureArchitectural drafting$77,70335%
9Manufacturing, transport & logisticsPublic transport & taxi services$60,56835%
10Real estate & propertyRetail & property development$120,64334%
11Insurance & superannuationRisk consulting$104,04634%
12Design & architectureWeb & interaction design$95,79533%
13Insurance & superannuationFund administration$62,63132%
14Mining, resources & energyNatural resources & water$102,29132%
15Trades & servicesGardening & landscaping$52,19331%
16Science & technologyMathematics, statistics & information sciences$100,86130%
17EngineeringSystems engineering$97,68228%
18Banking & financial servicesClient services$68,34628%
19Science & technologyBiological & biomedical sciences$84,57127%
20LegalTax law$115,54627%

Three forces shaping downward moves

Mining finds itself in a hole

Downscaling of coal extraction and transition to renewable energy sources, especially as part of the electricity generation mix, have been limiting employment opportunities for miners. This is reflected in our salary data, where Mining, Resources & Energy claimed a dispiriting eight of the 20 lowest places, including the bottom three. The lowest, Mining – Exploration & Geoscience, fell by 46%. Future growth in the industry is likely to be limited by the Crown Minerals Amendment Bill passed by Parliament at the end of last year, which puts an end to new offshore oil and gas exploration.

ICT drop signals changes

It may surprise employers that Information & Communication Technology (ICT) appears twice in our list of poor performers. Salaries in Sales – Pre & Post declined by 10% while, in Telecommunications, the slide was even more pronounced at 21%. The first data point suggests that IT vendors are maintaining a local presence for the sales side of the business but supporting existing customers offshore, through regional hubs in Australia and Asia. The second data point reflects a shift in the mix of roles from engineering, specialist and design to a higher proportion of telecommunication and fibre technicians, roles that generally tend to attract a lower salary. This may well be a result of the Ultra-Fast Broadband initiative moving from the design stage to implementation.

Legal eagles plunge and number crunchers stumble

The Legal and Accounting professions both appear twice in the lowest ranks. Salaries in Industrial Relations & Employment Law, Legal Practice Management and External Audit all fell by 7%, while those in Insolvency & Corporate Recovery dropped by 9%. Australasian Lawyer reports that these are both professions where automation is having an impact, as machines can now do much of the tedious manual labour, leaving professionals to focus on more productive and creative work.

New Zealand’s 20 biggest salary falls

RankIndustryRole type2018-2019%
1Mining, resources & energyMining – exploration & geoscience$74,021-46%
2Mining, resources & energyMining – processing$71,250-31%
3Mining, resources & energyMining – drill & blast$78,125-29%
4Advertising, arts & mediaPromotions$47,959-29%
5Mining, resources & energyMining – operations$89,817-25%
6Mining, resources & energyMining – engineering & maintenance$101,435-23%
7Information & communication technologytelecommunications$68,371-21%
8Healthcare & medicalMedical specialists$103,087-16%
9Information & communication technologySales – pre & post$105,468-10%
10AccountingInsolvency & corporate recovery$81,057-9%
11AccountingAudit – external$77,145-7%
12LegalLegal practice management$91,477-7%
13Human resources & recruitmentRecruitment – agency$68,102-7%
14Insurance & superannuationManagement$105,230-7%
15LegalIndustrial relations & employment law$93,019-7%
16Mining, resources & energyManagement$112,588-7%
17Mining, resources & energyHealth, safety & environment$100,937-6%
18Human resources & recruitmentManagement – agency$93,443-6%
19Manufacturing, transport & logisticsRail & maritime transport$69,888-6%
20Mining, resources & energyOil & gas – operations$89,767-5%

Enterprise Recruitment

Enterprise Recruitment have over forty years’ experience in the New Zealand market place and have strong networks throughout the country. We offer a complimentary CV review and feedback on your employability in the New Zealand market.

We can be contacted via Steve Baker on +64 27 212 5483 or

Full employment reigns

Today’s data reinforce our view that New Zealand’s labour market is unequivocally tight and, perhaps more importantly, is, with the help of government policy, generating wage inflation. Put these two things together and it’s hard to conclude anything other than we are at or near full employment. This being the case, the labour data provide the RBNZ with no excuse to even contemplate lowering interest rates. To the contrary, in and of itself, these figures suggest the RBNZ should be seriously considering raising rates.

Of course, the data are historical. And the big question on everyone’s lips is what will the coronavirus do to growth, employment and inflation? Given the extent of this risk, and the uncertainties that surround it, any talk of tighter policy is premature. But, be this as it may, the starting point remains important and there is clear indication in today’s figures that the economy does have the ability to absorb some of the current shock without its overall stance becoming unhealthy.

At the headline level, the unemployment rate of 4.0% was well below the RBNZ’s expectation of 4.2%. However, it would be wrong to conclude from this piece of data that the overall picture was wildly tighter than the RBNZ’s assumptions. Had the participation rate not dropped from 70.4% to 70.1% then the unemployment rate would not have fallen.

Of note, employment in the December quarter was basically unchanged on September. The RBNZ was looking for a 0.4% increase. Over the year to December employment grew just 1.0%. This was the lowest pace of increase recorded since June 2013. Moreover, we are not likely to see a significant improvement in this series until the end of this year at the earliest.

In part, of course, the decline in employment growth reflects the fact that the available supply of labour is limited. Supply conditions could even get more problematic as migration inflows are impacted by the coronavirus and the participation rate trends lower. A feature of the New Zealand labour market over the last decade or so has been its perennially increasing participation rate. Now that is no longer the case with that rate seemingly having peaked back in June 2018. We are forecasting the participation rate to trend lower for the foreseeable future.

Indicative of the genuine tightness in the labour market is the fact that the underutilisation rate fell to an 11 year low of 10.0%. Our suspicion is that it will fall further even if the headline unemployment rate goes no lower.

Also indicative of the continued strength in the labour market is the continued upward progression in wage pressure. The RBNZ looks most closely at the Labour Cost Index (LCI) for the private sector. It rose 0.6% for the quarter, 2.4% for the year. Not only is this stronger than the RBNZ’s expectations but we believe there remains more upside.

A significant factor behind this is the pressure, both direct and indirect, being put on employers by the increasing minimum wage. So far the minimum wage has risen 12.3% over two years but it’s far from over yet. There’s another 13.0% to go. The minimum wage is set to increase 6.8% in April of this year and a further 5.8% in April 2021. Add this to proposed Fair Pay arrangements, the Living Wage and some significant state sector moves and you can see further eneralised wage pressure lies ahead.

With this in mind, recall that the RBNZ has tended to see a 2.0% annual increase in the LCI as being the sort of wage growth that is consistent with the Bank meeting its CPI inflation target.

Looking forward, we have made some adjustments to our forecasts to reflect delayed labour market hiring in the face of uncertainty. As a consequence, we do see the unemployment rate ticking up from here over the next few quarters. Our “flash” forecast for Q1 2020 has employment growing just 0.1% and the unemployment rate rising to 4.3%. Obviously, there is a large element of guesswork at play here and we will be revising our forecasts regularly as new information comes to hand.

Despite this, it is important to remember that the RBNZ
believes New Zealand’s NAIRU is in a roughly 4.0% to 4.4% range. Accordingly, a modest increase should not ring alarm bells at the Bank. Only if any increase foretold the beginning of a sustained trend would a reaction be anticipated. It will be a while yet before any such conclusion could be reached and it’s highly unlikely such a view could be formed prior to the RBNZ’s March OCR review. More generally, the heartening aspect of this is that it shows the economy is well placed, from a starting point perspective, to absorb some of the shock that the coronavirus will inevitably impart.

Article reproduced with the permission of the BNZ.

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