March Newsletter

In this edition:

INZ getting much tougher with employer accreditation

Further to our recent article raising issues with the position of Immigration New Zealand (INZ) on their approach to only considering government entities or departments for five year employer accreditation renewals, we have now seen some concerning trends in other renewal applications that all accredited employers should be aware of prior to filing renewals this year.  The concerns include the following:

  1. Employers to confirm that not only a talent visa applicant is employed on a base salary of NZ$55,000 per annum (calculated on a 40 hour working week), but all hours worked are at that hourly wage rate (i.e. NZ$26.45 per hour – every hour worked).

This expectation seems to have been driven to changes in the Essential Skills work visa area around calculating wage/salary rates to assess skill levels, however, this policy is not technically relevant to the Work to Residence (Talent) visa Instructions.  If this issue is raised in your renewal application, or any work to residence visa application made on behalf of one of your employees, contact us for guidance.

  1. An expectation that accredited employers are required to stick to the occupations listed in the form that they intended to employ in their last renewal application (or intend to employ in the future).

This expectation is unreasonable, because it does not reflect what the policy actually specifies; which simply states that accredited employers are required to employ in their core area of business activity.  This is not in anyway restricted to the occupations that the company listed as possible occupations that they will use their status for.  The form reflects an intention only, that changes over time as the needs of businesses also change over time.  If a concern is raised in this respect contact us for guidance.

  1. An expectation that advertising that is used to attract New Zealanders for roles must specify a pay rate of NZ$55,000 per annum (minimum) for the occupation if there is an intention to support talent visas for those roles.

This is (in a market sense) a very unusual expectation, as most roles are advertised without salary or wage rates to attract as many applicants as possible for the role.  In many instances companies wish to attract anyone with those skills to assess their employability (or trainability), especially so where there are multiple roles of that type available covering a wide salary or wage bands that reflect the skills/experience of the applicant in question.  This expectation is built on the current policy that allows this to be considered, but it appears INZ have lost direction a little on the objective of this Instruction, because not listing a salary or wage in an advertisement is not absolute evidence that an employer has not made a genuine attempt to attract a New Zealander for the role first.

There are more issues we are noting from accredited employers contacting us for guidance.  It is clear to us that, as predicted, more companies are choosing to become accredited, and accredited employers are using the work to residency visas more as an alternative to the Skilled Migrant Category, that has been significantly tightened last year.

All employers who are looking to renew their status this year and others who wish to apply for the same time should be on notice that this year is not going to be a “standard” review.  While we welcome a robust and transparent assessment exercise, such assessments must reflect the policy that applies, and at the same time must be fair and reasonable.

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

The nuts and bolts of settling into New Zealand

Settling into a new country can be overwhelming, and no matter how much planning and research is done before arrival, there is still a lot to do after touchdown. Most new arrivals find that the journey to settlement is made easier with a positive attitude, a lot of patience, and an organised approach towards tackling that ‘to do’ list.

The settlement checklist is long: opening bank accounts and getting an IRD (tax) number, sourcing accommodation, connecting to services like the Internet, mobile phones, and electricity, finding employment (for yourself and / or a partner), locating suitable schools, understanding the transport system (and probably buying a vehicle), and enrolling with a local GP (family doctor). This is just the beginning. While much of this can be researched and organised offshore, the bulk of the work is done soon after arrival. All of this takes time and energy, and for those newcomers with no existing support services in New Zealand, the tasks can seem daunting.

There is a lot of information and advice available online for newcomers. Immigration New Zealand’s New Zealand Now website offers both national and regional information. Local council websites are another useful resource; Christchurch City Council, for example, offers a guide that outlines the services and opportunities for newcomers to the city. Find out everything you can before arrival about the cost of living, the availability and cost of housing, the healthcare system, the educational choices, and the transport options.

One of the first big considerations for most newcomers is finding suitable accommodation. This process can often be started offshore, by contacting letting or real estate agencies, or websites like Trade Me and If finding an area with a suitable school is important, it pays to bear in mind that state (government-funded) schools take their students from geographically set ‘zones’. If a student does not live in the zone, they may have to enter a ballot or be placed on a waiting list with no guarantee of acceptance. Even if schooling is not a consideration, it is good to note that property in a ‘desirable’ school zone can drive up the price of both rentals and houses on the market.

Once accommodation and the associated services are sorted, it is wise to find a local medical centre. All citizens and permanent residents, as well as those on work visas of 2 years or longer, are eligible to access the public health system. The Ministry of Health has compiled this Guide to Eligibility for public health services.  Eligible new migrants should enrol with a GP as soon as possible after arrival to access the full range of subsidised services; failure to do so will lead to the obligation to pay substantial medical costs. Visitors and visa holders of less than 2 years should obtain comprehensive health insurance from their home country before arrival.

There are a variety of ways to find suitable work in New Zealand, most of which are listed on the New Zealand Now website. There are also various agencies that specifically assist newcomers to find employment and settle in New Zealand. There is also support for partners of primary work visa applicants to settle into their new community, find employment, and/or explore volunteer opportunities.

Once the essentials are organised, the journey to true settlement begins in earnest. This is focused on belonging; creating connections within work and the neighbourhood, and making friends. Giving yourself a good head start by sorting out those nuts and bolts will make all the difference.

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 If you have questions about living and working in New Zealand, you can visit, email your query to or ring the INZ Contact Centre on +64 9 914 4100.

Shortfall in low and mid skilled staff

The 2017/18 financial year is drawing to a close and the associated tightening in spending has slowed demand for staff throughout New Zealand. This being said, there remains a huge shortfall in low and mid skilled staff. This combined with a lethargic approach to visa application processing by Immigration NZ means that employers throughout New Zealand remain concerned about the constraints on business and economic growth, due to poor labour supply.

Two of the NZ Manufacturers Association policy positions affirm the need for our Government to improve and reform the education sector to address current and future skill shortages and also the need to review immigration to ensure skill shortages can be met.

The Government appear to be listening, with recent changes allowing for visa extensions for RSE workers in the Horticulture sector. This flexible approach needs to be considered further afield to ensure all sectors have the necessary resource in terms of quality manpower, without compromising New Zealand’s security.

Enterprise Recruitment remain optimistic about opportunities throughout New Zealand, as the economy remains buoyant. We have a huge network of clients throughout New Zealand who all require quality staff at all skills levels across all sectors, from blue collar through to white collar and executive appointments.

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 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 or 00 64 3 3530680.

Demand for migrant staff is set to remain very high for a number of years

Since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09 most economies have struggled to achieve sustainable growth – or they have been growing but at a slow pace. Except New Zealand. Although the Australian economy has grown by more than New Zealand since 2007, Australia has experienced a growth surge associated with minerals demand from China, then a growth slump as demand for coal and iron ore slumped, and now a new lift in growth as the non-mining sector moves ahead.

In contrast in New Zealand the pace of economic growth moved above 2% at the start of 2011 and has been there ever since. Some of the growth initially reflected the effects of much lower interest rates, a much lower exchange rate, strength in our biggest trading partners (Australia and China), and a dairy sector boom.

But the really interesting story concerns the four years of 2014 – 2017 inclusive. The NZ economy has grown by 14% over this four year period, or 3.5% per annum on average. This is well above the long-term NZ average of 2.7% and much more than countries like the United States have averaged post-GFC – rates near 2%.

Three special factors have driven this extraordinary growth surge. One is an 8% lift in population. The long-term NZ rate of population growth averages 1.1% per annum. It has been 2% per annum for four years now courtesy of a net immigration boom yet to show any serious signs of waning.

Second we have seen a house building surge from issuance of 13,500 building consents nationwide in 2011 to 31,000 recently. This strong recovery in house building from the weakest level of construction since the 1960s (population less than 3 million then versus near 5 million now) has come on top of a long overdue lift in infrastructure spending and commercial building.

Third, tourism has boomed with visitor numbers rising 44% in the past five years. Growth in the five year period before that was only 4%.

On top of these factors we have had a fresh series of interest rate cuts over 2015-16 to reflect lower than expected inflation, a 470,000 surge in jobs since 2009, a halving of international oil prices, recent recovery in dairying after the 2014-15 slump, very strong conditions for almost all other parts of the farming sector, and underlying strong growth in sectors such as education, health, aged care, and technology.

No wonder that after such a period of strong and widespread growth employers cannot find the staff they need. A regular survey by NZIER has found that a net 49% of firms cannot find skilled staff. Usually only a net 20% experience this. A net 31% cannot easily find unskilled people whereas a net 4% on average have historically reported unskilled people as easy to find.

NZ’s labour market is strong and as long as the world does not have a nuclear war, trade war, South China Seas naval war, or disruption from a resurrected Cold War, the NZ economy is set to remain strong. By strong we mean underpinned by continued good outlooks across a range of sectors. What we cannot mean by strong however is continued growth averaging 3.5% a year. Why? Because NZ has hit capacity limits.

Staff are in short supply, some parts of the infrastructure are creaking at the seems, dairying has perhaps reached environmental limits, and there are insufficient beds in the tourism sector to handle another surge in visitor numbers.

Demand for migrant staff is set to remain very high for a number of years. In fact it is not beyond the realm of reasonableness to start speaking in terms of NZ having a permanent ongoing need to bring in more people from overseas simply to continue functioning.

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

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