May Newsletter

In this edition:

Breaching visa conditions not taken lightly by INZ

Breaching the conditions of your visa is something that is not taken lightly by Immigration New Zealand (INZ), and we have noticed INZ getting even tougher in this regard.

Not only can a breach of visa conditions see your next visa application declined, it can also lead to receiving a deportation liability notice (and potentially deportation) under section 157(5) of the Immigration Act 2009.

Many visa holders breach their visa conditions unintentionally, and are not even aware that they have done so until notified by INZ. Given the seriousness of the potential consequences, it is essential for anyone who may have breached their visa conditions to obtain professional advice.

Some common scenarios we see are:

  • Visa holders who have been promoted within their company and have failed to obtain a new work visa prior to starting the new role (where their employment is specified on their visa);
  • Visa holders who begin employment with a new employer, without varying the conditions of their visa before doing so;
  • Working while holding a visa that does not allow employment; and
  • Student visa holders who fail to keep up attendance at their course of study.

Once a breach has occurred, any new visa applications will no longer be straightforward and must be handled with care.  If you think you may have breached your visa conditions, we recommend taking steps to rectify the breach immediately (such as standing down from work) in conjunction with taking professional legal advice on how to do so.

Should the matter come to INZ’s attention (whether through a voluntary disclosure, anonymous tip-off, an INZ investigation, or any other way), INZ will seek an explanation of why the breach occurred. Factors that may be taken into account when deciding what action to take against a visa holder are: whether the breach was intentional or unintentional; how long ago the breach occurred; the length of time the visa conditions were breached; the seriousness of the breach; and any other relevant circumstances.

Lane Neave has successfully assisted numerous clients who have breached their visa conditions, and can guide you in the right direction should you find yourself in such a situation.

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

The journey to settlement in New Zealand

Research tells us that there are various stages of settlement that newcomers experience when they move to a new country, as illustrated in the ‘settlement curve’ (New Zealand Now). This curve describes the ups and downs of the settlement journey, and reflects the experiences of many newcomers to New Zealand:


On arrival most newcomers feel excited and energised about starting a new life far from home. The optimism levels are high, and everything is a new opportunity. People are friendly, the country is beautiful, and the chances are good for successful and fast settlement. This is especially so if most of the initial experiences are positive, with a partner and family settling in well and a quick resolution to the ‘nuts and bolts’ of settlement (finding accommodation, setting up services, arranging transport etc.). Even a few negative experiences during this phase can be forgiven and explained away as mere culture ‘bumps’.


About 6 months after arrival there can be a ‘fright’ when newcomers feel that they may have made an unwise decision in moving away from their home country. This can be triggered by missing something important back in the home country; a wedding, the birth of a baby, a funeral, or other important family milestones. The truth starts to hit home about this time that New Zealand is physically quite far away from most other countries. Other realisations can come into play during this ‘fright’ period; the fact that most Kiwis heats rooms (rather than houses) in winter, and that the cost of living may be higher than first anticipated. Cultural differences are also more apparent; while Kiwis are very friendly, they can be hard to make friends with, and breaking into those friendship groups takes a bit more effort than expected. New Zealand work culture and the Kiwi communication style can also be a little puzzling.


This stage often occurs soon after a fright period; when many newcomers make the decision to stay or leave. The challenges associated with culture shock and settlement can be managed during this time, with some help from support networks. These may be established through friendships, work colleagues, or from sharing stories and support from other newcomers who have survived and thrived. Often the challenges that seemed insurmountable only a few months ago can now be viewed as valuable learning experiences. Taking opportunities to travel on weekends and explore the country is an excellent way to be reminded about the original reasons for emigrating. Work-life balance in New Zealand is outstanding, and newcomers who are pro-active in soaking up all of the new experiences on offer will find navigating this stage of settlement much easier. Joining clubs and becoming involved in work, school, and community events can speed up the urge to ‘fight’.


The final stage of the settlement curve is about fitting into the new country. For many this can be a remarkably fast process, for others it can take up to two years. The vast majority of newcomers who push through the settlement challenges don’t regret their choice to ‘fight’. Fitting into New Zealand is the ultimate goal; to feel part of the new community and workforce while making a valuable contribution. While never surrendering their own cultural and national identity, as time goes on newcomers become more ‘Kiwi’ and feel more at home – the ultimate settlement goal.

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, email your query to or ring the INZ Contact Centre on +64 9 914 4100.

Huge shortage of skilled staff in NZ

New Zealand’s new coalition government just released their first budget and, as suspected, the investment appears to be in the areas of greatest social need with a real focus on housing and poverty reduction.

Accordingly, a large portion of the surplus has been tagged for increased spending in the Education and Health sectors. This being said, the business sector remains content with a continued commitment toward New Zealand’s infra structure development and maintenance.

In general, New Zealand business confidence has been optimistic, however, this budget has dampened it somewhat as the Government has shown a commitment towards borrowing more and increasing levels of taxation.

Unemployment is at very low levels once again at approximately 4.5%, reinforcing the need for greater emphasis on training and re-education as well as an increased focus on sourcing skilled staff from off shore. A Chinese building consortium has recently successfully gained essential skills work visas for over 130 Chinese carpenters for one project in Auckland. This reinforces the facts that there remains a huge shortage of skilled staff throughout New Zealand and, if your case is strong enough, Immigration New Zealand will approve visas to ensure New Zealand continues to glean economic benefits of such skilled staff.

Enterprise Recruitment is feeling the pressure from employers throughout New Zealand for staff ranging from low skill levels through to the high skill level jobs and careers.

We have recently hosted a number of UK based candidates and arranged a number of interviews for these candidates with our network of clients 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.

NZ market tightness and wage growth not aligning

Around the world there are many countries experiencing good growth in employment. But it is very hard to find any place where the pace of average wages growth is lifting all that much. In fact there are even some countries like Australia where wages growth is in fact slowing down in spite of very strong jobs growth over the past couple of years.

New Zealand is no exception. One measure of wages growth which we track rose by over 5% per annum between 2005 and 2008 when the unemployment rate fell to 3.3% at one point. But with the unemployment rate now at 4.4%, down from 5.3% 18 months ago this measure has only risen from 2.5% to 3.2% over the past three years. In fact recently this rate of wage increase has slowed from 3.4%.

This is very surprising when we consider the range of measures showing how employers are struggling to find staff. On average a net 19% of businesses in the NZIER’s quarterly survey say that they are finding it hard to source skilled people. The latest reading is a net 44%. On average a net 4% say it is easy to find unskilled people. Now a net 29% say it is hard to find such folk.

Moreover, normally a gross 10% of businesses say that the main thing preventing them from producing more is a shortage of staff. Now that is 20%.

Explaining the lack of accelerating wages growth around the planet is very difficult and no-one seems to have the definitive answer. Some analysts say staff have simply been reluctant to ask for higher wages because they still worry about the world economy. Some say the reduction in workforce unionisation is a factor.

Others say the low rates of productivity growth are relevant. But in other markets such as for oil, gold, housing, the absence of any change in productivity of the relevant item is completely irrelevant to where its price goes. In truth, what this argument is trying to get at is perhaps some greater pushback these days by employers against higher wage demands.

It is very difficult for businesses to raise prices and get away with it now that we consumers can search for alternative products online at near zero cost. In the old days we had to drive around town looking for other outlets. Social media also spreads word of any business hiking its prices relatively quickly and that can have reputational damage.

Another factor restraining wages growth may simply be that young people anticipate shifting jobs far more frequently than previous generations ever did so anticipate gaining higher remuneration through such shifting rather than agitating for higher wages within their current organisation.

No-one really knows. But the main point to note is that as yet there is no sign of the old relationship between labour market tightness and accelerating wages growth re-establishing itself. That means that although there are shortages of staff across innumerable sectors and occupations in New Zealand from nursing to shearing, data analysts to engineers, there seems little prospect of aggressive bidding by employers through the use of higher wage offers.

There is certainly lobbying of the new government to relax immigration rules. But that is very unlikely to succeed. While the Labour Party has dropped its policy of making rule changes which will reduce migration inflows by 30,000 people per annum, they still say that they “expect” such a drop to occur.

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

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