October Newsletter

In this edition:

INZ increase fees | 2018 skills shortage review

Increase in immigration fees and levies – 5 November

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has announced that from 05 November 2018 that a new fee schedule will apply for visa applications. Although some fee types are decreasing, the majority of fees for most types of visas will increase.

The fees for Essential Skills Work Visa, Partnership-based Work Visa and Work to Residence Visa have recorded the biggest increases (over 50%), while the fees for Student Visa, Group Visitor Visa and Business Visa have slightly reduced.

The reasons for these changes are complex, but include the government’s cost recovery, investment in compliance enforcement and border security, and the overall maintenance on the integrity of immigration system

If you are preparing your visa application right now, then if possible you should be submitting your application prior to 5 November to avoid these increased costs.

2018 Skill Shortage Review

INZ has completed the initial process of the annual review of the Essential Skills in Demand (ESID) Lists and is now seeking submissions from the public to help them assess the status of selected occupations.

The ESID Lists consist of the Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL), the Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL) and the Canterbury Skill Shortage List (CSSL). It’s worth noting that among the 14 occupations listed, 7 are not currently on any of the ESID Lists. These new occupations include Building Associates, Café or Restaurant Manager, Early Childhood Teacher, Fitter (General), Primary School Teacher, Secondary School Teacher and Wood Machinist. Now that INZ has nominated these occupations for review, it’s possible that they will be added to one or more of these lists, so if you have skill in these areas and/or hold (or are able to secure a job offer) in one of these roles, more options may become available to secure residency outside the Skilled Migrant pathway, that is difficult to achieve, especially in the Auckland region.

With this in mind, if your occupation is on the LTSSL, you may:

    1. Apply for Work to Residence visa and obtain residence under this category (no English requirement for the principle applicant).
    2. Claim bonus points for your employment and/or work experience when you apply for residence under Skilled Migrant Category.
    3. Skip Labour Market Test when applying for an Essential Skills Work Visa.

If your occupation is on the ISSL, you may:

  1. Skip Labour Market Test when applying for an Essential Skills Work Visa.

Please however note that applicants must meet certain qualification/work experience requirements in order to be eligible under these categories.

If you wish to know more about the ESID review process, or your potential eligibility for temporary or residency visas in these occupations, please contact Lane Neave’s Immigration Team.

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

Money matters in New Zealand

One of the more practical issues to consider when moving to a new country is how money matters work, and what you have to do as a newcomer to ensure that you’re doing everything right. Understanding how things like the tax system work means that a new migrant can hit the ground running.

Paying taxes is an inevitable part of living in most countries, and New Zealand is no exception. Income tax and the Goods and Services (GST) tax are the main way that the government gathers revenue to pay for the services available to New Zealanders. GST is a flat rate of tax (currently 15%) that is added to the price of most purchases in New Zealand, including many imported goods and services. Examples of what GST is charged on include:

  • Services – such as graphic design, hairdressing, building or painting
  • Products – such as clothing, cars or takeaway food
  • Experiences – such as bungee jumping, skiing or going to the movies
  • Professional services – such as legal advice. (ird.govt.nz)

Anyone earning income in New Zealand will have tax deducted from their pay through the PAYE (Pay As You Earn) system. In order to have the correct amount deducted, everyone needs to have a tax number (known as an IRD number). If they don’t, tax will be deducted at the highest rate. Newcomers should apply for an IRD number as soon as they arrive in the country so that they ensure they are on the correct tax code from the moment they start work. Inland Revenue (the government’s tax department) is the best place to start research about taxes and find out how to apply for an IRD number.

Income tax in New Zealand is relatively straightforward. The rates are as follows:

  • 33% from $70,000
  • 30%: $48,001 to $70,000
  • 5%: $14,001 to $48,000
  • 5%: $0 to $14,000

For a brief overview of how this works, and about other taxes, visit the New Zealand Now website. The government’s employment website gives a good overview of pay and wages, including information about types of pay, deductions, and benefits and allowances.

Personal tax returns are not filled in by all New Zealanders, but it is important to note that you will have to complete one if you have overseas income or arrived in the country part way through a tax year (1 April – 31 March). Most newcomers find that they do need to file a return during their first year in the country. Tax is a complex issue, and there may be other reasons that you would have to file a return (e.g. buying a house or starting a business) so visit the Inland Revenue website to find out more.

Newcomers may want to do a little research about the banking system too before they arrive, to find a bank that ‘fits’ their needs. The five major banks in New Zealand are Kiwibank, ANZ, ASB, BNZ, and Westpac. There are also a range of smaller banks that can also provide competitive rates and services. Many of the banks have specialised services for new migrants, which can be helpful if the system is quite different from the home country. Banks recommend that newcomers set up a bank account before arriving in the country, so they can start their new life with a head start. Find out more about New Zealand’s banking system here.

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.

Employment opportunities remain strong in NZ

NZ Statistics data for the June 2018 quarter reflects an economy that remains buoyant nationally, with some regional variations.

Generally speaking, opportunity is still strong throughout New Zealand for candidates of all skill sets, from basic labouring roles through to more professional roles.

We are still experiencing strong demand for “mid skilled” trade related roles, predominantly for the construction sector where demand continues to exceeded supply.

Industry and occupation

 In the June 2018 quarter, 29,000 (1.4 percent) more people were working full time and 9,000 (1.5 percent) fewer were working part time.

Annually, 29,700 (unadjusted) more people were employed as professionals. The largest increases within this occupation came from registered nurses, accountants, and university lecturers and tutors..

Annually, employment increased in the following industries:

  • Healthcare and social assistance, up 26,200 (10.5 percent).
  • Professional, scientific, technical, administrative, and support services, up 23,800 (7.5 percent).

This resulted in 23,100 more jobs, to reach a total of number of job in New Zealand 1,961,000.

The key industries contributing to this growth were:

    • Education and training, up 11,200 (7.4 percent).
    • Retail trade, up 9,800 (5.0 percent).
    • Professional, scientific, technical, administrative, and support services, up 9,200 (3.2 percent).

Employment and the labour force

The employment rate was unchanged in the June 2018 quarter, at 67.7 percent, as employment kept pace with growth in the working-age population.

In the latest quarter, employment rose 0.5 percent, the majority coming from more women (up 1.1 percent) than men (no change) gaining employment.

Annually, employment increased 3.7 percent, which was also driven by women (up 4.5 percent) when compared with men (up 2.9 percent).

There may be more to life than money, but it’s one of the greatest incentives when it comes to attracting top talent. Enterprise Recruitment is a full range agency with a nationwide presence throughout New Zealand. We offer complimentary insight into any candidate’s employment prospects.

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.


Business sentiment dips but labour market remains strong

New Zealand holds a general election every three years and unlike Australia snap elections are rare and changing leaders through anything other than amicable processes equally unusual. A year ago nine years of rule by the marginally right-wing National Party ended and the marginally left-wing Labour Party took over in coalition with the anti-immigration NZ First Party with support from the left-wing Green Party.

In August 2017 opinion polls started to show that a change in government might occur and business sentiment started to decline. It went from a reading in one monthly survey of +18% that month to -39% by the end of the year which is largely where it sits now though with a brief fall to -50% two months ago.

It is not unusual for business sentiment to sour when Labour are in government and on average this measure is 40% lower than when National hold the Treasury benches. Is depressed sentiment justified? Not based on the historical record. When National ruled from 2008-17 the economy grew on average by 2.5% per annum and job numbers grew 1.6% per annum. When Labour ruled from 1999-2008 the economy grew 3.5% per annum on average and job numbers rose 2.5% a year.

So one cannot say that Labour are bad for the economy. However businesses currently in New Zealand are facing some deep challenges and their concern about the environment they face seems to have manifested as discontent with the new government. One of the big challenges is maintaining margins.

Costs generally are rising in areas like property expenses, fuel, local body charges, insurance, and regulations generally. But with consumers these days easily able to look for alternative suppliers when a business raises its prices, the ability to recoup higher costs has substantially diminished. So even in sectors like retailing where consumer spending growth remains strong, businesses are struggling and closing at a fairly steady pace.

Another big problem is the accelerating speed of change in the operating environment facing most businesses. The technological revolution we are living through coupled with globalisation is limiting the time during which products can remain unchanged, delivering new competition all the time, and requiring investment by firms in market research including big data analysis.

Businesses globally are struggling to adjust the nature of their operations to handle these challenges and NZ firms have placed themselves behind the eight ball in their ability to do so through continuing low levels of investment. This low investment is one reason why the level and rate of growth in productivity in New Zealand have long been below the OECD average. And unfortunately just about the only way in which the change in government appears to have led to changes in business decisions is in the area of capital expenditure.

Whereas over a year ago a net 23% of businesses were planning to invest more in one survey, now that reading is a net 9% planning to cut spending. A quarterly survey shows a decline from +17% to +4%. Could these collapses just be soured sentiment? Yes, but the important point to note is that intentions of hiring more people have not plummeted to the same degree.

The monthly survey shows employment intentions falling from +17% to -1% and the quarterly survey from +19% to +13%.

The greater than usual decline in business sentiment in response to the shift to a Labour government has greatly diminished business willingness to invest but only just dented, on average, willingness (need) to hire people. So it is unsurprising that New Zealand’s labour market remains very tight and opportunities for potential employees whether already here or located offshore remain strong.

Of course the issue which I as an economist spend a lot of time trying to get across to business audiences is that much as they think they can easily grow by hiring more people they have two problems. The first is under-investment already noted. The second is that labour markets offshore are also extremely tight and potential migrants may have to be enticed with greater incentives than in the past.

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


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