Well January is almost gone, and this month I have been helping a lot of people get work visas.
Getting a work visa is an essential step along the pathway towards residency and it can be damaging to get a decline decision.
At Visa Feliz we promote the Educate ⇒ Migrate pathway which is the safest path to work and then residency. However, for those people who do not have a university qualification and still want to migrate to New Zealand, the best pathway is by getting an “Essential Skills” work visa.
Essential Skills are any job which is skilled employment where there is a shortage of available labour.
The important principle to remember is that you cannot get an Essential Skills work visa unless you can prove that there are no New Zealand residents or citizens who can take the job or be trained for the job.
The burden of proof for this in on YOU, and you will need the help of your future employer to give you the evidence to prove to Immigration New Zealand that there are no New Zealand residents or citizens who could be employed instead of you. This is called the Labour Market Test.
Labour Market Test
Your future employer needs to do a number of things to satisfy the Labour Market Test:
- Advertise the job
- Complete an INZ1113 Employer Supplementary Form
- Provide you with a Job Offer
- Provide you with a Job Description
- Provide you with an Employment Contract
- If the job is an ANZSCO (more about this below) skill level 4 or 5, provide a Skills Match Report from WINZ.
Describing the Job
It is critical that the job is described properly. Immigration New Zealand use a description of jobs produced jointly by the Australian and New Zealand statistics departments called ANZSCO. ANZSCO is a list of over 1,000 jobs with each allocated a unique number according to skill level and industry grouping.
For example the occupation Surgeon is a skill level 1 (the highest) and has an ANZSCO code of 25311. However, if you are a Urologist, your occupation code is 253518.
Choosing a job description that matches the right ANZSCO Code is critical to the success of your visa application. The wrong choice could result in you being under-qualified for the position and your application being declined.
An advertising campaign must run for at least 3 weeks. Your future employer must consider any applicants who are New Zealand citizens or residents and, if they are suitable hire them.
If your future employer decides to employ a New Zealand citizen or resident and employ you also this is a good thing. It proves that he has tested the Labour Market and employed an available New Zealand citizen or resident.
Immigration New Zealand will need to see evidence of the advertising campaign and its outcomes as part of your application.
WINZ stands for Work & Income New Zealand. WINZ is the government department that looks after the payment of unemployment benefits in New Zealand. They maintain a register of New Zealand citizens and residents who are available to fill jobs.
If the job you have been offered is low-skilled, which means at ANZSCO skill level of 4 or 5, then your future employer must also advertise the job with WINZ. He must also consider any applicants that WINZ refer to him and have a good reason why they are not suitable for the position.
Once the job has been listed with WINZ for a while the employer should request a Skills Match Report. This is a report from WINZ that states whether or not there are any New Zealand residents or citizens on their database who could fill the position or be trained for the position.
Immigration New Zealand will decline any Essential Skills work visa application that is submitted for an ANZSCO level 4 or 5 occupation without a Skills Match report that confirms there are no New Zealand citizens of residents on the WINZ database who could fill the position or be trained for the position.
There is one important exception to the WINZ Skills Match Report requirement for ANZSCO level 4 or 5 occupations, and that is for positions in the Queenstown Lakes District.
WINZ and Immigration New Zealand recognise that there is an acute shortage of low-skilled labour in Queenstown, so there is a list of these level 4 or 5 occupations which are exempt from the Skills Match Report requirement.
This makes Queenstown an ideal location for aspiring migrants to get their foot on the first rung of the employment ladder in New Zealand.
The problem with all this paperwork is that most hard-working bosses hate it. Often they see filling out Immigration New Zealand forms and going through the advertising process as a burden that they do not wish to comply with. After all, time is money and they are already forced to fill out government forms for other departments such as the Inland Revenue. They often see this additional requirement as a waste of time and money.
However for you, getting it right is critically important. If your visa is declined because your boss could not be bothered in properly following the process you will permanently have a declined visa on your immigration record. Worse, the lost opportunity to work in New Zealand may mean that you have to leave New Zealand and never realise your dream of becoming a resident.
I have had years of experience dealing with New Zealand businesspeople, so I understand the pressures they are under and the priorities of their day-to-day workload.
For me, the most important part of preparing your work visa is to work alongside your future employer to establish trust, prepare the paperwork and make their job as easy as possible.
No immigration adviser can make an employer comply with the requirements for a work visa application, but understanding their frame of reference is important to winning their confidence and cooperation.