Law Changes Means Migrants Need to Apply Now

Fijian-born lawyer Farah Khan is a Partner and Notary Public at Khan & Associates Lawyers in Auckland, New Zealand. She is a lawyer dealing with migrant issues. Her contacts are
29 Apr 2017 16:57
Law Changes Means Migrants Need to Apply Now
Devonport-Auckland, New Zealand.

Fijian-born lawyer Farah Khan is a Partner and Notary Public at Khan & Associates Lawyers in Auckland, New Zealand. She is a lawyer dealing with migrant issues. Her contacts are and on Facebook page: FARAH

Major changes to the immigration laws effecting skilled migrants was announced on Wednesday and although the changes are meant to benefit the Kiwi economy it is hard to see how these changes are really going to benefit anyone.


Don’t be late

Are you planning to apply for a Skilled Migrant Visa to move to NZ? Then the only advice I have for you is not to wait as this could be your last opportunity prior to the new changes coming into effect on August 14, 2017.

The change that I foresee having the most effect on migrants will be the added requirement that to qualify for a highly skilled work visa you would need to earn more than $NZ49,000 ($FJ70,810) per annum.

This new change is going to be brutal for those who currently meet the skilled migrant category earning between NZ$30,000 to NZ$40,000 ($FJ43,360-$FJ57,810) per annum. This new change will urge people who are earning less than $NZ49,000 ($FJ70,810) to lodge their applications before August 14 and have their applications assessed under the current policy instructions.

The governments reasoning behind this change is to force employers to employ local Kiwis before looking to recruit migrants for the same or similar jobs. The reality of a small employer being able to afford more than $NZ49,000 ($FJ70,810) per annum as a start of pay packet for a new employee is unrealistic meaning that migrants will find it extremely difficult to find jobs even though their skills are required in New Zealand.


It is not all bad

Like everything, there is a plus side to the changes. The definition of skilled employment is not be expanded to allow some people to obtain residency who have previously been unable to claim points for their employment in New Zealand. People who are currently not considered to be in skilled employment because their job is not in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) skill level 1, 2 or 3 will be able to claim points for their job if they are earning more than $NZ73,300 ($FJ105,930)  per annum. Bonus points will also be awarded for those applicants who earn above $NZ97,718 ($FJ141,222) per annum.


What factors will applicants no longer be able to gain points for?

The three things that applicants will no longer be able to gain points for are qualifications in an area of absolute skills shortage, skilled employment, work experience and qualification in Identified future growth areas and close family support in New Zealand.

These point are ones that many migrants into New Zealand rely heavily on and will making things must harder.

There are also changes with regards to how points will be given to partners of skilled migrants. They will now only be awarded points if they hold a recognised bachelor’s degree or higher, or a recognised post graduate qualification.

The effectively means that who the highly skilled migrant is married to could affect their chances of moving to New Zealand. The only saving grace to all these changes is the assurance that there are no changes to the health, character or English language requirements for people applying under the skilled migrant category.


Looking forward

If the changes are going to affect you or your family its best to get thinking about them now. Its difficult to predict the future however the policy regarding the pay scales of skilled migrants will be assessed on an annual basis and who knows if it really is too hard for migrants to find jobs that pay more than $NZ49,000 ($FJ70,810) per annum then maybe the pay requirements will be lowered as time goes on. Lastly if you do currently meet the criteria then get your application in as soon a possible as I am thinking Immigration New Zealand will soon be flooded with a number of skilled migrants applying prior to the policy changes taking effect.


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