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The 2023 General Election has now been held, the issue for NZ Immigration has always been in the background with people saying why are migrants allowed in, with little thought to the benefits these people bring to the country – the old argument that these migrants take accommodation and place a burden on the infrastructure.

It has been a great pity that the past Government did not recognise the important contributions of temporary foreign workers to the NZ economy who bring skills needed for NZ business and fill the gaps within NZ’s labour market. I make these comments as we are putting unnecessary obstacles in the way.

  1. Partners to principal applicant: Partners to the principal applicant not getting an open work visa due to insufficient qualifications. The Partner cannot apply in their own right so will exist in NZ as a visitor for the same period as their principal applicant partner. This was a change in policy. These partners are the ones that would have handled the part-time work e.g., cleaners, caregivers, and lower-skilled jobs. This is hurting small businesses that cannot get New Zealanders to handle the work, so the options for the business owners work long hours with the prospect of burn-out or closing the business.
  2. Introduction of a job check: The introduction of the job check that was always included as part of the Immigration application. Unless twice the medium wage is offered for the job which then does not need advertising for the position, this is an extra cost of $610 additional to the visa that the business pays for. This requirement appears counterintuitive, especially when media reports frequently highlight skill shortages in various sectors. This really is another revenue-gathering process for the Government.
  3. Accredited Employer Worker Visas (AEWV): With new systems being created for the processing of applications we are not seeing positive impacts on processing times:
    • The processing of applications – accompanying family is processed under the old system.
    • For migrants wanting to travel as families, there are huge processing delays, so the family is split up. The principal applicant is processed with an AEWV in approximately 13 days, but the family which includes a partner and children their visas take approximately 43 days – 30 days difference. Keeping the family together is so important at this stressful time. So, we have the employer anxious to get their new employee, placing pressure on the migrant for getting to NZ and the family is stressing – not a good welcome to NZ!

Issues with the NZ immigration process:

Whilst NZ is trying to work towards mending our worldwide reputation damaged over the last few years, by the encouragement of visitors for tourism, reuniting families, etc. our inadequate online system used for processing Visitor visas and NZ Electronic Travel Authority visas are creating bad publicity. People are being granted online visa through the new automated system. When so many people are being refused entry – 664 foreign nationals between 1 August last and June this year were denied entry onboarding their plane to NZ or on arrival in NZ, we must ask if the system is inadequate or if case officers are not fulfilling their roles effectively. These incidents result in wasted money and, more importantly, tarnish New Zealand’s reputation as a welcoming and hospitable destination.

Importance of relocation support:

The current sad case of Lauren Dickason does bring into question the support the family was given on arrival in New Zealand. From the information that has been shared nowhere does it mention the full handholding relocation support on the ground in New Zealand. Anyone arriving from overseas to a foreign country needs assistance in various degrees. It is extremely stressful to undertake a relocation and with young children even more so. The impact on a family can be huge and in this case devastating. This should have been provided as part of the employer’s relocation package for the family.

New migrant arrivals undergo an intricate process of adjusting to a new environment, dealing with internal shocks, and reshaping their behavior patterns. Relocation is a major transition that includes leaving friends and a lifestyle that had been home, that is why a strong programme must be in place to support these people and not just a “she’ll be right” attitude.

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