Immigration FAQs...

These are some of the most common questions we get when people call or come in for a first consultation.  Our answers may save you some time - and money..

   I got a Level 5, 6 or 7 (Post Graduate) Diploma in IT in the last two years and I have a Post-Study Work Visa (open). I want to get another work visa

   A relative in my family has a temporary visa to be in New Zealand, they have a qualification that is on the jobs shortage list and want to work in New Zealand...
   I have a work visa for a specific job which is stated on my visa, but my employer can no longer pay me and has stopped giving me a job
   I have a work visa which I got through my partner but now we have broken up.  Is there anything I need to do?
   My Skilled Migrant Residence application was recently declined but Immigration New Zealand has given me a Work-to-Residence (WTR) work visa. What does this mean?
   I want my children to attend a New Zealand school and I wish to be with them in New Zealand
   I have been issued a Deportation Liability Notice but I want to stay in New Zealand
   I have just had a section 61 visa application declined. What do I do next?
   I work as a manager at a franchise business. Will I still be able to apply for residence as a Skilled Migrant?
  My partner lives overseas and I want them to come live with me in New Zealand. Can I sponsor them for a visa? 
   My application has been declined. Should I go to the Minister of Immigration?
   I have a business qualification at level 4 and have been working for two years as an accounts administrator. My employer says the position is skilled but my residence application was declined. why?
  I would like to open a small business in New Zealand such as a petrol station or fast-food restaurant.

 

   I got a Level 5, 6 or 7 (Post Graduate) Diploma in IT in the last two years and I have a Post-Study Work Visa (Open). I want to get another work visa
 

You must find a job that directly uses the skills you have learnt in your qualification.  If you are working in IT customer service you must be managing other staff and controlling most of the business by making most of the decisions.  A job in Burger King or a service station will lead you nowhere.  It is also not a good idea to take a job where you do some IT work only some of the time, and you are serving customers or pumping gas for the rest of the time.

 If you find a job which uses and builds your IT knowledge and your employer is willing to sponsor you then you can apply for a Post-study work visa (employer assisted) for up to 2 years.  This could give you the time to apply for Skilled Migrant Residence.  However, not all jobs which get you work experience will be suitable for Skilled Migrant Residence.  If necessary, you can use the "work experience" job as a stepping stone while you find a more high-powered job.

   A relative in my family has a temporary visa to be in New Zealand, they have an overseas qualification that is on the jobs shortage list and want to work in New Zealand
 
Our best advice is they must get a job offer that is closely related to substantially uses the skills that they got from their qualification.  Some listed jobs require prior work experience as well before someone can take advantage of the Shortage Lists.  The rules around this can be tricky and we may need to give advice on this.
 
In the meantime they should get a pre-assessment of their qualification by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). This can be done online here.
 
   I have a work visa for a specific job which is stated on my visa, but my employer can no longer pay me and has stopped giving me a job
 
You may be eligible for a Working Holiday Visa.  If you are a citizen of the UK, America, most European countries or some Asian countries then this could be a good option to work in New Zealand for a while.  Notable exceptions include India, Russia, Sri Lanka and the Pacific Islands.
 
The length of Working Holiday visas depends on which country you are from - check the publicly available information here.
 
If instead you wish to change to a similar job for a new employer you can try for a Variation of Conditions of your Work Visa.  This route is only worthwhile if you have at least six months left on your current work visa.  Otherwise you have to do a new Work Visa application.
 
If you are in a partnership with a New Zealand citizen or resident and you can prove you have been living together for at least three months, you have a good basis to make a Work Visa application based on your partnership.  This would allow you to work for any employer in any job for one year.
 
N.B. Before moving on from a previous employer, make sure your employer pays you your holiday pay which you should be entitled to under your Employment Agreement.
 
   I have a work visa which I got through my partner but now we have broken up.  Is there anything I need to do?
 
You should tell Immigration New Zealand as soon as you can that you are no longer with your partner.  If you leave it too long, INZ could accuse you of breaching your visa conditions, because you are expected to tell them if your circumstances change.  This could make it very difficult to get any future visa.
 
At the same time it is best to apply for a new work visa based on your job, or investigate the Working Holiday Scheme (see above).
 
   My Skilled Migrant Residence application was recently declined but Immigration New Zealand has given me a Work-to-Residence (WTR) work visa. What does this mean?
 
This means you must get a job offer that ties in to your qualification. By giving you a WTR visa Immigration has agreed that you have the potential to get into ‘skilled employment’ and is giving you another chance to have a new application considered with a job offer.
 
You should send evidence of your new offer of skilled employment to INZ within the term of your WTR visa which is 9 months.  You must pay the Skilled Migrant Residence Immigration fee again.
 
   I want my children to attend a New Zealand school and I wish to be with them in New Zealand

You can apply for a visitor visa as a parent or guardian of your children in order to care for them.

This may allow you to work part time from 9.30am – 2.30pm as well, though you would have to apply for a variation of conditions of your visa to enable this. Otherwise, you will have to show that you have at least $1000 a month to cover any expenses during your stay.

For a student visa, you must have an offer of place at a New Zealand school and pay international student fees.
 
   I have been issued a Deportation Liability Notice but I want to stay in New Zealand
 
This depends on your situation, and what the Notice says. If you currently have a visa you have 14 days to prove to Immigration New Zealand that you have good reason not to be deported from New Zealand. There must be some substantial reason in order to succeed here. If you have a young child born to a New Zealand citizen mother, this could be one reason in your favour.
 
If INZ says you are still liable for deportation, you have a second right of appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal. This can only be based on humanitarian grounds. Your situation must be exceptional to succeed. This usually means desperate.
 
Our advice is often that you should leave New Zealand. You can then apply like everybody else to re-enter New Zealand. You should get professional assistance to apply to come back.
 
If you don’t have a visa you should probably leave New Zealand. We suggest no later than three weeks. We can manage your departure so you avoid the risk of getting into trouble at the border.
 
Your appeal options are very limited. You can appeal against what has happened in your case only if it is deemed you obtained a visa under a false identify. You may appeal on humanitarian grounds.
 
   I have just had a section 61 visa application declined. What do I do next?
 
A section 61 is a request for a visa outside of Immigration policy. INZ can decide the case in any way it wants to. If it decides to get involved INZ doesn’t need to give a reason.
 
Answering your question depends largely on your past applications with INZ and the surrounding circumstances. Unless you can point to a specific reason why you don’t have a visa and why you should now have a visa, you are much better off to leave New Zealand and then apply to return. As bad as it sounds, the sooner you leave the better.
 

If you have a child born to a New Zealand resident or citizen this can be one factor in your favour but just that does not mean applying for a visa again will work. Where INZ has made a mistake that disadvantaged you and which was against their procedures, then there may be good grounds for filing another request. 
 

   I work as a manager at a franchise business. Will I still be able to apply for residence as a Skilled Migrant?
 It is not impossible, but it is very unlikely that an application for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category as the manager of a franchise business would be approved.

INZ looks very critically at applications under the Skilled Migrant Category from store managers of franchise businesses. As part of the assessment of whether your employment is skilled, INZ will look to see what authority you have to organise and control the operations of the business.

Because franchises often act under the authority of a head office, which determines prices, suppliers, branding and marketing, along with a whole range of business operations, INZ may view your employment as not being skilled. This is because the authority to make decisions on all of these aspects of the business lies with the head office, not with you.

You would need to show that the bulk of authority for planning, policy development and decision making in the individual store or restaurant lies with you, not with head office.

   My partner lives overseas and I want them to come live with me in New Zealand. Can I sponsor them for a visa?

It depends on what evidence you can show that you are living together in a genuine and stable relationship. Depending on how long you have spent actually living together and what efforts you have made to be together during your separation, there is a chance that you may be able to successfully sponsor them for a visa.

Any time that you have spent living together in the same house would be useful to show that you are in a genuine and stable relationship. If you have never met your partner in person, other than online, generally there are not great prospects of obtaining a visa unless you are able and willing to spend sufficient time to develop a relationship outside NZ.

If you are serious about your relationship and would like to marry, it is possible to obtain a visitor visa for the purpose of getting married in New Zealand. It is also possible to sponsor your partner for an open work visa, though how long the visa will be granted for depends on how long you have been living together.

Your partner will also need to show that he/she has incentive and ability to return to the home country, if the relationship does not work out.

In order to obtain a resident visa, you and your partner have to have been living together for at least 12 months.

   My application has been declined. Should I go to the Minister of Immigration?

In general, the answer is no. The chances of successfully obtaining intervention from the Minister are slim to none. There are only a select number of instances where it should be considered to go to the Minister for intervention, which would require advice on whether to proceed.

Seeking intervention from the Minister should be the last resort and only be pursued if there is no other process available.  Any chance of obtaining intervention for a special direction must rely on identifying exceptional circumstances and not simply because your application or appeal has been declined.

    I have a business qualification at level 4 and have been working for two years as an accounts administrator.  My employer says the position is skilled, but my residence application was declined. Why?

Most people do not understand that for SMC purposes, ‘skilled’ is defined by INZ as meeting the criteria identified in ANZSCO for the position.  Nor is the difference between the requirements of a position for a work visa and residence widely understood.


Skilled Migrant Category (SMC)

SMC in most situations requires an offer of ‘skilled’ employment to be as identified in ANZSCO.  Skill levels 1 and 2, and some skill level 3 positions are recognised a ‘skilled’ by INZ. Skill levels 4 and 5 are deemed to be not skilled and will not qualify for residence.  Further, INZ has identified that many retail and restaurant manager positions (see above) do not meet ‘skilled’ criteria.

 Work Visa / Resident Visa conflict

Work visas are granted because an employer is unable to obtain NZ employees who meet the needs of the position. Resident visas are granted because the applicant has skills which are considered to be of value to NZ. The different reasons for the two categories means that a position for which a work visa has been granted, may not necessarily qualify for points for residence under SMC.

   I would like to open a small business in New Zealand such as a petrol station or fast-food restaurant.
 The relevant category for people wanting to come to NZ and get residence through operating a business is the Entrepreneur Work Visa category (EWV). This is arguably the most difficult and complex category for immigration to NZ.  Unless the business has the potential to provide substantial benefits to NZ, such as the employment of NZ staff, introduction of new skills or products, or the export of NZ products or skills, it is unlikely to be successful.

NZ is well served by retail businesses and the types of business you are suggesting are unlikely to be acceptable under EWV category unless they can be shown to have unique and substantial benefits to NZ