A video posted on YouTube recently (in Portuguese) gives people from Brazil tips on how to get into New Zealand to work without applying for a Work Visa.  Anyone who takes this advice is stupid, even if they think that they are clever.

The story was picked up today in a Herald article explaining how the video tells people not to mention that they are coming in to work.  Instead, as Brazil is a “visa free” country, people can get a Visitor’s Visa at the border so long as they can show that they have access to enough money to remain as a tourist (NZ$1000 per person per month).  Learn more about the “visa free” situation here.

In a previous post I warned of the risks of making a misleading declaration on your Arrival Card.  It may be frustrating, but if you really do want to come to work in this country then the safest way is to apply for a Work Visa based on an offer of employment.  Of course, the problem with that is that it can be much harder to find jobs outside New Zealand than if you are on the ground here.  It’s a frustrating situation.

That is understandable, but think about it again.  Like it or not, NZ’s Work Visa policy is set up to protect jobs for local people.  Many jobs are simply not good enough to get you a Work Visa ahead of unemployed New Zealanders.  Even people who are already here and get job offers have a hard time.  So why would you take the risk and spend a lot of money and time to come over with no certainty of (a) finding a job; and (b) getting the Work Visa after all?

Okay, let’s say that you do manage to get in somehow and locate an offer of work.  The biggest risks come up when people arrive as visitors and apply for a Work Visa within a few days or weeks of arrival.  We have seen cases where people have been refused a visa because Immigration concluded that they had lied on their Arrival Card, or to airport staff, about their intentions.  This can easily happen to those who actually never thought of working here before they arrived, but quickly saw an opportunity and decided to take it up.

“Well,” you may say, “I took my chances and I lost.”  Wait, there’s more.  Being refused a visa (and worse, being refused because the authorities thought you had been untruthful) is the sort of thing that you are supposed to declare if you apply for a visa to many other desirable countries.  If you declare it, then your chances of getting a visa there go down dramatically.  If you don’t declare it, and later on they find out – perhaps years later, when you are applying for Residence there – then you can forget about getting any more visas for that country.

Coming to New Zealand to work, maybe to settle and get Residence, is a life-changer.  If you’re serious about it then there are less dangerous ways to go about it.  Yes, they take longer, but anything worth doing is probably worth waiting for.  For instance, there may be a Working Holiday scheme for your country if you are under 30.  Otherwise, there is the so-called “pathway to Residence” by taking up two or more years of study which allows for a “job search” Work Visa afterwards.  See our post on this route.

A lot of Brazilians already get turned away at the border because their intentions are suspect.  If more of them follow the advice of that video I mentioned, Brazil could lose its visa free status altogether.

Annoyingly for some, sovereign states like New Zealand have the right to decide who they want to come here, and how.  The Government’s focus is on skills and money.  If it comes down to skills for jobs, then it is “skills their way”.  Some of us in the industry try to make the playing field more fair and open, but until we bring about change, Government policy is the law.  Deal with it, and learn to work within it – or else play dice with your future.