In April Immigration made a small, quiet change to its policy which could be a headache for a lot of people.

Essential Skills Work Visas are the most comoon type of visa based on a job offer.  It used to be fairly straightforward to apply for a Variation of Conditions if you changed employers in the same town (still doing the same job) or got promoted in your present job.  Now, however, you must make a whole new application for Work Visa from scratch.  This means that Immigration can reassess everything – your health, character, whether there are New Zealand workers available for the job . . . everything.

One particularly insidious result of this is that if you had worked for someone in the past without having the right work conditions on your visa, this can all be brought up every time you switch jobs as a “breach of visa conditions”.  Then you have to justify yourself to Immigration all over again as to why it happened.  And this sort of thing happened a lot because people often didn’t realise that they needed to tell Immigration every time something changed about their employment situation.  After all, if I’m working as a welder and get a better offer down the street or out of town, what’s the problem?  As we discovered over the last year, it was really quite a big problem.  We had to rescue a couple of clients from being deported.

To check if you need to apply for a new Work Visa, the test is simple.  Read the Work Visa stamp on your passport.  If the name of the job, the employer or the town where you work does not match what you’re doing now, then put in an application to sort it out.  If you don’t, it could wreck your chances of getting future visas, or even applying for Residence down the track.