Immigration Newsletter: August

In this edition:

Interim visa policy changes

Interim visas are granted to visa applicants in New Zealand, in cases where their request for a further temporary visa has not been decided by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) by the time their underlying visa has expired.  They are issued for a period of 6 months and are valid until a decision is made on the new visa application.

INZ has announced that from Monday 27 August 2018, the currency of interim visas has been amended slightly.  In the event that a visa application is withdraw or declined instead of the interim visa expiring the day of that decision (rendering the holder illegally present the day after), they will now only expire 21 days after the further temporary visa application is declined or withdrawn.

This amendment will undoubtedly be welcomed by visa applicants as the current position, almost without exception, results in an individual becoming unlawful in New Zealand the day after INZ declines their application for a further temporary visa as it is almost practically impossible to make arrangements to depart from New Zealand within a day of receiving a negative decision from INZ.

The additional 21 days will allow interim visa holders to make arrangements to depart New Zealand (if they choose not to challenge the decision) whilst still having a lawful status which, in turn, should enable less troublesome visas applications to be submitted from offshore in future.

For those interim visa holders with valid work rights, they will also be able to continue working for the 21 day period which should allow a more orderly hand-over of workplace responsibilities and in so doing, help preserve a favourable relationship with their employers, and with that, will allow more time to seek advice about the visa decision and be placed in a position to challenge that decision without an immediate illegal status that prevents work.

It is worth noting that the additional 21 day currency of interim visas may well also effect the timing and/or ability of individuals to request a reconsideration of their declined temporary visa application, to submit an application for a further visa under section 61 of the Immigration Act 2009, or to submit an appeal against their deportation to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal.  We recommend that individuals who find themselves in such circumstances make contact with the Immigration team at Lane Neave for guidance by calling 0800 802 800.

For further information or assistance with emigration please contact Lane Neave Lawyers on + 64 3 379 3720 or email

Social practices – the unwritten rules of life in New Zealand

Successfully fitting into a new country requires some understanding of those unwritten rules that shape society and allow for harmonious living. Unfortunately, most newcomers are not issued with a handbook of these rules on arrival and can find themselves confused or side swiped by unexpected behaviour and attitudes in the workplace and out in the community. Understanding a little more about these practices, and why they exist, can help add to a successful settlement experience.

Neighbourly and community support is a core part of New Zealand social behaviour. This is based on the history of a nation built on a pioneering spirit. New settlers quickly found that supporting each other through tough times in a country far from home was essential to survival. It is also a fundamental value of Māori culture; He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata – What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people. The visible signs of support include neighbourhood support groups and community clubs. Many newcomers join these groups as a way of meeting new people and learning more about what makes New Zealanders tick.

New Zealanders are famously friendly and welcoming but can be more difficult to get to know on a personal level. Newcomers sometimes find that it takes a bit of effort to break into friendship groups, and they have to be very pro-active (without being overbearing) when seeking to join in. Conversations can be started easily but, as Kiwis can be quite private people, there are topics to avoid. Subjects to steer clear of (which are also commonly avoided in many other nations) include: salary and money, weight, marital and family status, religion, and politics. This is obviously dependent on the situation, workplace, and depth of friendship. Small talk is an essential skill, however, to master in the workplace and in new social situations. As with the British, the weather is a dominant topic for small talk among Kiwis. Other popular topics are sport, traffic, TV shows, family (if not too personal), and plans for the weekend.

There are also some social rules and customs in society that are influenced by Māori culture and may not be immediately obvious to newcomers. These can be especially important, and more visible, if working in the public sector. One of the most important among these is not sitting on tables. This is seen as unhygienic and is linked to Māori beliefs about the tapu (scared) nature of bodily wastes and the need to keep them separate from food. To avoid any cultural gaffes, it is a good idea for newcomers to take some time to learn about Māori tikanga (customary practices).

A final few unwritten rules that will help with fitting in include:

    • The ‘Kiwi handshake’ is a useful skill to master; delivered firmly and confidently with eye contact and a smile.
    • New Zealanders like their personal space so standing too close when talking can be considered inappropriate, even threatening!
    • Boasting or bragging is not particularly welcomed – this is a part of our egalitarian nature where we don’t like people to stand out above the crowd.

  • Rugby is taken seriously, and although there is now a more balanced perspective on this than in the past, expect to endure a period of national mourning if the All Blacks don’t win the World Cup.

Article provided by Lisa Burdes – SkillsConnect Canterbury Business Advisor at the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber offers migrant employment assistance, and support to employers of migrants in Canterbury. This service is fully funded by Immigration New Zealand (INZ). If you have questions about living and working in New Zealand, you can visit, email your query to or ring the INZ Contact Centre on +64 9 914 4100.

NZ’s highest paying industries

Salary data shows construction is now the highest paying industry in the country, with an average advertised salary of around $101,600 a year. That’s a 20.5% growth rate since 2013.You’ll also find the big bucks in Consulting & Strategy, Information & Communication Technology (ICT) and Mining, Resources & Energy, although mining is one of the few industries where advertised salaries are in decline. Five years ago average mining salaries were over $108,000 a year, now they’re averaging $92,300. If you’re more interested in where salaries are rising the most, look to what a growing population needs – more housing, shopping centres, food and public services. Like construction, people working in Design & Architecture have fared very well. In fact, this industry reported the highest average salary increase, having gone up 28.65 in five years. Community Services & Development salaries have climbed more than 15%, Farming, Animals & Conservation is up almost 14%, while Administration & Office Support (13%), Education & Training (12.9%), Trades & Services (11.7%) and Retail & Consumer Products (10.9%) are also strong salary performers.

Industries to watch.

Although retail has to contend with increased competition from the internet and off-shore buying, Senior economist Doug Steel says rising real wages across the economy and strong growth in population and tourism have underpinned a solid retail sector. He identifies ICT as one of the nation’s strongest performers, and one forecast to continue to do well in the years ahead, along with tourism and hospitality. Service industries are another one to watch says Steel. There is a strong undercurrent to a lot of activity happening here. When population is increased, there is a general trend towards more service-based industry.

Building a nation.

Significant government infrastructure spending in response to the population boom, and the rebuild of earthquake-devastated Christchurch, has helped push up construction salaries. It is now the highest paid industry, up from fifth spot in 2013. New Zealand has never been so competitive in terms of the opportunities for those in construction. What makes this particular building boom stand out is it’s not limited to particular regions – the whole country is a hive of activity from Queenstown to Tauranga, Auckland to Dunedin. All through the Global Financial Crisis New Zealand’s population figures were tracking upwards, yet no one was spending money to improve infrastructure or on large commercial projects because there was so much risk in the market. People just put their hands in their pockets and didn’t build anything and now the country is playing catch up. Companies have to be more innovative on what they are offering employees and how they’re attracting them. They’re having to give more flexibility to people and build a stronger culture – it’s not just about money and work anymore. If they’re short on resources a company might be driven towards more technology and new practices that are less labour intensive. Less people on site means a safer work environment and more cost effective projects, so there are lots of gains to be had by thinking innovatively.

Article provided by Steve Baker – Enterprise Recruitment and People.

Enterprise Recruitment and People has a national presence. We remain interested in providing obligation free advice to offshore candidate’s about their chances of securing employment in New Zealand. Steve can be contacted on or 00 64 3 3530680.

How does NZ facilitate the arrival of the more skilled migrants?

There is never a universal view in any country that immigration is a positive thing. There are always some people who feel that migrants are a burden on existing infrastructure and support systems whilst taking jobs, and others feel they bring too much change in society away from what people have become used to.

Supporters of immigration will counter these sentiments sometimes with knee-jerk accusations of racism which are often over-played, and will point to the economic stimulus which migrants bring. The extent of that stimulus however has proved impossible to calculate around the world because separating out over time the economic impact of migrants versus indigenes is exceedingly difficult. A three year study in New Zealand is attempting to do that and we all look forward to the results.

The problem however with any economic study of migrants is that it will focus on measurable things like use of welfare benefits, taxes paid, jobs displaced and those created, investment money brought in (bringing a higher exchange rate which hits exporters) and so on. These sorts of measures may have been relevant in the old days and clearly the view that they added up to something positive has helped shape immigration policies in the Western world over the past few decades.

But the greatest benefit which immigration may bring could have changed. We are living through a technological revolution, much like the industrial revolution of two centuries ago. New products, processes, distribution systems, ways of working etc. are being developed and implemented at a pace never seen before. Business models are being massively disrupted (Netflix, Uber, Spotify etc.) and business projections made in both operational and strategic plans made inaccurate very quickly.

Predictability has gone out the window for many of us, including in the economics profession. It looks like new searching technology is helping suppress inflation which would normally come from recent strong growth. We consumers baulk at price rises these days and cheaply go online to find alternatives.

The relevance to our discussion here is that these days both economic and business growth come more and more from rapid change. Promoting that rapid change is best undertaken by free-thinking people from diversified backgrounds sharing and quickly dismissing or implementing ideas in a dynamic environment.

Almost by definition immigrants come from different backgrounds with different points of view from the locals therefore their contribution to change can be a valuable one.

The trouble however is this. I spoke at an immigration conference recently in Auckland and was asked what policy changes politicians could make to improve things. I took speakers’ prerogative and avoided answering the question by framing things this way.

Almost all of the 200-300 people in the room would be dealing with generally higher skilled migrants and those bringing in investment funds. But in the minds of the public to which politicians need to sell their policies immigrants are people who serve them at the corner dairy or drive them in an Uber taxi.

I told the audience that if they want policies which will facilitate the arrival of the more skilled migrants they deal with then they need to work toward changing the popular image of immigrants. They need to highlight the scientists, the engineers, the much needed builders and electricians, nurses, teachers, police and so on.

Thankfully the current centre-left government in New Zealand seems to have listened to the concerns of many businesses and has pulled back on earlier promises to slash inflows 30,000 or cut overall net inflows from 72,000 to just 10,000. But there remains work to be done to show Kiwis that migrants are more than just students studying literally anything so they can work here.

Article provided by Tony Alexander – Chief Economist, Strategy & Business Performance, BNZ. 

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