Immigration Newsletter: July

In this edition:

Latest immigration changes you should know about

There have been a few changes and updates in the immigration space over the past few weeks.  While none are ground-breaking, it is nevertheless important for temporary migrants to be across them.

Shift to e-visas

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has announced that all visas (both temporary and resident) will now be issued as ‘e-visas’ rather than as a physical endorsement in an applicant’s passport.  If you hold an e-visa, it is important that you print a copy of it (issued as an electronic PDF A4 piece of paper) and carry it with you whenever travelling to and from New Zealand.  We also recommend that you retain an electronic copy of the e-visa on your phone or email inbox for easy reference if needed.  Physical visa endorsements are still available from INZ (for a fee).

Increase in work visa applications

Figures have recently come out that show a significant increase in the number of work visas being issued.  In the 2017/2018 financial year, 228,000 work visas were approved; an increase of 4000 from the previous financial year.  This is likely to be due to significant changes to both the Skilled Migrant and Essential Skills Work Visa Categories in August 2017.  In particular, fewer migrants are eligible for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC), so are renewing their work visas instead.

Prior to August last year, most applicants in their twenties or thirties with a New Zealand Diploma and skilled-employment would be eligible for residence under the SMC.  Now, these applicants generally require a few years of work experience as well as remuneration of at least $50,523.20 per annum (which can be difficult for newly graduated migrants to achieve) to be eligible for residence.  This has resulted in 10,000 less migrants gaining residence this financial year than the year prior.  Work visa numbers are only likely to increase further with New Zealand’s continued reliance on both skilled and unskilled migrants to meet its immediate economic needs as well as changes to the Essential Skills Work Visa Category last August, which now mean that applicants earning under $20.65 per hour can only be issued  a one-year visa.

The increase in work visas coupled with announcements from the government that they are going to change the labour market testing policy (soon) means some interesting times are ahead, as they find the right balance between making sure Kiwis are given ample opportunity to engage in work, and also make sure access to migrant labour is not overly restricted to smother economic growth.

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

Finding your place in New Zealand

New Zealand is a popular destination for those looking for new employment opportunities, a better work-life balance, or to start a new adventure. The next decision many migrants have to make is where to settle within the country. If there are no family or employment ties to a particular area, it pays to look into things like the climate, job prospects, cost of living, and housing availability – all of which are variable across regions. A great place to start is the New Zealand Now website, where you can compare the different areas to find the best fit for you.

Starting near the top of the country, Auckland is the only truly cosmopolitan city in New Zealand. The harbour city is New Zealand’s largest, with over 1,500,000 residents at last count, and is known as the ‘City of Sails’. Auckland is the commercial hub of the country and most large businesses have head offices here. It is a truly multi-cultural city, with over 180 different ethnic groups. Newcomers love the diversity of lifestyle that this city can offer; the arts, shopping, dining choices, and harbour cruises all add to an exciting mix of big city life in a small country. The less attractive features of Auckland are the long commutes to work, and the high cost of housing in the central city.

Down the road, the Waikato is the agricultural heartland of the North Island. This area is traditionally dairy country and has a thriving thoroughbred horse racing industry. The region is also known for its active and proud Māori culture, and its solid sporting achievements. Hamilton city is less than two hours’ drive from Auckland.

Wellington prides itself on being the ‘coolest little capital in the world’, although to most New Zealanders it better known as ‘the Windy City’. Due to its location at the lower tip of the North Island, the city regularly experiences strong gusts from the wild Cook Strait. Despite this, the city is popular with a young and diverse population, thriving café culture, and arts scene. Wellington is also the bureaucratic heart of New Zealand with most of the government activity centered here.

Canterbury, mid-way down the east coast of the South Island, is one of the most terrain-diverse regions of New Zealand. Christchurch (the second-largest of New Zealand’s cities) is famously English in architecture and heritage. Although much of this heritage was impacted by the earthquakes of 2010-2011, the city is remerging with contemporary architecture and a renewed spirit. Opportunities have grown from the city’s rebuild, and Christchurch is now recognised for its vibrant street art scene, innovative business sector with a focus on sustainability, and a fast-growing tech industry.

Canterbury is renowned for its food-growing industry, green spaces, and love of all sports – in particular the beloved and successful rugby teams. There is a passion for sport in this region that extends beyond the city, and into the small rural areas where young children dream of growing up to become All Blacks or other top sportspeople; and they often do.

Further south, Otago is arguably one of the most scenically-stunning regions, with the population centered largely in the university city of Dunedin and the alpine tourist town of Queenstown. Its sweeping landscape has inspired many New Zealand artists, and attracts those keen on the outdoor lifestyle. While the population is low in this region, the lifestyle choices are high.

If you’re looking for a quieter life, many newcomers find themselves attracted to the warm Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, and Hawke’s Bay in the North Island, and the sunny wine and seafood regions of Nelson and Blenheim at the top of the South Island. Even less populated, but ruggedly beautiful are Northland, the West Coast and Southland.

Wherever you choose to settle, there will be a place to call home in a land full of variety and surprises.

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.

Business confidence, employment growth and job demand

Business confidence

A recent survey has seen business confidence fall to the lowest levels seen since March 2009, in the depths of the Global Financial Crisis.

Unfortunately, we have now seen business confidence in negative territory for nine consecutive months – the longest stretch in more than a decade.

Employment growth

The latest data from SEEK Employment Trends contrasts this survey result showing double-digit growth in job ads.

The positive results were recorded across all major regions. Auckland experienced a 5.2% lift, while Wellington grew by 16.4% and Canterbury was up by 3.6%.

Industries leading the way

National job ad growth was largely driven by demand across three sectors: Trades & Services, Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics and Hospitality & Tourism.

These industries accounted for 39% of New Zealand’s year-on-year growth rate.

New Zealand’s burgeoning tourism industry was also a strong source of opportunities.  Job ads for Hospitality & Tourism rose by 34% year-on-year and the average advertised salary was $50,836.

The legal industry was another top performer with job ads increasing by 32% compared to the same time last year.

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.

NZ export base continues to evolve

In New Zealand we used to say that the country rode on the sheep’s back. This was in reference to the days when NZ exports mainly consisted of wool (1800s), then sheepmeat (early-1900s), and then the fact that with assistance from subsidies there were over 70 million sheep in 1984.

Much of NZ economic activity in the past revolved around the agricultural sector and migrants coming to New Zealand often entered the farming sector or became tradespeople servicing it. Those days ended a long, long time ago. There are fewer than 28 million sheep now (6 per person versus 22 in 1984). More importantly, the export base is now underpinned by dairying, tourism, forestry, fishing, beef, horticulture, with sheepmeat and wool still there but to much smaller degrees.

The key point to note is that although the export dependence of the NZ economy has shifted, we are still very highly dependent upon exports and those from the primary sector in particular. That is why the possibility of a free trade agreement with the UK post-Brexit is important, why the start of talks with the EU over an FTA is important, why our membership of the CPTPP trade agreement between Pacific countries is important, why the Closer Economic Relationship between NZ and Australia is important, and why NZ is particularly vulnerable to any movement away from a rules-based global trading system.

In that light should we be aggressively concerned about New Zealand’s economic prospects in light of the deepening trade disputes between America and its major trading partners – China, EU, Mexico and Canada?

In one regard yes because the uncertainty being engendered is already causing US companies to pull back on capital spending plans, whilst in China the government has had to reintroduce risky growth stimulating policies to offset the impact of higher tariffs, such as encouraging banks to lend more money.

But apart from the risk facing NZ of slower world growth, which is a risk all countries face, there is one key aspect of the developing trade war which gives us some hope. The driver for the tit-for-tat tariff impositions is not protection of agricultural sectors. That is where our vulnerability principally lies and why the entry of the UK into the EU in 1973 and change in primary product access for NZ was so difficult for our economy to digest.

The US-initiated tariff wars are being driven principally by a desire to try and make the US “great again” by rebuilding the manufacturing sector. The policy is doomed to fail because higher tariffs on crucial inputs will make the US a high-cost country to operate in and encourage many businesses to relocate offshore to service economies with strong growth prospects – Asia principally.

The biggest impact on NZ’s farming sector is likely to be occasional disruption in some markets (lower prices) as agricultural products which might previously have gone to China and the EU get dumped somewhere else on the world market. As yet we have no evidence of this happening for the products of most importance to us, and instead it is mainly minerals prices which are declining in expectation of slower world growth.

There is also an offset for any impact on NZ exporters from the lower NZ dollar likely to follow any deterioration in world growth and rise in world worries which could depress share prices. Having said that there is one interesting thing to keep an eye on. The Chinese authorities appear to be devaluing the Chinese Yuan in order to help reduce the price impact in the US of tariffs on Chinese goods. One means of doing this is relaxing rules on individuals taking funds offshore – rules which were tightened up three years ago.

Higher outflows of funds from China could cause some new demand to appear in Western housing markets. There is some evidence already that this may be happening in Australia and we could see the same thing in New Zealand.

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


A pathway to residence
– A seminar is for Chinese visa holders who are working and/or studying in New Zealand

Date: Thursday 16 August 2018
Time: 4.30pm-6.30pm
Location: Lane Neave, Level 5, 141 Cambridge Terrace, Christchurch
Register: email

Find out more 

Employer Accreditation – What you need to know

Date: Thursday 14 August 2018
Time: 2.30pm-4.00pm
Location: HRINZ head office, Level 1, 11 Chews Lane, Wellington

Date: Tuesday 21 August 2018
Time: 2.30pm-4.00pm
Location: Novotel Lakeside, Marine Parade, Queenstown

Register: email

Find out more

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