LINZ Newsletter: March

In this edition:

Increases to retirement age: impact on residence eligibility

The New Zealand Government announced on 6 March 2017 the intention to begin progressively raising the age of superannuation in 20 years’ time (from 1 July 2037) from 65 to 67.  Increased life expectancy, longer lasting health and sustainability of the superannuation system were cited as reasons for this policy.

Importantly however, on the subject of residents, the Government has also advised that in order to be able to claim superannuation benefits in the future residents will be expected to have been resident in New Zealand for 20 years prior, rather then the current requirement of 10 years.

This is a clear warning signal for all prospective migrants that an adjustment to the maximum age for eligibility under the Skilled Migrant Category (and other employment based work to residence policies) is coming.  It would not be fair or appropriate to have a group of residents contributing to a New Zealand superannuation scheme and not being able to receive that benefit when they reach retirement age.

The current maximum age for securing residence under the SMC is 55, meaning that currently, by the time successful applicants retire at 65, these individuals are eligible for their superannuation. Therefore, with a 20 year adjustment to eligibility, the maximum age to secure residence under the SMC and work to residency policies will be reduced to 45 (like Australia).

If you are or will in the short to medium term be entering the age bracket of 45+ (but less than 56), you may wish to look at securing residence sooner rather than later.  There has been no clear signal as to when this inevitable policy change will be made, but there is a current review of the SMC underway.

Essential skills in demand lists reviewed

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has reviewed and made changes to the Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL) and the Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL).

The annual review has seen particular skills added, removed or moved between the lists, depending on local labour market needs and the need to compete internationally for skilled workers.

Applicants for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) should pay close attention to the LTSSL updates, which will apply to Expressions of Interest (EOI) already made. For those already in the SMC Pool, this will involve checking that they remain eligible for the points claimed in their EOI. Only those already selected from the Pool or holding an Invitation to Apply (ITA) prior to 27 February 2017, will be unaffected by the updates.

The following occupations have been removed from the LTSSL:

  • Registered Nurse (Aged Care) (note – moved to the ISSL list below)
  • Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency)
  • Registered Nurse (Medical)
  • Registered Nurse (Perioperative)
  • Ship’s Engineer
  • Ship’s Master
  • Ship’s Officer

The occupations of Registered Nurse (Mental Health) and Upholsterer have been removed from the ISSL, although the following occupations have been added:

  • Bricklayer for Auckland/Upper North Island only
  • Cabler (Data and Telecommunications) for all regions
  • Composite Technician for all regions
  • Floor Finisher for Auckland/Upper North Island and Waikato/Bay of Plenty only
  • Registered Nurse (Aged Care)
  • Stonemason for Auckland/Upper North Island only
  • Telecommunications Cable Jointer for all regions
  • Telecommunications Technician (c)

Please note that the removal of occupations from these lists does not necessarily mean you may no longer to qualify for a work visa or residency visa based on that occupation.  Similarly, an occupation on this list does not automatically guarantee that a work or residency visa will be issued.  If you are uncertain seek advice.

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

All on board: supporting partners of migrants to New Zealand

Making the decision to uproot your lives and move far away to settle in a remote island nation at the bottom of the world is a brave one. The move can be seen as a great adventure – bringing a couple or family together – or it can prove a strain on a relationship. There are great opportunities however, for partners of skilled migrants in New Zealand, and the huge majority find the settlement experience a rewarding one.

Emigrating is a financial and emotional risk, and the logistics can be overwhelming. There can be pressures from home – such as the guilt of leaving disappointed elderly parents who may feel left behind and distressed at being separated from their grandchildren. A trailing partner might be leaving behind a good job in his or her home country and this may lead to resentment and frustration. Having honest and open conversations while planning a move is essential. If all involved are on the same page, and willing to be flexible and open to new experiences, it will be a much more positive settlement journey.  Once in New Zealand, there is support for partners of primary work visa applicants to settle into their new community, find employment, and/or explore volunteer opportunities. An excellent way to make new friends in the local area is to be proactive, e.g.  join the school PFA (Parents and Friends’ Association), a local book club, or a residents’ association. Volunteering provides an excellent opportunity to feel part of a community, meet new (like-minded) friends, and generally help out a cause. It can also help build up a curriculum vitae, provide exposure to New Zealand culture, and even lead to paid work down the line. This is a good option for those migrants whose work visa does not specify an employer. There are more tips for partners on settling in on the New Zealand Now website.

A 2013 government report into the outcomes for partners in New Zealand states that “one of the primary reasons given by migrant partners for migrating to New Zealand was for a better future for their children.” There is information available to new migrants about New Zealand’s educational system on the New Zealand Now website, and a tool to find local schools via the Ministry of Education. Schools in New Zealand encourage parents to be actively involved, and if one partner is not currently in full-time work, it can be hugely rewarding to assist with school events and activities.

Partners of skilled migrants can, of course, find employment that matches their skills, qualifications and experience. It is not uncommon however, for a partner of a skilled migrant to find a job that is unrelated to their original career, but nevertheless opens up new opportunities. Recruitment companies, and websites like SEEK and Trade Me Jobs are good places to start looking for a job. Alternatives to these are services like the Connecting Canterbury Employers and Newcomers’ Skills programme in Christchurch. Here, the Migrant Employment Coordinator assesses qualifications, professional experience, and skills, and matches the partner with relevant employers. She also offers advice and guidance with understanding employer expectations, and New Zealand workplace culture and communication. Similar programmes are available in Wellington and Auckland. Other options for finding employment are listed on the New Zealand Now website.

There is no doubt that, while emigrating is exciting and rewarding, it can prove a strain on relationships. If migrants need advice or help with their relationship during the settling in period, there is information available via New Zealand Now. The huge majority of partners find that the settlement journey, while challenging at times, is a positive one. They too arrive as migrants, and are considered just as valuable, and welcomed into their new Kiwi community, as the principal visa applicant.

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

The Chamber offers free settlement support and resources 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.

Skills and Employment Hub extended

Immediately the Christchurch earthquake of 2011, the Canterbury Skills and Employment Hub was set up as a one-stop-shop, to help employers in Canterbury access workers and newly graduating trainees from the Canterbury region and across New Zealand.

The Hub also streamlines the labour market test process for immigration applications where employers cannot find New Zealand staff.

Due to the success of the Hub, the initiative has been extended for a further two years until June 2018. This is seen as a positive for Canterbury and Christchurch based employers, as there remains a great need for skilled and semi skilled staff to ensure the anchor projects, along with more traditional requirements of any modern city, are met.

Infra structural requirements across the country’s regions, especially Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, including Kaikoura post their recent seismic event, are still short of the necessary skills to ensure New Zealand’ s continued development.

Enterprise Recruitment & People offer an obligation free appraisal of foreign candidates chances of securing employment, through out New Zealand. We are always on the look out and search for quality candidates in all fields but most especially:  Information technology – both Software Development and Hardware / Infra Structural Management; Construction Specialists, Civil specialists, including most Trades.

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.

Economic growth leads to more people coming, less leaving

Around the world people are marching in the streets because of their concerns about words used by the new US President Mr Trump. Not marching are the people who voted for him and that strong underlying level of support for his coming policy actions is what tends to be missed by the media.

How is this relevant to our ongoing discussion in this column about migration to New Zealand? Simply that it would be unwise to assume that expressions of concern by people offshore will lead to a huge surge in the number of people, Americans, applying to live in New Zealand – or Australia, or Botswana.

Most Americans do not have passports and their world view is restricted to differences between America’s east and west coasts rather than the country with the rest of the world. On the ground in New Zealand increased hits on migration websites following the November election outcome made for interesting headlines in the media – largely because New Zealand is so small any indication that people elsewhere are thinking about us tends to garner a lot of attention.

But if you are reading this in the UK or some other part of the world, don’t think that your hopes of securing a place in New Zealand have suddenly diminished because a wave of Americans is heading down south. They won’t. However it is likely that New Zealand’s overall net migration numbers will potentially rise and almost certainly stay at high levels throughout 2017. Why?

Kiwis staying in New Zealand. In the year after the official start of the Global Financial Crisis in September 2008 the net migration flow for New Zealand jumped from +4,400 to +17,000. Gross inflows only rose by 1,800. The surge was attributable to Kiwis choosing not to go overseas because of the woe they were witnessing.

Currently it would be wrong to claim that there is woe offshore. In fact economic growth rates and things like measures of retail spending and confidence of businesses and consumers are tracking above expectations in the UK, US, and China. However the perception from New Zealand is that there are some difficult times ahead for parts of the world we have tended to shift to when we want an overseas experience.

In the year ahead the overall net migration flow for New Zealand of just over 70,000 is likely to rise as more Kiwis stay home – while perhaps a few more of the million offshore come back. Given that neither of these flows can be affected by migration policy settings how is this relevant for those contemplating shifting to New Zealand?

First, even with strong net immigration there are not enough people in New Zealand for the jobs on offer, especially with booming conditions in construction and tourism plus rising infrastructure spending. Employment opportunities abound and this is positive for migrants.

However, a general election is likely in November this year, and at the forefront of policy debate will be the pressures in housing markets throughout the country though mainly in Auckland. House construction has not and cannot keep up with demand. Prices have soared and home ownership has moved out of the reach of many young people. A desire to address this issue is likely to lead to deepening debate about immigration policy settings.

Chances are that ahead of the election and almost certainly after it as part of a package to secure a coalition agreement we will see migration rules tightened up. But it pays to note the high strength of labour demand in New Zealand and worsening shortages of skilled workers. If and when the migration policy tightenings occur they are likely to focus on things like higher English speaking requirements, less ability to bring in relatives (already enacted for elderly parents), cutbacks in student working visas, and reduced access all up for those without badly needed skills in areas like health, construction, teaching, engineering, and technology generally.

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

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