Many employers will be aware of the recent significant delays at the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) end when it comes to processing job checks. Unfortunately, that is the likely reality for the foreseeable future. However, here are our top five tips for employers to ensure your job check is decision-ready and can be processed as quickly as possible once it gets in front of an Immigration Officer.
- Start early! – If the position you are recruiting for requires labour market testing and advertising, our suggestion is to start early. In fact, we recommend (where possible) beginning the process about 3-4 months prior to when you intend to have your prospective employee commence the role.
- Take stock of your workforce – Businesses must keep up with the changing immigration landscape. This means understanding who is on your payroll, what the nature of their visa status is, what unique work conditions their visas may have and when their visas expire. Having this information will, at the very least, help you plan ahead and evaluate your needs with your existing workforce so that upcoming job check needs can be addressed nice and early.
- Check your paperwork – We cannot emphasise this enough! Providing the right documentation at the time of lodgment will make the processing time faster. Nothing is worse than submitting an application, waiting 25 days for it to be assessed, only for INZ to come back and tell you that your advertising does not meet the requirements! By way of a couple of examples ensure you double check that your employment agreements are aligned with the current employment legislation and AEWV requirements and that your advertising is valid and meets INZ’s policy requirements.
- Be prepared for what “more” you may be asked to provide – Outside of stock-standard documents that most job check applications require, it is not uncommon for INZ to ask for further information if it helps them with their assessment. INZ may request things like organizational charts, details on your migrant settlement support and contracts for ongoing work. By this point, most employers are already accredited and may have already recruited individuals on Accredited Employer Work Visas (AEWV), therefore, INZ would expect that by now, you would have migrant settlement support information in place. INZ is within its ambit to request this information so being well prepared and having this information readily available if requested will help speed up the process.
- Do not rely on the escalation process – If you did not already know this, there is an escalation process in place for Job Check applications. INZ processes around 80,000 visa applications across all categories each month and they receive a high volume of escalation requests each week. Applications for escalation are selected where there are compelling personal circumstances, humanitarian factors, or matters of national interest. Given the volume of work and urgent requests, only a few can be accepted and so more often than not, escalation requests are refused (even when an applicant’s visa is due to expire!). Going back to top tip number 1 – start early!
Getting expert legal advice together with planning and preparation goes a long way and will pre-empt potential complications for you as an accredited employer and for your prospective employees. Our Team has a wealth of experience in navigating the labyrinth that is the “Job Check” and we are here to help!