With New Zealand’s borders still shut to most countries, added pressure has been put on Immigration New Zealand (INZ) to process both visas for migrants already residing in NZ and those wanting to enter. In response to this, the government has announced a once-in-a generation reset on the immigration system, designed, says Tourism Minister Stuart Nash, to “get ahead of population growth and avoid returning to the pre-COVID status quo”.
The current Immigration Act 2009 only has three provisions relating to emergencies. This is inadequate to deal with the current Covid-19 emergency. A new piece of legislation is being rushed through parliament to respond to visa issues that have arisen due to Covid-19.
There are currently 350,000 temporary visa holders in New Zealand.
The closure of New Zealand borders means the tourism industry, and in particular Queenstown, has been hit hard.
Tourists are no longer allowed to enter New Zealand’s borders. Lack of tourists means lack of work, and tourists who are already here on a working visa are facing job losses.
On 18 December 2018, the Government announced a set of proposed changes to the employer-assisted temporary work visa settings for consultation. The consultation process will close on 18 March 2019.
The days where employers could leave it up to their migrant workers to obtain the appropriate visa from Immigration New Zealand (“INZ”) have ended. Consequences for employers who get it wrong includes losing the ability to hire migrant workers altogether. Below are some common issues we see.