Skilled Migrants: Don’t Risk It All – Get Your Chances Right

Quite a number of times we have seen situations where people have been offered a job as IT Technician or similar with an employer who runs a hotel, sometimes a chain of them. This can make for a decent work visa application but using the same job for Skilled Migrant Residence is something quite different.

For Skilled Migrant Residence Immigration has always done pretty thorough background verification on jobs for their ‘skilled’ assessment – and it’s using anything and everything at its disposal, even Google Maps. For certain occupations this assessment revolves around some hard and fast definitions.

Complications can arise where a person is not doing the claimed skilled job 95% of their time. This can happen when the employer has the person doing other, ancillary duties and doubts can be raised in INZ’s mind about what the person is really doing. We wrote about this before here.

Take a typical example we see over and over – an IT Technician at a Hotel or hospitality joint. After a long list of technical duties, the Job Description invariably has a catch-all task at the bottom, for the benefit of the employer: ‘Such tasks as reasonably directed by the Manager’, or similar. And this is the problem.

INZ may well turn up at the employer’s offices to see what’s going on. After this assessment of the job we sometimes we get asked to reply to a letter from Immigration contesting exactly what the person is doing against the list of tasks stipulated by the ANZSCO, aka Australian & New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations. Letters very often say to the effect that the applicant appears to be doing other duties not related to their field, say reception duties or administrative work when things are quiet, or when the IT systems are working fine.

Often the employer is forced to admit damning information in the employer questionnaire which is difficult to reverse later down the track at PPI stage. The damage has already been done. The real no-no for employees is to end up performing lesser-skilled duties not connected with their skilled background or qualification. An example is Hotel Managers or Hotel Service Mangers doing the graveyard shift and really doing very little in the way of management.

So if you are looking ahead to Skilled Residence with assistance from your current employer, then at least be reasonably sure you have good prospects. Has the job got potential? Perhaps there is room for a senior promotion. It might be too soon to apply. Maybe you need to find a ‘bigger’ employer before you embark on Residence at all.

It doesn’t hurt to get assistance from a licenced advisor or lawyer to assess what your next move should be. Taking the first job offer that comes up or persisting with your current job might not work out in the end. Be reminded that Skilled Migrant Residence is a serious application so be confident you can succeed.

Putting just one foot wrong can jeopardise it all.

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About samuelames

Staff Solicitor at Laurent Law
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