Whangamomona!

New Zealand has become a very popular tourist destination of choice in the last few years. You certainly can find everything that a tourist would like here. We have the sandy white beaches and the breathtaking scenery. We have snow and buzzing city life. We have the little gems off the beaten track and we have everything sporty that you can think of. A tourist won’t be disappointed.

As a foreigner myself I truly loved my first time experiences in New Zealand. Later on I could build on those great memories and even go back to the places that I initially visited to rekindle those fond memories.

Whangamomona is such a place. A very recent article about the little gem re-confirmed my love for this fantastical place that just did not move on with time. To get there is an adventure in itself. We travelled to Whangamomona from the Taumarunui side (central North Island). The Forgotten World Highway is a truly isolated part of New Zealand. Although a fairly easy drive to get there it is unforgettable. The rainforest along the way transforms the surroundings into something that feels like it should fit in the Amazon. The gorges create excitement and beautiful scenery that captivates the senses. There is a tunnel and four saddles to traverse along the way. A tourist cannot want anything more. The gravel section of the road will hopefully be sealed soon although it will take some of the old-worldly feel out of the experience.

What mesmerises me most about Whangamomona is the fact that time stood still there. The Whangamomona Hotel is a history lesson in itself with all the photos and stories on the walls. The food is great and you meet fantastic people there. We met a horse trainer who tried to convince us to buy a horse with him. He was an interesting character to say the least. We later ran into him again in Taumarunui. The old-worldly charm is evident everywhere in Whangamonona.

The tabby cat mentioned in the article above truly owns the streets of Whangamomona. He made himself at home on one of the chairs inside the Whangamomona Hotel bar and eatery when we were there. I did not dare ask him to move. He did look friendly but you don’t talk to royalty unless they address you first.

Whangamomona declared itself a republic in 1989 when governance moved from the Taranaki District to the Manawatu/Whanganui District and locals rebelled. The isolation of the Highway and the fact that the inhabitants of Whangamomona made themselves famous with their tongue-in-cheek rebellion makes you want to go there to meet the inhabitants of this famous town. I could not help but notice a sign outside one of the homes in Whangamomona. No females allowed. The message was clear. Perhaps it was a bit tongue-in-cheek. I hope so at least. I felt a bit sorry for the romantic misfortunes of the inhabitant of the home who possibly had his heart broken. I wish I could have met him but I could not knock on his door for a chat. The sign was clear and I was not in the habit of trespassing. He would have been an interesting character I am sure. The Republic has since produced a number of presidents (not all human). Animals seem to be a big favourite for the job. They must be truly special.

There is a lot to see and do in and around Whangamomona. Thrill seekers won’t be disappointed. Walking tracks, places of interest and historical places are plentiful on route. You could still easily imagine yourself experiencing the tranquillity a hundred years ago. The inhabitants of Whangamomona somehow froze time and allowed us a glimpse into a bygone era.

If you plan to travel or move to New Zealand, Whangamomona should be on your top 10 list of places to visit.

 

 

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The Trouble with Visas for Restaurant Managers

Last week, Immigration New Zealand refused a request by the hospitality industry to add Café and Restaurant Managers to its Immediate Shortages List (“ISSL”).  This is despite the claim that most employers have real difficulty in finding people to fill these roles.

Is it about Salaries?

On the other hand, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment asserts that it has hundreds of New Zealanders with the necessary experience to take up the work, and more hospitality management graduates coming through.  It accuses the industry of underpaying these roles.  If food outlets would increase the salaries they offer, this would attract more Kiwis to do the work.

 MBIE claims that the average wage paid for this sort of job is $40K.  A basic search on Seek does not bear this out – many of the jobs on offer are in the band $40 – $70K, and the median is likely to be in the mid-50s.  The Government’s own Careers NZ website cites Assistant Managers as being paid $18 – $21 per hour, while Restaurant Managers proper earn $21 – $34 per hour, or $43 – $71K per year.  Interestingly, its source is the Restaurant Association’s figures, so it begs the question of where MBIE gets its $40K average from.

Why the ISSL?

The reason for trying to get Café and Restaurant Managers onto the Shortage List is that it removes the need for a Labour Market Test in order to hire a migrant on a Work Visa.  As things stand, many applicants are turned down because INZ claims that the employer has not properly advertised the position before offering it to someone from overseas, or that the salary being offered is too low for NZers to accept, so it unfairly cuts local workers out.

It is a long-running bone of contention.  This set of occupations used to be on the ISSL until about 2013.  Then INZ issued an internal Advice to Staff to subject any visa application for a Café or Restaurant Manager to more intense scrutiny than usual.  It amounted to a direction to presume that such cases should be declined.  The justification was, at least in part, that many of the jobs being put forward were inflated, and did not in fact involve the level of managerial skill which the job classification required.  That historical Advice is no longer visible in INZ’s Resource Library, but it reflects a strong bias against this class of job, which continues to this day.

The Way Forward

If our food outlets can’t get good staff through supporting Work Visa applications, then they do have the other option of hiring degree-level graduates of NZ colleges, who get open Work Visas allowing them to work wherever they like for 3 years.  As I have pointed out in a blog post in February, this has the effect of sending workers in this industry out of Immigration’s sight.  While MBIE is rightly concerned about the exploitation of workers in industries such as hospitality, its failure to respond to a call for help from employers will fuel that problem.

Cafés and restaurants form an essential element of New Zealand’s tourist industry.  When they can’t deliver good service because they can’t get the staff they need, then this hits the country in a vulnerable place – its international reputation as a desirable destination.  The evidence on the ground for many years is clear: New Zealanders are not fronting up to do these jobs.  And the jobs are not badly paid, on the whole.  It is therefore time for MBIE policymakers to move some levers to enable employers to readily source the migrant job market.

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Parent Visas – Hurry Up and Wait

Since mid-2018 the Government has made noises about reopening the Parent Residence category from time to time.  The Minister of Immigration at the NZAMI Conference in August 2018 said that his people would be looking at it soon.  Then Immigration New Zealand indicated that an announcement about it would be made “in the first half of 2019”. Just a few days ago, the Minister said that a decision on the policy would be made before the end of his current term in office – that could push it out to late 2020.

Now, at Laurent Law we get to hear about some things before they make the mainstream news, but I have to say that there is not much good news yet.

A Cause for Shame?

From time to time, the media carries accounts of public indignation that Immigration has suspended the policy.  Unfortunately, this has also recently been tied to the generous offer to grant Residence to family members of victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings in March.  In my view the factors influencing the two issues are quite distinct, and the numbers of people affected are very different.

However, the failure to do anything decisive about the Parent route is becoming inexcusable.  Thousands of families have lodged Expressions of Interest for selection over the years – and paid a fee for the privilege.  Since October 2016, none of those EOIs can be selected in order to issue an Invitation to Apply.  However, people can still file EOIs without hindrance.  There is a certain dishonesty in this.  If the intention is, and has been, to keep the category closed indefinitely, there comes a point where Immigration should refuse to accept further EOIs (and thereby clip the ticket along the way).  Alternatively, it should be possible to get a prompt refund on request – at the moment, this is apparently only “under consideration”.  As things stand, visa fee refunds are discretionary and are only available in exceptional circumstances.

I have heard second-hand that Immigration is thinking about closing off the Tier 2 Parent category altogether and giving refunds out.  The Tier 1 category could be reopened with a new set of criteria – those who have a Tier 1 EOI in already but who don’t meet the new rules will be refunded as well (thanks to June Ranson for this intel).  We may not get anything official about this until July, so at the moment it is little better than a rumour.

Possible Solutions

There were several reasons, both official and unofficial, why the policy was suspended.  One was that sponsors did not keep to the undertakings they signed to support their parents for the first 10 years after they arrived in New Zealand.  As a result, the cost fell upon the taxpayer.  Another was that, after the parents had been settled in New Zealand, the children would go to live elsewhere, such as Australia, and leave their parents stranded here with no connections, often very little English, and perhaps languishing in a rest home. A senior Immigration official has disclosed that there is little actual evidence of such abuses, yet the Parent Category remains closed.

I, for one, have never heard of a case in which Immigration attempted to require the sponsor to fulfil their obligations.  For example, meeting those undertakings is a condition of the parent’s Residence Visa.  This means that the parent could be made liable for deportation if their child abandons them.  That’s pretty harsh, but the risk of the parent being thrown out of New Zealand should be a wake-up call to a negligent child.

Another issue has of course been the inevitable cost to the health and care systems of providing for parents as they age.  Australia has recently rolled out a scheme under which parents can apply for visas for a certain term.  This is for temporary visas, and not Residence as such.  While some aspects of the policy may not be palatable, one feature of interest is that applicants must hold suitable health insurance in order to get visas.

The accepted wisdom has been that New Zealand should not create second-class Residents by, for instance, imposing a duty on some of them to pay for their own healthcare.  Once you’re a Resident, you become entitled to all public services just like other Residents and Citizens.  This ignores the fact that we already have sub-classes of Residents for certain periods.  For example, Investors must maintain their funds in New Zealand assets for 3 or 4 years.  Perhaps there is room for making comprehensive health insurance a condition of a Parent Resident visa for, say, 10 years, in order to spread the cost of their health needs.

This is a far from perfect answer.  It could be objected that the greatest demand for health services arises as a person ages, so that a fixed-term insurance does not address the root problem.  What about urgent medical care – will a hospital refuse to admit an accident victim until they’ve seen proof of their insurance?  Thirdly, Residents whose visa conditions have not expired cannot apply for Citizenship – although the same limitation already applies to those who have already got Residence under a 10-year sponsorship condition.

The point is that, while allowing parents to remain in New Zealand for the rest of their lives will cost this country money and resources, there are ways to mitigate that cost.  The other intangible cost that our society already pays is the dislocation of families for years and decades, and the uncertainty of children whose hopes of caring for their parents in this new home have been put on ice.

Where does that factor in the upcoming Wellbeing Budget?

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Why Move to New Zealand?

Being a foreigner in New Zealand affords me the opportunity to see Kiwis from a different perspective. I arrived in this beautiful country 8 years ago and feel like I have lived a lifetime since. I have come to appreciate the beauty of this little paradise at the bottom end of the world. I love the people and the way of life.

As an African by birth and a New Zealander by grant I can highly recommend the lifestyle. Kiwis are down to earth people with good hearts. Their lingo is unique and sometimes a bit strange. This is what makes them special. They say it like it is. I like that. I always know where I stand with them. Kiwis like to strike up a conversation. I have met countless people while tramping, cycling and traveling across the country who want to engage in the friendliest of ways. They talk about the weather a lot because in New Zealand it changes from moment to moment and a sunny day gets the appreciation it deserves. Kiwis look out for others. They are keen to warn about danger situations like slips and black ice and other natural phenomena. Complete strangers look out for the wellbeing of others. I have always felt welcome here.

The beauty that I have seen and experienced can almost not be described in words. I travelled extensively throughout the North and South Island. I really should write a book about the experiences. There are so many memorable moments and certainly too many to mention. A few stand out among them as being exceptionally special.

The South Island is probably my favourite for my own personal reasons. The North Island definitely has a beauty of its own. Aotearoa (The Long White Cloud) is a truly magical place. I am still getting to terms with the pronunciation of some of the names. Whangamomona. Whakatane. Te Anau. Kaikoura.

Aoraki/Mount Cook took my breath away. I could see the weather change in a matter of minutes on the highest slopes. I watched as a thick band of cloud moved over the mountain covering it in a blanket of unsettled turmoil. The noise of the approaching storm made me feel small and insignificant. The howling made me fear and love the experience at the same time. I almost felt like it wasn’t real.

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks looked more like a scene from a science fiction movie than an authentic landscape on the west coast of the South Island. The blowholes sounded eerie. My first awareness upon hearing it was that I could finally hear the voice of the ocean. I was fascinated to try and understand how the rocks came to look like they do.

I have always wanted to travel through space. As a young girl I wanted to become an astronaut and dreamed of seeing the stars, planets and suns in splendid colour. I once again found myself struggling to believe that the thousands of glow worms against the cave walls at Te Anau were real. With no light or noise inside the cave I felt like I was floating through space and looking at those stars that I dreamed of as a child. I felt alone in that instant but so at peace. It was exciting to travel to the cave deeper into the sound via ferry. We left civilisation behind for a short while to get to that remote spot. I was a true explorer.

Queenstown is a bit of a tourist mecca these days but is remains one of my favourite spots. Lake Wakatipu is huge and embraces the town in its belly with open arms. The view from the top of Bob’s Peak is breathless in beauty. The gondola ride up to the peak is no less exhilarating but was a challenge for someone like me who has a serious fear of heights. It was worth the anxiety in the end.

Another favourite of mine is the hills around Taumarunui in the King Country. I spend a lot of time there. I never really want to leave the place. The beautiful green and tranquillity of the surroundings combine for the best stress reliever in the world. I feel at home there. The charm of this little goldmine is unequalled in my mind.

I have only touched the tip of the iceberg. It is almost disappointing to have to stop writing. New Zealand is unlike any other place on earth. It is unique and mesmerising in its presentation. To live here is a truly remarkable gift. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

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NZ Electronic Travel Authority needed from October

travel

At present, citizens of 60 Visa Waiver countries do not have to apply for a Visa to travel to New Zealand. Citizens of Visa Waiver countries can travel to New Zealand without applying for a Visa first.  In most cases they get a 3 month Visitor Visa on arrival.

The list of Visa Waiver countries includes the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Singapore, Denmark, France and Malaysia. Visa Waiver countries tend to be countries that New Zealand has a relationship with, and their travellers are considered to pose a low security risk.

Later this year, all air and cruise travellers from the 60 Visa Waiver countries will be required to hold an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) before travelling to New Zealand.

I previously blogged in October 2018 about the new ETA. On 25 February 2019, the Government confirmed details of the ETA, and that it will come into force on 1 October 2019.

According to Immigration New Zealand, the ETA aims to:

  • Enhance security and reduce immigration risks;
  • Address smuggling and biosecurity risks;
  • Improve the traveller experience;
  • Support New Zealand’s international relationships and agreements;
  • Adapt to the changing needs and requirements of the government, stakeholders and travellers over time.

A recent Cabinet paper indicates that the Electronic Travel Authority will ensure a faster and better experience (including not being turned around at check-in or at the border), while at the same time claiming that it will deliver more secure borders.

The ETA will last for 2 years, and costs NZD$9 for requests made through a mobile application device and NZD$12 for requests made through a web browser.

In addition, all airline crew and cruise line crew will need to hold an ETA before travelling to New Zealand. A crew ETA will last for up to 5 years and cost NZD$9.

New Zealand citizens and holders of New Zealand Residence and Temporary class Visas will continue to be able to enter New Zealand without an ETA. Australian citizens will be exempt from the need to hold one, but Australian Permanent Residents will need to hold an ETA.

At the same time that travellers apply for the ETA, they will need to pay the new International Visitor Conservation and Tourism levy. The purpose of this levy is to ensure international visitor contribute to the infrastructure they use and to help protect the natural environment they enjoy. The levy will be $35 and once paid will last as long as the ETA is valid.

Both the new ETA and the International Visitor Conversation and Tourism Levy likely represent a more cautious approach being taken by Government in relation to travellers arriving in New Zealand.  They do, however, mirror a worldwide trend toward this form of registration system.  The US has required all short-term visitors to apply online for an ESTA for some years.  This week, the EU announced that all those entering European Schengen Area countries will have to obtain a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) from 2021. 

All of this shows the desire by countries to clearly document the movement of people across borders, in a climate of fears about illegal migration, sophisticated use of false identities for crime, and terrorism.  This is the way the world is going.  We’re just catching up.

 

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Another Hurdle: Section 49(1) Conditions

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All Residence Visas, when first granted, are subject to 2-year travel conditions. This allows the Visa holder to travel in and out of New Zealand for 2 years and to demonstrate to Immigration New Zealand (“INZ”) that they have made a commitment to New Zealand in order to qualify for a Permanent Resident Visa (“PRV”). For further detail on commitments to New Zealand, refer to Dew’s blog here.

Depending on the type of Residence Visa, it may also state:

“This visa is subject to conditions imposed under s 49 of the Immigration Act 2009

If your Residence Visa label states the above, then your Residence Visa is subject to “s 49(1) conditions” which you must comply with. This blog will explore the different types of s 49(1) conditions that are attached to a selection of Residence Visas.

Types of Conditions

Skilled Migrant Residence Visa

Depending on the type of EOI points claimed, the Principal Applicant (“PA”) of the Residence Application may be granted a Residence Visa that is subject to s 49(1) conditions.

If the PA gained Residence based on an offer of skilled employment or current skilled employment of less than 3 months for which they have claimed bonus points for it being outside the Auckland region, the Residence Visa will be subject to conditions. The conditions differ depending on whether it was an offer of current skilled employment of less than 3 months, and whether the bonus points were awarded or not by INZ.  For example, if someone got bonus points for a job offer outside Auckland, they must remain in that job for at least 12 months, or in another job for which bonus points apply.

If the PA gained Residence because they are eligible for occupational registration, the visa is subject to the condition that they provide evidence from the New Zealand Medical or Dental Council that they successfully attended an interview with the Council within 1 month of their arrival in New Zealand.

Employees of Relocating Business Residence Visa

All Residence Visas granted under this Category are subject to s 49(1) conditions. The PA must be employed in the relocated business for 24 months from the relocation of the business.  In addition, if their job requires them to ensure that the business complies with NZ employment and immigration laws, they must demonstrate that the business has done so.

Entrepreneur Residence Visa

If the PA was granted an Entrepreneur Residence Visa after operating a business for 6 months, making a capital investment of $500,000 in their business and creating 3 full-time jobs for New Zealanders, their Visa will be subject to s 49(1) conditions.  

To comply, the PA must be self-employed in their business, retain the investment and maintain the created full-time jobs for a minimum of 2 years (including the time spent operating the business on an Entrepreneur Work Visa).

Migrant Investor Residence Visas (Investor 1 and 2)

All Residence Visas granted under Investor 1 and 2 Categories are subject to s 49(1) conditions.

The s 49(1) conditions differ depending on the Investor Category, in particular, the investment period and minimum period of time in New Zealand. If a Residence Visa was granted under Investor 2 Category, an additional condition applies depending on the points claimed for English language ability. The PA is also required to submit evidence of having retained the investment to INZ on 2 occasions – (i) within 3 months of the 2 year investment period; and (ii) within 3 months after the expiry date of the investment period.

Another requirement to note for Investor Visas is that, because the investment period goes beyond 2 years (3 years for Investor 1, and 4 years for Investor 2), the 2 year travel conditions on the Residence Visa will expire at the 2-year anniversary of the investment period. The PA should therefore seek a Variation of Travel Conditions on their Residence Visa for a further 2 years if they wish to travel outside New Zealand. To be granted further travel conditions, the PA must also have complied with s 49(1) conditions to date.

Parent Retirement Residence Visas

All Residence Visas granted under this Category are subject to s 49(1) conditions. The PA is required to ensure that the investments are retained in New Zealand for 4 years; and they are required to inform INZ of any changes to their New Zealand address during the investment period. The PA is also required to submit evidence on two different occasions – once within 3 months of the 2-year investment period and once within 3 months after the expiry date of the investment period.

Further Conditions

In addition to the conditions set out above, the PA under any Residence category must ensure that they inform the nearest branch of INZ if their New Zealand address changes during the period they are subject to the s 49(1) conditions.

It is also worthy of note that if Secondary Applicants (i.e. partner and/or dependent children) (“SA”) were included in the Residence Application, and the Residence Visas were later granted, SAs will also be subject to s 49(1) conditions that apply to the PA. Only the PA must comply with s 49(1) conditions and have them removed in order for the SAs to become eligible to seek PRVs.

Once the conditions have been met, the PA must seek removal/cancellation of s 49(1) conditions, by giving INZ the necessary evidence in a timely fashion. The timing for filing this request may differ for different types of Residence Visas, so it is also important to know when they must be submitted.  Usually this is spelt out in the original INZ letter approving Residence, but it may be wise – especially in complicated situations like the Investor category – to get professional advice.

What happens if the conditions are not met?

If the PA fails to comply with s 49(1) conditions, they will become liable for deportation pursuant to section 159 of the Immigration Act 2009. There is a right of appeal to the Immigration & Protection Tribunal, firstly if you believe that INZ has wrongly decided that you have breached Residence conditions.  In addition, you may be able to show “special circumstances” to justify an exception to the Residence Instructions.

Furthermore, the PA will not be able to seek a PRV as PRVs are not granted to a person whose Residence Visa is subject to s 49(1) conditions. The same applies to SAs.

If you require assistance in getting s 49(1) conditions removed from your Residence Visa, come and talk to one of our lawyers today for assistance.

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Work Visas on the Move (Again)

Just before Christmas (possibly strategic timing in light of criticism he faced in the last few months) the Minister of Immigration announced a scheme to overhaul the entire employer assisted Work Visa system.  The proposals are set out in a detailed Consultation Paper, and I am currently involved with a couple of industry groups which plan to make submissions on this by mid-March.  Apparently the aim is to roll out the final form of the policy in the middle of 2020, which is – what a surprise – just before the next Election.

The New Model

A central feature is that all employers wishing to hire migrants must get one of three types of accreditation.  The category already exists as a subset of Work Visa policy, and is described in one of our fact sheets.  Under the current settings, employers must show that they:

  • are in a sound financial position;
  • have robust HR policies to safeguard employees;
  • have a clean employment relations record (for instance, no adverse claims against them before the Employment Relations Authority); and
  • are actively committed to employing and training New Zealand workers.

Whether accreditation under the new policy will look much different is not clear, although it is likely to carry over many of the above requirements into a new scheme.

Once accredited, employers can support applications for visas relatively easily.  This might give greater certainty to employers who get it.  There are, however, a couple of immediate risks with this idea:

  • Businesses wanting to hire only 1 or 2 people will face a disproportionate load of paperwork.  From our experience, seeking accreditation is a serious exercise.  The standards currently applied to accreditation set a high bar for employers in terms of HR policies and the expectation that they will continue to actively recruit and train New Zealanders.
  • Accreditation must apparently be renewed every 12 months.  There could be real problems for employers if Immigration is slow to decide applications for renewal, because if the existing certificate lapses before a new one is issued, the migrant staff have to stop working.  Just a couple of years ago the whole accreditation scheme was almost dysfunctional, until the duration of the grant was increased from 1 to 2 years in 2017.

A class of premium accreditation will be available, requiring an employer to demonstrate “pastoral care, active engagement in workforce programmes and endorsement by third parties [i.e., unions].”  The successful business can renew for 2 years at a time.  Again, though, this does not compare favourably with the present settings which allow existing accredited employers who appear to be reliable in the long run to extend their certification for 5 years at a time.

Another new element is the concept of “sector agreements” with particular industries for hiring in lower-skilled occupations.  Business groups such as the EMA and Restaurant Association will need to invest even more in research and professional lobbying to secure an agreement benefiting their membership.  The consultation paper suggests:

It is proposed that negotiations begin with the residential aged care sector and the tourism and hospitality sector in mid-2019 with the expectation that the agreements could come into effect by early 2020.

Winning the War on Exploitation?

Underpinning these and other ideas floated in the plan are the Government’s stated commitment to raise wages and to combat exploitation of migrant labour.  The latter issue has received some additional attention and funding in the last couple of years, but recently the news has been full of stories suggesting that it continues unchecked.  A new study gives some empirical backbone to the stories.  Nor is it limited to fly-by-night employers in back streets – major construction firms are also being accused of breaching employment standards on a large scale.

Vetting employers more stringently for employer-specific Work Visas is not necessarily going to curb exploitation.  Instead, it is going to shift it underground.  The reason is that in late 2018 the rules for Post-Study Work Visas were relaxed to allow graduates to more easily get open visas (that is, they can work anywhere, for anyone).  If accreditation makes it too hard for small businesses in particular to hire overseas staff, they will simply turn to the migrant student population whom they can engage on whatever terms they can achieve.

“Kiwis First” Again

An interesting feature of the proposal is the claim that part of the problem which it is meant to solve is the displacement of New Zealanders from employment.  In support, the paper cites an MBIE report updated in 2018.  The odd thing is that, overall, the researchers conclude that there are:

no significant indications of migrants crowding out New Zealanders for jobs, and, in particular, no overall effects on employment in the same industry (direct effects) or in other industries (combined effects) . . .

Indeed, elsewhere they declare that migration has had positive effects on wages, and the hiring of youth and beneficiaries in urban areas.  True, the report goes on to note negative effects on the hiring of New Zealanders through the current Essential Skills policy (the main employer-assisted route at present).  However, given that the employer-assisted categories only account for under 50,000 of the 230,000 or so Work Visas granted in the year to June 2018, and that the authors of the report could not be definitive about the reason for their findings, it is questionable whether this complete revamp of the policy can be justified for this reason either.

Finally, the Government wants to tune the migrant labour supply to match the needs of the regions.  No doubt there is merit in this, but any such system should also recognise that median wages differ widely across the country.  Employers should not be forced to pay Auckland prices for a worker in Southland.

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