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Immigration Act 2009: What the changes will mean for New Zealand visa applicants

by Jodie 30/09/2010 11:00:00

The New Zealand Immigration Act 2009 enables the
collection of biometric information as well as other
changes to the immigration system.
 

The New Zealand Immigration Act 2009 will come into effect in November, bringing a number of changes to the New Zealand immigration system. The Immigration Act is the result of the most comprehensive review of New Zealand immigration legislation in 20 years, with its introduction intended "to manage immigration in a way that balances the national interest, as determined by the Crown, and the rights of individuals".

The provisions of the Immigration Act 2009 are not yet in force, with the majority of the provisions will come into effect on 29 November, 2010. Until then the provisions of the Immigration Act 1987 apply.

The changes of the Immigration Act 2009 can be summarised as follows:

  • Introduction of a universal visa system;
  • New interim visas;
  • Facilitating passenger processing;
  • Incentives for third parties to comply with their obligations;
  • A new classified information system with special safeguards;
  • More flexible compliance and information powers;
  • A tiered detention and monitoring system;
  • A new refugee and protection system;
  • A single independent appeals tribunal; AND
  • The legislative ability to use biometrics.

I'll now explain a few of these points which I think warrant further explanation and could have an effect on New Zealand visa holders and applicants.

Will the new Immigration Act affect current New Zealand visa or permit holders?

No. All existing visa or permit holders will be deemed to hold a visa of a corresponding type under the Immigration Act 2009, meaning there is no need to apply for a new visa or permit.

What classes of visa will the Immigration Act 2009 allow for?

The Immigration Act 2009 will allow for the following classes of visas:

Residence class visas
  • Permanent resident visas – holders are entitled to travel to and gain entry permission into New Zealand and may stay indefinitely without conditions.
  • Resident visas – holders may be subject to conditions but will be entitled to travel to, enter and stay in New Zealand in line with those conditions.
Temporary entry class visas
  • Temporary visas – these will have a variety of different types and names – for example, visitor visas which will allow a holder to stay in New Zealand for the purpose of visiting, and work visas which allow a holder to stay and work in New Zealand.
  • Interim visas – these can be granted for the purpose of maintaining lawful status in New Zealand, where someone has applied for a further visa and their application is being considered.
  • Limited visas – these can be granted to people who wish to come to New Zealand for an express purpose.
Transit visas
  • Transit visas - These allow a passenger to remain in transit if they are travelling through New Zealand to another destination.  Not everyone will require a transit visa.

What is the universal visa system and how will it affect New Zealand visa applicants?

The universal visa system is a welcome introduction as it looks set to make New Zealand migration legislation easier to understand by removing the current distinctions thast are made between the categories of 'visa', 'permit' and 'exemption'.

Instead, the single term 'visa' will refer to the authority to travel to, permission to enter and stay in New Zealand. Without exception, all foreign nationals who wish to enter New Zealand will require a visa, as opposed to a permit or exemption for certain individuals. However, the ability to waive the visa requirement for travel to New Zealand will be retained for certain countries (e.g. Australia).

What are interim visas and how will they work?

Interim visas have been introduced to maintain a foreign national’s lawful status in New Zealand where they have applied for a further visa and their application is being considered. This is another positive change, as previously, applicants whose current visa expired while they were applying for a new visa would need to leave the country.  With interim visas, a foreign national’s lawful status will be maintained while their application is being considered.

What does the 'collection of biometric information' mean?

The new Immigration Act will enable the future collection and use of specified biometric information from foreign nationals for identity verification purposes.  This will include photographs, fingerprints and iris scans of foreign nationals to verify their identity upon entry to New Zealand.

How will the Immigration Act 2009 affect employers?

Under the Immigration Act 2009 (and the Immigration Act 1987), an employer must not employ a foreign national who is not entitled to work in New Zealand or for that employer. This applies whether or not the employer knew that the foreign national was not entitled to work.

This is just an introduction to the Immigration Act 2009, and we'll be covering it as the changes are implemented and we have a better understanding of how they'll affect our clients. However, to read more about, click here to see full details of the act on the Department of Labour's website.

- Jodie List is Casework Department Manager for the New Zealand Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Ed Miliband promises to listen on UK immigration

by Stephanie 28/09/2010 15:59:00

New Labour leader
Ed Miliband. (Image:
Labour.org.uk)

The new Labour leader Ed Miliband has delivered his conference speech in Manchester today, humbly admitting the errors of Labour’s time in office but offering himself as a leader of a new generation.

“Be in no doubt. The new generation of Labour is different. Different attitudes, different ideas, different ways of doing politics.

“Today I want to tell you who I am, what I believe and how we are going to do the most important thing we have to do - win back the trust of the country,” he said.

While Miliband did not make major policy announcements in his speech he did talk on a number of topics of importance including his family’s experiences as migrants to the UK, British economic policy, the national deficit, globalisation and UK immigration.

Humility, Mr Miliband said, was the most important word in politics for Labour.

“We need to learn some painful truths about where we went wrong and how we lost touch... We have to understand why people felt they couldn't support us. We have to show we understand the problems people face today,” he said.

One of the key issues for Labour in the last election was the appearance that the party did not understand voters’ concerns about UK immigration, and Miliband hopes to reconnect with the electorate on this issue.

“New Labour was right to be enthusiastic about the opportunities that come in a more connected world: the movement of goods and services, the chance to travel, the new markets for our companies.

“But this new generation recognises that we did not do enough to address concerns about some of the consequences of globalisation, including migration.

“All of us heard it. Like the man I met in my constituency who told me he had seen his mates’ wages driven down by the consequences of migration. If we don't understand why he would feel angry—and it wasn't about prejudice—then we are failing to serve those who we are in politics to represent.

“I am the son of immigrants. I believe that Britain has benefited economically, culturally, socially from those who come to this country.

“I don't believe either that we can turn back the clock on free movement of labour in Europe. But we should never have pretended it would not have consequences. Consequences we should have dealt with.

“We have to challenge the old thinking that flexible labour markets are always the answer.

“Employers should not be allowed to exploit migrant labour in order to undercut wages. And if we have free movement of labour across Europe we need proper labour standards in our economy, including real protection for agency workers," Mr Miliband said.

What this means for Labour's immigration policy, particularly in light of the difficulties experienced by employers in recruiting highly skilled non-EU employees under the Coalition's restrictive UK Visa cap, is not yet clear.

Ed Miliband’s full speech can be viewed in full here.

- Stephanie Bradley is Content and Communications Editor for the UK Visa Bureau. 

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

South Australian interim sponsorship list announced for Australian visa applicants

by Matt 21/09/2010 17:31:00

Migrants who wish to live and work in South Australia
could be eligible for sponsorship under the new
Interim Sponsorship List announced.

Immigration South Australia has announced they will shortly be accepting new sponsorship applications from migrants with selected occupations who wish to live and work in South Australia.

Migrants with occupations on the South Australian Interim Sponsorship List, which will be used until the South Australian State Migration Plan and associated list is implemented, will be able to apply for sponsorship for an Australian Visa in the very near future.

Some of the occupations included on the interim list include electrician, plumber, dentist, dental hygienist, registered nurse, midwife, project builder, taxation or management accountant.

A 140KB PDF document containing the full South Australian Interim Occupation List can be downloaded here.

For eligible sponsorship applicants looking to progress their application quickly, news that sponsorship is now obtainable from South Australia will be very welcome as it provides a way to avoid the growing delay for the South Australian State Migration Plan

If you have already submitted a complete application for South Australian state sponsorship AND your occupation is included in this Interim List, your application will be processed accordingly. You do not need to send a new application at this stage.

To be considered for sponsorship an applicant must have an occupation on the South Australian State Sponsorship Interim Occupation List and must be able to meet all other state sponsorship criteria.

UPDATE 28/09/2010: South Australia are now accepting new applications for sponsorship, with their website now updated with the following information:

"Immigration South Australia will be accepting new applications for sponsorships for skilled migrants who wish to live and work in South Australia.
 
While we await the finalisation and implementation of the State Migration Plan and the State Sponsored Migration List (SSML), the on-line application form is re-instated to offer sponsorships for a limited number of occupations that have been identified as priority skills for our State."

- Matt Parker is a Caseworker for the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Profile: new Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen

by Stephanie 15/09/2010 17:54:00

The Hon Chris Bowen.
(Image:
Parliment of
Australia)

Julia Gillard was sworn in as Prime Minister of Australia at Government House in Canberra yesterday, followed by her appointed ministry that includes Chris Bowen as the new Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.  

Gillard faces the enormous challenge of balancing a minority government that includes three fractious independents and a Green Party member, while also needing to address the problems and failings of the Rudd government.

Challenges as new immigration minister

Bowen, an ambitious right-leaning member of the Labor party, replaces Chris Evans who failed to control the often-divisive immigration debate as Australian immigration minister and is now Minister for Jobs, Skills and Workplace Relations and Tertiary Education. 

Both ministers can expect intense lobbying by universities in the coming months over the recent Australian Visa changes for international students that makes it more difficult to settle permanently after study – a move that threatens a million dollar education industry.

Described by the Sydney Morning Herald as smart and ambitious, Bowen has moved from a dry financial services portfolio into the difficult role as immigration minister.

His challenges will include depoliticising immigration intakes, catching up on a growing backlog of skilled visa applications, Australian immigration reforms for a number of different streams, as well as the difficult issue of asylum seekers.

Political career

Chris Bowen, 37, was educated at Smithfield Public School and St Johns Park High School in Sydney.

He graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Economics and won the Australian Transport Officers Federation Prize for the best industrial relations student at the university.

He was elected to Fairfield Council in 1995, and was Mayor of Fairfield for 1998 and 1999. He became president of the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils from 2000 to 2002.

Immediately before being elected to Parliament, Chris was chief-of-staff to Carl Scully, then NSW Minister for Roads, Housing and Leader of the House.

Chris Bowen was elected to the Federal Parliament as Member for Prospect in October 2004, and following an electoral redistribution he is now the Member for McMahon.

Since being in Parliament, Chris has been elected as Deputy Chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration. He was also a member of the Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services.

In December 2006, Bowen was appointed to the Federal Labor Party's frontbench as the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Revenue and Competition Policy.

The following December, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd appointed him two portfolios, as Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs.

In June 2009, Chris was elevated to Cabinet as Minister for Human Services and Minister for Financial Services, Superannuation and Corporate Law before taking on the portfolio of Immigration and Citizenship.

- Stephanie Bradley is Content and Communications Editor for the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.