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New Zealand Immigration Update - 11 July, 2012

by Dominic 11/07/2012 12:39:00
New Zealand's immigration system continues to be harangued by scams this week as yet another scam was uncovered less than a week after the second scam targeting the Tongan community was uncovered.

While immigration authorities address certain technicalities in the New Zealand visa system this week, a large scam which has unearthed almost 300 international students in the country without a valid visa threatens to overshadow positive moves in policy.

Model student refused New Zealand visa over technicality

A model student at Wellington's Victoria University has had his New Zealand visa application rejected over a technicality in his application...read more.

NZ visa rules relaxed for winter sports

New Zealand Immigration Minister Nathan Guy has agreed to a pilot scheme which will see winter sports operators be able to hire foreign staff much easier...read more.

Investigation reveals hundreds of students using fraudulent New Zealand visa

An investigation led by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has uncovered almost 300 Chinese students who obtained a New Zealand visa by fraudulent means...read more.




Model student refused New Zealand visa over technicality

Chinese student Jack Du
now faces the prospect
of leaving New Zealand.

A model student at Wellington's Victoria University has had his New Zealand visa application rejected over a technicality in his application.

Chinese student Xinkang 'Jack' Du now faces being expelled from the country after his New Zealand visa application was rejected because he did not supply a criminal record certificate with his application.

Mr Du applied for an extension to his student visa in May but was rejected for not supplying a valid criminal record check from China. Mr Du then graduated with his first class honours degree in biomedical science and marine biology and reapplied for another visa, this time for a graduate job search visa.

However, Mr Du's application was rejected again, despite submitting a clean criminal record check, for being in the country for a month without a valid visa.

Mr Du maintains that he could not supply the criminal record check in his initial application as he hadn't received it at the time of his application and submitted it as soon as he received it himself.

The exceptional student, who graduated first in his class and was featured on the university's website advertising the establishment to other international students, now faces expulsion from the country, despite having paid NZ$25,000 (£13,000) a year for his studies and having the qualifications listed on New Zealand immigration authorities' shortlist.

"It's very sudden, it just feels like it's out of nowhere and obviously I've had plans, I'm quite keen to use my skills to make a difference here," said Mr Du.

"It seems quite harsh for someone who has been studying here; I was hoping to make a difference."

Victoria University have written letters of support for Mr Du's application and the case has been referred to the association immigration minister, Kate Wilkinson.

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NZ visa rules relaxed for winter sports

Foreign workers on NZ slopes
will no longer have to work
30 hours a week.

New Zealand Immigration Minister Nathan Guy has agreed to a pilot scheme which will see winter sports operators be able to hire foreign staff much easier.

Under current New Zealand visa rules, employers must guarantee that staff will work at least 30 hours a week to be eligible for a visa. However, certain aspects of the tourism industry, particularly snow sports operators wanting to employ overseas staff for skiing and snowboarding instructors, have long since complained about the difficulty of meeting the requirements.

"Some operators were having difficulties meeting Immigration NZ's requirement for 30 hours work weekly in highly weather-depedent activities," said a Tourism Industry Association (TIA) newsletter.

However, after the TIA lobbied the NZ government, Immigration Minister Nathan Guy agreed to waive the 30 hour requirement in a pilot scheme which will run until September 2013.

"This is a big win for operators who can't find skilled New Zealand staff to do the job and have to recruit competent overseas-based individuals," said the TIA newsletter.

Mr Guy's pilot scheme requires applicants to have at least three years' experience in a similar capacity overseas and to have a guaranteed job offer paying at least NZ$20 (£10.34) an hour.

The move has been welcomed by tour operators in Queensland, one of New Zealand's premier winter sports locations, who claim the scheme will allow for a much greater degree of flexibility in hiring qualified staff.

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Investigation reveals hundreds of students using fraudulent New Zealand visa

There could be as many as 231
students without a valid New
Zealand visa still in the country.
 

An investigation led by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has uncovered almost 300 Chinese students who obtained a New Zealand visa by fraudulent means.

Investigators are now trying to determine whether any INZ staff were involved in the scam and attempting to track down 231 students who are still in New Zealand.

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce, who detailed the depth of the investigation, said questions had been raised over the integrity of staff members.

"There are investigations as to whether perhaps one or two Chinese nationals who were working for Immigration New Zealand may be involved," said Mr Joyce, adding that INZ suspected that many of the colleges teaching the students might not be aware their visas are invalid.

"They are probably in the situation where they have been the unwitting recipient of students that don't have the correct information.

"In terms of international education there is always a challenge with some people who are attempting to use any country's international education system as a way of entering the country."

The latest scandal comes on the heels of several other scams that have plagued New Zealand immigration authorities in recent months including two separate scams targeted at the Tongan community in New Zealand.

However, Acting Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson says New Zealand receives as many as 25,000 student visa applications from China every year and while the number of fraudulent visas uncovered was 'significant', the fact it was uncovered showed the system was working.

Ms Wilkinson said that some of the students could face deportation but depending on circumstances, this might not be the case for all:

"Natural justice says that they're all entitled to give their side of the story."

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- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor 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.

New Zealand Immigration Update - 4 July, 2012

by Dominic 04/07/2012 10:21:00
As the eight week operation to simulate asylum seeking boat arrivals continues in Adelaide, concerned opposition to the government's tough new stance on potential asylum seekers, a problem New Zealand has never had to cope with, is growing.

And while the government spends money preparing to tackle a problem which critics argue doesn't exist, Tongan immigrants within the country continue to be exploited and extorted for large sums of money, too afraid to speak up through fear of being deported. 


Human Rights Commission joins opposition of New Zealand immigration law

New Zealand's Human Rights Commission has joined a growing number of voices who are concerned at the tough New Zealand immigration law intended to deter people smuggling...read more.

Tongans continue to fall victim to New Zealand visa scams

Shameless fraudsters are still reportedly targeting unsuspecting Tongans in New Zealand to illicit large sums on money from them with bogus promises....read more.



Human Rights Commission joins opposition of New Zealand immigration law

Opposition to the immigration
law is growing.

New Zealand's Human Rights Commission has joined a growing number of voices who are concerned at the tough New Zealand immigration law intended to deter people smuggling.

New Zealand immigration authorities announced recently a new bill which would allow them to detain 'mass arrivals' - 10 or more - of asylum seekers under a single arrest warrant.

The government maintain that the law is a necessary precaution to deter potential people smugglers but a growing number of charities and refugee advocates have condemned the law as discriminatory and pointless as the country's remoteness has meant that no asylum seeking boat has ever arrived there.

And now Joris de Bres of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission has told MPs that the law, the Immigration Amendment Bill, would breach refugees' human rights under international law.

"I find it hard to contemplate a situation in which we would accept the mandatory detention of whole groups of people in an army camp of elsewhere without any consideration of their individual circumstances," said Mr de Bres.

"Although their method of arrival on New Zealand's shores may be irregular they are not illegal. Under New Zealand and international law a person is entitled to make an application for asylum in another country when they allege they are escaping persecution." 

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Tongans continue to fall victim to New Zealand visa scams

Immigration scamrs are
targeting Tongans for large
sums of money.

Shameless fraudsters are still reportedly targeting unsuspecting Tongans in New Zealand to illicit large sums on money from them with bogus promises.

Reports early last month claimed that large numbers Tongans were the victim of a scam which promised the victims a New Zealand visa for as little as NZ$300 (£150) and now fresh reports of a new scheme targeting the same community have raised concerns about the lack of assistance available to overstayers in the country.

When nearly 100 Tongans at Auckland Airport were told there were no flight tickets to Tonga waiting for them, it emerged that each of them had paid a dishonest immigration adviser NZ$250 (£128) each for a flight.

Some have expressed concern about the ongoing targeting of Tongan communities but claim that as many were illegally in New Zealand, they were reluctant to lodge a complaint through fear of being deported.

"What safeguards are there for them? They are overstaying and breaking the law but if they are being cheated there needs to be a system that protects them if they come forward," said Amelia Schaaf, a Tongan community advocate.

New Zealand immigration authorities said they were "committed and passionate about helping people get favourable outcomes" for people willing to come forward and help clampdown on such scams but that unless people were willing to do so, an investigation couldn't take place. 

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- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor 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.

New Zealand Immigration Update - 28 June, 2012

by Dominic 28/06/2012 14:51:00
While their closest neighbour Australia continues its ongoing battle with asylum seekers, New Zealand has failed to learn from the litany of mistakes of their Tasmanian cousins. New Zealand has maintained one of the world's best records on refugees and, with an almost unique remoteness, has never faced the prospect of asylum seekers arriving by boat.

However, the arrival in Australia last month of a group of Chinese asylum seekers who claimed to be headed for New Zealand has prompted a response from the country. Legislation was passed recently which would allow New Zealand immigration authorities to detain any potential large groups of asylum seekers arriving in New Zealand for up to six months on a single warrant.


New Zealand simulates mass boat arrival

New Zealand immigration authorities have spent NZ$20,000 (£10,000) on a simulated mass arrival of illegal immigrants...read more.

Terminally ill grandmother to be granted a New Zealand visa?

Immigration New Zealand is reportedly considering granting a South African grandmother a visa which will allow her to remain in the country during her last few months...read more.




New Zealand simulates mass boat arrival

The operation is taking
place in Auckland

New Zealand immigration authorities have spent NZ$20,000 (£10,000) on a simulated mass arrival of illegal immigrants.

Immigration Minister Nathan Guy and Customs Minister Maurice Williamson confirmed a staged mass arrival of over 100 role playing asylum seekers took place in Auckland.

Despite never having received a single asylum seeking vessel, the ministers claim it is a situation they need to be prepared for.

"This is a major exercise to make sure New Zealand is fully prepared to respond to a mass arrival by sea of potentially illegal immigrants," said Mr Guy. "A freighter with 500 asylum seekers from Asia made it all the way to Canada two years ago so New Zealand is certainly within reach."

The operation follows an amendment to the Immigration Act which is intended to deter human traffickers to target New Zealand. The amendment has been labelled as 'seriously flawed' by the Refugee Council of Australia.

Mr Williamson said the operation ran "very smoothly" but urged the country's immigration officials not to become complacent over the issue.

The full operation, titled 'Exercise Barrier', started in May and will run for eight weeks. 

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Terminally ill grandmother to be granted a New Zealand visa?

New Zealand immigration
authorities are considering
the woman's application.
 

Immigration New Zealand is reportedly considering granting a South African grandmother a visa which will allow her to remain in the country during her last few months.

Elizabeth Liebenberg, 61, had been told she would need to leave the country and return to South Africa as the restrictive lung diseas, moderate aortic stenosis and hypertension she has been diagnosed with presents too large a burden on New Zealand's medical facilities.

Doctors claim Mrs Liebenberg's life expectancy is 'measured in months rather than years' and warned that if the grandmother was forced to fly, her life would be in danger.

After receiving extensive media attention following her plight to remain with her children and grandchildren, New Zealand immigration authorities confirmed that they are considering granting her a special New Zealand visa on exceptional humanitarian grounds.

"Mrs Liebenberg's visa expires on 31 August and she currently has an appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal," said an Immigration New Zealand spokesperson.

"Any application will be assessed on its merits including the humanitarian factors we acknowledge are present in her current situation." 

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- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor 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.

BBC radio host offends with New Zealand comments - Visa Bureau responds

by Dominic 13/01/2012 16:41:00
Toby Foster, host of BBC Sheffield's early morning radio show has hit the headlines by not just offending every Kiwi, but getting his facts wrong in the process. 

Speaking about the recent news of tourist Erin Langworthy's dramatic tale of bungee jumping over crocodile infested waters in Zambia, only for the bungee cord to snap, Foster (currently billed as 'Radio Sheffield's resident comedian', having previously appeared in a supporting role in hit British comedy Phoenix Nights) landed himself in hot water by claiming life in New Zealand offers "sod all".

Taking the plunge

"Of course New Zealand people do a lot of bungee jumping and we're told it's because they've got such wonderful scenery and such great bungee. But it's not, what New Zealand has got is sod all. Nothing there, there's nothing there."

"And so this New Zealander, she's gone off to Africa in the hope she will be eaten by a hippo or something because there will be something happening her boring New Zealander life"

Twisting the knife

Foster didn't seem to think he had insulted New Zealand and its citizens enough when he continued that bungee jumping was so popular because every New Zealander must get to a point in their lives when they think "I might as well jump myself off a bridge".

Eager to get in on the hole-digging, his co-presenter then quipped that bungee jumping was "like trial suicide".

Foster then decided to take a swipe at New Zealanders' penchant for extreme sports: "there's a new sport and you get a nail gun and nail your hand to a tree and people will say 'did a New Zealander think of that?' and you'll say 'yeah, it's because they've got nothing else there'".

Sinking below the belt

The only positive thing Foster had to say about New Zealand was Christchurch yet it seemed his praises were insincere as he quickly managed to cut too close to the bone when he finished "And even that had an earthquake" - referring to the 6.3 magnitude earthquake which killed almost 200 people in 2011.

What Toby got wrong

Erin Langworthy is "that New Zealand girl"

Foster's entire 'jumping off' point for the tirade was completely incorrect; the tourist whom the news story refers to, Erin Langworthy is actually Australian, although that didn't stop Foster referring to her as "that New Zealand girl".

New Zealand - "sod all there" (apart from
all this).

There's nothing in New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world due to its exotic location, breathtaking landscapes and, funnily enough, great extreme sports. The popularity of New Zealand's natural beauty reached new heights in the 2000s when it served as the backdrop for Peter Jackson's iconic Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Indeed, Foster is more than likely to have alienated more than just any Kiwi listeners he may have had as New Zealand is one of Britain’s favourite holiday locations with almost a quarter of a million Britons deciding to make the trip in 2011 alone. They weren't disappointed either, with UK travellers giving their New Zealand holiday an average rating of 9.3 out of 10.

According to a study by Natwest International, New Zealand is ranked by UK expats behind only Canada in offering the best quality of life. With the UK struggling to make ends meet, more and more UK citizens are choosing to get a New Zealand visa and start a new life.

New Zealanders come up with extreme sports.

At least not disproportionately so. Bungee jumping is popular all over the world and not even a recent idea; a tribe on Pentecost Island in the South Pacific have been performing 'land dives', jumping from tall wooden platforms with their feet tied in vines for decades. The first modern bungee jump however, was opened in Bristol by the Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club in 1979.

In fact, of most common modern extreme sports, New Zealand is credited with coming up with only one: zorbing, climbing in a giant inflatable ball and rolling down a hill.

"Jump myself off a bridge" is a grammatical error

Not satisfied with insulting Kiwis with simply incorrect facts, Foster also chose to do it with incorrect grammar.

What Toby got right

Despite Foster's tirade going on for quite some time, he managed to get few things right and perhaps just to make his situation even worse, the only two things he managed to get right were also said in jest.

New Zealand has great bungee jumping

New Zealand's bungee jumping is some of
the best in the world.
(CC) Will Ellis

New Zealand has bungee jumping all across New Zealand including some of the highest jumps in the world, some of the most beautiful jump locations and, with some of the most stringent safety regulations in the world, some of the safest jumps in the world.

There are hippos in Zambia

The hippopotamus, the third largest land mammal after elephants and white rhinos does indeed inhabit the country where the original bungee jump took place. In fact, with over 40,000, Zambia has the largest population in the world.

New Zealand's reaction

New Zealand is home to four million people, none of whom are likely to have taken the story particularly well. Angered Kiwis immediately took to the internet to voice their anger at Foster's outburst and twitter is still rife with tweets about the BBC Sheffield radio host.

However, despite Foster's clearly bitter rant containing more flaws than Erin Langworthy's bungee cord, several people decided to, somewhat unfairly, insult Sheffield.

As Foster has been forced by BBC bosses to "unreservedly apologise", insulting Sheffield may be not be the best idea, especially seeing as how the University of Sheffield has a long standing relationship with New Zealand.

Sheffield has welcomed plenty of Kiwis to the city for their studies, and plenty of Sheffield's youth have gone the other way on a New Zealand working holiday visa to live and work for upto a year and maybe even try their hand at bungee jumping.

The original story

On New Years Eve, 22-year-old Australian tourist Erin Langworthy plunged into the Zambezi River after her bungee cord snapped. Despite falling 110 metres into crocodile and ironically, hippopotamus infested waters and then having to swim to the edge of the river with her legs tied together, Ms Langworthy survived with only severe bruising and cuts.

Zambian Tourist Minster Given Lubinda has since offered to repeat the jump with Ms Langworthy to demonstrate the jump's safeness.

- Dominic Ladden-Powell is Online Editor 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.

New Zealand election 2011: What are the parties' New Zealand immigration policies?

by Andy 22/11/2011 14:21:00
New Zealand is set to vote in a general election on Saturday 26 November and while most polls have the incumbent National Party under Prime Minister John Key safely ahead, in a democracy as robust as NZ's anything could happen.
Naturally, the various parties have slightly different approaches to immigration issues and are making different pledges to the Kiwi electorate in this key policy area.

But regardless of which party occupies the Beehive after the election, some changes to the immigration system or the direction of immigration and/or New Zealand visa policy are probable.

Visa Bureau has summarised the main immigration policies put forward by the parties contesting this election so that you can be aware of any changes before they happen.



         

Act New Zealand

Act New Zealand is a breakaway group from the National Party and a support partner in the current minority Government. They are a centre-right party that, like the National Party, are focused on economic growth and therefore the economic benefits of migration.

The Act Party proposes the following in its 2011 election immigration policy platform:

  • To lower administrative barriers to entering New Zealand so as to make migration a more attractive option;
  • To ensure immigration "does not become a drain on the welfare state";
  • To ensure migrant intake is focused primarily on "productive workers who will enrich our society and economy, create jobs through entrepreneurship, links to home countries, and demand for goods and services"; and
  • To improve general economic performance through reducing government spending and overregulation which will in turn make immigration to NZ more attractive.


         

The Green Party

The Green Party's roots are in environmental politics but they are also strong supporters of immigration. The Greens propose an immigration system that is heavily focused on human rights and humanitarian paths to migration as well as economic.

In this election, the Greens have put forward immigration policies including:

  • Increasing New Zealand's annual refugee intake from 750 to 1000;
  • Enhancing government resources for refugee resettlement programs;
  • Abolish the current "lottery" system for refugee family reunification and introduce a "fair process with published priorities and standards";
  • Prioritise skilled workers that will aid a "sustainable society and economy";
  • Ensure temporary migrants are given equal pay and conditions as co-workers with different visa status;
  • Ensure that immigration levels are reviewed regularly and based on net population change, environmental factors and international humanitarian obligations; and
  • Begin preparations for "climate change refugees".


         

The Labour Party

The Labour Party is the main opposition party in New Zealand currently holding 42 of the 122 seats in the Parliament's House of Representatives and was previously in Government from 1999 to 2008.

Labour has made a suite of immigration pledges this election, both threatening to repeal policies of the National Government and introduce new policies if elected. Policy ideas include:

  • A review of the Skilled Migrant Category to ensure best practice;
  • Flexible arrangements for migrants on business and investor New Zealand visas;
  • Increase opportunities for young foreign entrepreneurs to emigrate to New Zealand including the possibility of visa extensions for international students;
  • Reverse the changes to the visa system for temporary entertainment workers introduced by the Key Government and set to come into affect in March 2012;
  • Strengthen mental health services for refugees;
  • Review the refugee family reunification program;
  • Support options for refugees to enrol in tertiary education;
  • Introduce a specialist Immigration Ombudsman within the Office of the Ombudsman, to investigate system issues, complaints and immigration detention issues;
  • Establish a Residence Review Panel to assist the Immigration Minister on residency policy issues.

         

The Mana Party

The Mana Party is contesting a general election for the first time in 2011 and was formed by Hone Harawira MP after his expulsion from the Maori Party. The Mana Party has not released a cohesive immigration policy as of yet but recently Mana candidate for the seat of Makukau East John Minto made comments accusing the current system of "pervasive racism" against New Zealanders of Pacific Islander origin.


         

The Maori Party 

Formed by former Labour Minister Tariana Turia in 2004 following her resignation over the foreshore and seabed controversy - a dispute over traditional indigenous ownership of natural resources - the Maori Party is committed to keeping New Zealand's laws compliant with the Treaty of Waitangi. It is currently a support partner in the National minority government.

The Maori Party does not have an official stance on New Zealand immigration issues such as visas or intake levels but has proposed a policy to make New Zealand citizenship conditional on completion of a course in the history of the treaty. "To complete globally it is important that new citizens share our understanding of history," says the Maori Party's election policy document.


         

The National Party 

Should the National Party be re-elected we are likely to see a continuation of the immigration policies implemented and prioritised since coming to power in 2008. The Nats' immigration policy document explains that "immigration plays a crucial part in National's plan to build a brighter future".

The party says that if re-elected it will continue to expand and develop its current immigration policies such as the Silver Fern Visa program, residency application process for religious workers, overhaul of processes at Immigration New Zealand and changes to the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme.

But the Nats have also flagged some new immigration policies and priorities to be implemented if John Key's team secures a second term, including:

  • Attracting more business migrants and investment capital;
  • Import skilled labour to assist with the post-earthquake rebuild of Christchurch; and
  • Implement a whole-of-government single-agency approach to refugees and asylum seekers.

         

United Future 

Like the Act and Maori parties, United Future has in the last Parliament entered a confidence and supply agreement with National, making it a support partner in the minority government. Immigration and population is one of the key policy interests of this party, formed in 2002 from an amalgamation of centrist and Christian democrat parties. In this election it has proposed policies including:

  • A 10-year population strategy to identify and minimise the impact of demographic changes;
  • Devise and implement comprehensive immigrant settlement programs to provide immigrants with language, social services and job placement support;
  • Establish a Business Development Agency to help migrants set up businesses;
  • Encourage "all migrants to consider themselves as New Zealanders";
  • Establish a retirement NZ visa to allow parents of permanent residents and citizens to be sponsored for migration;
  • Establish a specific employment-finding agency for refugees;
  • Create a mentor system for new migrants to help them adjust to life in New Zealand.


These various policy platforms highlight the differing views on the direction of immigration policy in New Zealand politics. Whoever forms the next government, and the amount of seats and therefore bargaining power and policy attention that each of these parties receive at this election, will impact on the opportunities for emigration to New Zealand and what you can expect when you arrive.

- Aleks Vickovich is Online Editor 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.

Don't believe the Daily Mail's 'death of the gap year' - working holidays are still alive and kicking!

by Tom 14/09/2011 17:42:00

August 2011 saw the highest ever number of working
holiday visa packages processed by Visa Bureau.
 

A recent Daily Mail article by Kate Loveys made for curious reading recently. The article gives the impression that the gap year is set to become a thing of the past due to thousands of young Brits forsaking a gap year abroad, in favour of starting university and avoiding the hike in tuition fees. However, in our experience as a working holiday visa package providers to travellers planning a gap year to destinations like Australia and New Zealand, we've seen quite the opposite!

While the rise in tuition fees is certainly a cause of concern for thousands of British teenagers, we haven't seen any less demand for either the Australian working holiday visa or New Zealand working holiday visa.

In fact, last month was our biggest ever in terms of the number of applications for Australian working holiday visa packages we processed and compared to August, 2010, there was a 15% rise in the number of applications processed. We also saw a similar rise in demand for the New Zealand working holiday visa package, as our figures revealed an almost 20% rise in applications processed in August, 2011 compared to August, 2010.

While we can't speak for the gap year market as a whole, this certainly seems indicative that the idea of a year abroad is still very appealing to the youth of the UK.

The Daily Mail cites a stat from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) that says only 6,000 18-year-olds have deferred a firm offer of a place on a university course for this year, compared to 20,000 last year, indicating that young people are keener to secure their university place than do anything else (like take a gap year).

However, while this might indicate that 18 year olds are choosing to start university sooner rather than later, it still seems unlikely that this will influence an individual's eventual decision to take a gap year. Increasingly, we've found that many young travellers choose to take a year out after they've completed their studies, rather than before.

The Australian and New Zealand working holiday visa programmes are built for this, in that it allows people aged between 18 and 30 to apply to live and work in Australia for up to a year. As a result, there's no urgency for teenagers fresh from college to apply for the visa, and they can choose instead to travel after finishing university (where they can gain some valuable life experience before entering the job market).

Applying for an Australian Working Holiday Visa

To be eligible for an Australian Working Holiday Visa, the application must be made overseas and the applicant must:

  • Be aged between 18 and 30 years (inclusive) of age and unaccompanied by dependent children;
  • Be an eligible passport holder with at least 1 year until renewal on their passport;
  • Be able to show sufficient funds for a return or onward fare and an adequate amount of funds for the first part of their stay; and
  • Be of good character and meet the health criteria.

Think you might be eligible? Fill in the online Australian working holiday visa application and find out!

Applying for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa

To be eligible for the New Zealand Working Holiday Visa, applicants must:

  • Hold a valid passport from the country whose scheme they are applying under;
  • Be aged no less than 18 years of age and no more than 30 years of age
  • Not be accompanied by children;
  • Have a return ticket, or sufficient funds to purchase such a ticket;
  • Meet health and character requirements;
  • Be the holder of a valid temporary permit if applying from within New Zealand; and
  • Not previously have been approved a visa or permit under a Working Holiday Scheme.

Interested in living and working in New Zealand? Complete the online New Zealand working holiday visa application and see for yourself!

- Tom Blackett is Marketing Manager for the 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.

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.

When it comes to New Zealand Dollars what are you looking at?

by Stephanie 22/07/2010 14:53:00

Concentrating only on the Sterling - New Zealand
Dollar exchange rate might mean you miss important
market moves.

You could be focusing on the wrong influences on the New Zealand exchange rate, says  Halo Financial Director David Johnson. 

So you’re standing on the kerbside waiting to cross the road. You are doing your Green Cross Code bit and looking to your right for traffic until then you realise everyone else is looking left. Then it dawns on you that you are in a country that drives on the wrong side of the road and the other pedestrians have got it right. You are suddenly thankful that someone knew what was going on and you manage to cross the road safely.

It is easy to apply that same situation to the current state of affairs with the New Zealand Dollar; you may be concentrating on the New Zealand and UK economies looking for clues as to the direction of the Sterling – New Zealand Dollar exchange rate movement; but those "in the know" are looking in a completely different direction ... and they have got it right.

Where they are looking is towards China and America. That is probably making them a tad cross-eyed but they are watching China because the Chinese economy is currently the most influential force acting on commodity prices and because New Zealand’s exports are largely commodity based. And they are watching America because the stuttering state of America’s "recovery" from recession is causing nervousness across the globe and until more confidence returns the NZ Dollar is likely to remain incredibly volatile.

They should also be keeping a wary eye on the UK economy as well. Whilst the new government has been applauded for making a robust start to cutting UK borrowing and spending in order to reduce the public sector debt burden, there are fears that they may be making slightly larger strides than might be prudent in these fragile times. Fears that the credit ratings agencies may start to remove Britain’s coveted AAA credit rating are rife; driven by constantly updated forecasts of slowing economic growth and the data showing that without government stimulus Britain would still be in recession, caused a tremor across the Sterling trading markets.

Where to from here?

So which way should we be looking really? Well I would suggest you look to enlisting the assistance of someone to do your invigilating for you. Someone who has a constant eye on the markets, someone who can explain the current influences and sentiment, someone who has suggestions for the right strategy to adopt in your particular circumstance and someone who can and will save you money on your currency exchange.

I know I may be biased but that someone is actually a group of people called Halo Financial. Halo Financial’s consultants all have the experience, the background, the access to relevant market information and the customer service ethic to ensure you get the kind of service that, in these days of call centres and automated operators, you probably thought was consigned to the past.

So if you are standing at the kerbside of migration to New Zealand, before you step off the kerb, just check which way Halo Financial’s currency consultants are looking before you leap into the dark. It could make the difference between arriving in New Zealand with more money than you imagined and pouring your money down the gutter because the markets moved while you were looking the other way.

- Halo Financial is a leading specialist provider of commercial foreign exchange services for both international business and private individuals who require foreign currency and need expert assistance in successfully managing their foreign exchange exposures. They are a partner of New Zealand Visa Bureau, an independent company specialising in helping applicants emigrate to New Zealand.

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.

Fed up with broken Britain? Emigrate to New Zealand, the 'world's least corrupt nation'

by Tom 19/11/2009 15:40:00

 

New Zealand topped the list as the
world's least corrupt nation
 

Tired of hearing reports of MPs cheating tax payers? Exhausted by the constant claims that we're living in 'broken Britain'? If so, then it might be time to start thinking about New Zealand immigration, as the 'Land of the Long White Cloud' was named the world's least corrupt nation earlier this week. 

New Zealand topped Transparency International's list of 180 countries, displacing Denmark from the top. The aim of the list is to rank 180 countries on a scale of zero to 10 according to 13 independent surveys (with 0 being perceived as 'highly corrupt' and 10 as having 'low levels of corruption').

The top five countries and their scores were as follows:

  1. New Zealand - 9.4
  2. Denmark - 9.3
  3. Singapore - 9.2
  4. Sweden - 9.2
  5. Switzerland - 9.0

Still feeling the fallout from the furore over MPs' expenses, Britain only just scraped into the top 20, coming 17th in the list with a score of 7.7. However, it could have been worse; on the other end of the scale were countries left unstable or impacted by war and ongoing conflicts, with the list giving the bottom five countries and their scores as follows:

  1. Somalia - 1.1
  2. Afghanistan - 1.3
  3. Myanmar - 1.4
  4. Sudan - 1.5
  5. Iraq - 1.5

Commenting on the list was Huguette Labelle, chairwoman of Transparency International, who said: "Stemming corruption requires strong oversight by parliaments, a well-performing judiciary, independent and properly resourced audit and anti-corruption agencies, vigorous law enforcement, transparency in public budgets, revenue and aid flows, as well as space for independent media and a vibrant civil society."

So, while the chief appeal of New Zealand might still be its epic landscapes, gorgeous beaches and laid back lifestyle, it's also nice to know that when you apply for a visa to work in New Zealand, it's a little less likely that your taxes will end up paying for a politician's duck house.

- Tom Blackett is Online Editor 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.

Changes to New Zealand immigration policy coming 30 November

by Jodie 11/11/2009 15:30:00

On 30 November, NZIS will
implement changes to New
Zealand immigration policy.

We received news last week that changes are set to be made to New Zealand immigration policy on 30 November. You can see the full list of changes by clicking here, but the most pertinent piece of information for anyone looking to make an application for a New Zealand work visa is the following:

"Minimum income requirement for dependent children of Essential Skills work visa or permit holders

A minimum income threshold requirement has been added for work permit and visa holders under the Essential Skills policy in order for their dependent children to live in New Zealand. This is to ensure that the children have a appropriate level of financial support, given that these families are not eligible for state-funded income support."

This essentially means that anyone migrating to New Zealand on an Essential Skills policy work visa with dependent children must have a minimum income to be granted the visa. Through further investigation into the legislation, I have found that the minimum income threshold is NZD$33,675 gross p/a (which converts to approx. GBP£15,000 gross p/a), based on today's exchange rates.

A further caveat is that this income must be met and maintained wholly by the salary or wages of a parent or parents holding an Essential Skills work visa/permit.

Evidence must be provided of the Essential Skills work permit holder’s current salary or wages to satisfy a visa or immigration officer that the applicant’s parent/s meet the minimum income threshold.

- 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.