Updates to the remuneration threshold values for Essential Skills and Skilled Migrant Category visas (26 Nov 2018)
The Essential Skills work visa and Skilled Migrant Category resident visa remuneration thresholds have been updated.
These thresholds are updated annually. The new thresholds are based on the New Zealand median salary and wage rate of $25 per hour (up 2.9% from last year), equivalent to $52,000 per annum for a 40 hour per week job.
The thresholds are:
All changes are effective on and after 26 November 2018.
Changes to post-study work rights have been made to ensure post-study immigration pathways for international students are fit-for-purpose and to reduce the likelihood of exploitation, while minimizing losses of genuine students.
The changes are as follows:
To ensure no current tertiary students and post-study work visa holders are disadvantaged by the changes, the following transitional provisions have also been introduced:
Work visa eligibility for partners of students
After a month of anxious waiting, finally, we received great news from Section 61 team of Immigration New Zealand. The client googled to find our firm then read reviews from our clients. Later he engaged with us asap, so we had more time to prepare for his wife's Section 61 application.
Anyone who became unlawful which means no visa to stay in New Zealand, you can apply for a visa under Section 61 of Immigration Act 2009 if you don't have a deportation order made to you.
Please do not rely on free advice. If you need someone's professional help in your life, this is the moment you must seek expert's advice.
This is a reminder that the new immigration fees and levies take effect from 5 November.
Summary of changes:
Specific charges that will apply are detailed in our schedule of fees and levies:
· Schedule of fees
· Fee regulations
· Levy regulations
Immigration New Zealand will update the information on their website about fees and levies once they take effect on 5 November.
Applications received by INZ before November 5
The fee and levy applicants pay is based on when INZ receives the application.
A convicted drug smuggler has been handed an unprecedented get-out-of-jail card: instead of being deported after serving his prison sentence, the Government has granted him New Zealand residency.
Minister of Immigration Ian Lees-Galloway has made a special decision to grant the 37-year-old Czech national residency, even though he came to New Zealand on a false passport and is now serving time in Auckland South prison for importing drugs with a street value of $375,000.
Karel Sroubek fled to New Zealand with a friend's passport in 2003. He claimed he was on the run from corrupt cops after witnessing a murder. Under the name Jan Antolik he built a new life as a businessman, a representative-level kickboxer, and a Hells Angels associate.
When the law caught up with him, he admitted his criminal ties in the Czech Republic – but he seemed unable to escape old habits with several brushes with NZ Police over the past 15 years.
Sroubek has faced several charges, relating to drugs and robbery. But was either acquitted or had his convictions overturned – until he was found guilty of using his drink importation business as a front to smuggle 5kg of MDMA, which is used to make the drug Ecstasy. He was jailed for five years and nine months.
He was refused parole last month: Parole Board panel convenor Judge Phil Gittos said he gave "evasive, long-winded and ... in many respects manifestly untruthful" responses.
Sroubek would have come up for parole again next year, and was to be deported after completing his sentence.
But yesterday, Lees-Galloway confirmed he had granted Sroubek residence subject to "significant conditions," and after careful consideration of all information available to Immigration NZ.
He would not say why he had granted the drug smuggler residency, or reveal the conditions.
"For privacy and legal reasons, I am unable to disclose this information, or comment on specific details of the case," he told Stuff.
"It's not a decision I've taken lightly."
The Minister of Immigration has "absolute discretion" to prevent deportation and grant residence – legally, such decisions cannot be applied for, the minister doesn't have to consider any requests, and doesn't need to explain their reasons.
In 2011, Sroubek was arrested in Operation Ark, a covert investigation into Ecstasy-like pills, less than a week after his trial for entering New Zealand on a false passport.
He later had a conviction for manufacturing Class-C drugs overturned; Sroubek was to stand trial again on an alternative charge of possession for supply, but the prosecution was abandoned.
Sroubek also had gang associations, and was acquitted of an aggravated robbery with two Hells Angels.
The National Party on Sunday called on Lees-Galloway to explain what immigration spokesperson Michael Woodhouse said appeared to be "a disgraceful decision to grant residency to a violent gang associate convicted of importing drugs into New Zealand".
“Mr Lees-Galloway will not say why he made the decision to grant residency, nor what the conditions of his residency are,” Woodhouse said.
"The information I have on this case does not come close to any threshold where special consideration should be given by the minister."
Massey University's Professor Paul Spoonley said he was scratching his head over why Sroubek was given residency.
Considering his serious crimes, and history with the law, if there were exceptional circumstances that warranted keeping here the public needed to be informed about what they were.
"There have to be important reasons why you would not deport, particularly when the person has proven not to be a good character," he said.
"Usually such reasons are that other members of his family would suffer, or that someone would be placed in danger by being taken to their country of origin."
A potential reason along those lines, can be found in the details of Sroubek's 2009 trail for using a false passport – after his true identity was revealed when Czech police called Auckland police looking for him with an arrest warrant.
Sroubek's defence was he'd had an exceptionally good reason for the fraud: he had been threatened by two Czech police officers who wanted him to lie and clear the main suspect in a murder investigation.
Instead, he fled to New Zealand on his friend, Jan Antolik's spare passport. He left a video statement behind, which was later crucial in convicting the murderer.
Crown prosecutors said if that was so, he should have come clean when he arrived in the country.
The Judge gave him a second chance and discharged him without conviction, convinced Sroubek was still in danger from corrupt Czech cops and the man he'd put behind bars.
In December 2017, Sroubek appealed his smuggling conviction, claiming those same people planted the drugs to frame him.
However, the Court of Appeal rejected the appeal concluding the "far-fetched" theory was simply not credible based on the evidence – including the lack of a tip-off, which would be expected in a set-up. – additional reporting Mike Mather.
To read the actual article, visit here.
Recent data from Immigration New Zealand which shows the number of applications accepted for processing by INZ. Being accepted means, each application met the requirements of INZ, but it doesn't mean they all were successful.
As you can see from below table, there was a notable hike in 2016/2017 which was due to the election and many applicants were worried that if labour party came into the power, the immigration policy would change hence everyone wanted to submit before the new government kicked in. It would have created the delay of processing of each application in 2017.
In 2017/2018, there were almost 5000 less for skilled migrant category applications which continue showing for 2018/2019. For 1 July 2018 to 3 October 2018 is 5003 then it would be around 20,000 for the year of 2018/2019. Therefore regarding the number of resident visa approved, the new government managed to reduce by 5000 per year. The upcoming changes to SMC resident visa in November will affect the figure more.
Currently, INZ is undergoing significant changes via closing up many offshore offices, introducing changes to the process and structure of the organisation. We will see the impact of the change next year.
All Daniel Tadese wants is to be with his wife and child.
But as his son Natnael prepares to mark his fourth birthday next week, there is no end in sight to the bureaucratic nightmare that has torn the family apart.
Tadese, 48, is an Australian citizen of Ethiopian descent who has been living in Melbourne since 2007.
Immigration officials accept that the West Footscray man is the father of Natnael and have accordingly granted the child citizenship by descent.
Yet they have refused to grant Tadese's wife Genet Abebe a partner visa, solely on the basis of DNA testing undertaken in 2012.
The testing suggested the statistical likelihood of the couple being biological half-siblings, compared to unrelated individuals, is 66 to 1.
While Abebe was pregnant with Natnael in 2014 the then Department of Immigration struck out her visa application, arguing the DNA results constitute 'moderately strong' evidence that the pair share the same mother.
Speaking through an interpreter, Tadese maintains that this is impossible as their families live in different parts of Ethiopia and had never met before their marriage.
"I was really shocked, there is no relation whatsoever. We met through her aunty who lives in Melbourne, who I met through the church," he said.
"We started talking over the phone for a few months, then I went back to Ethiopia and we met personally and really liked each other. "So we had the wedding there and I came back here and started the process for her visa."
Tadese said more than 200 guests attended the wedding ceremony in Addis Ababa in 2012 and that the marriage is accepted under Ethiopian law.
He points out that the Ethiopian Orthodox church, which performed the marriage, does not allow half-siblings to marry.
DNA testing is not a standard requirement of partner visa applications, yet may be requested if the applicant and sponsor are suspected of being siblings.
The 2012 tests were carried out by a company called Genetic Technologies, which has since been taken over by Genomic Diagnostics. Genomic Diagnostics business manager Brett Kennedy said the company cannot comment on testing by a company that was not part of its group at the time.
Tadese said that he had so far racked up more than $20,000 in legal fees challenging the Department's decision.
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal last year affirmed the visa refusal, prompting Tadese to make a final appeal to the Federal Circuit Court, where he has been waiting for more than a year for a hearing date.
He said because DNA testing can't provide a higher degree of certainty, the court should consider a wider range of supporting evidence.
That view is backed by Monash University senior lecturer Dr Maria O'Sullivan, who said she was unaware of any of precedent cases in Australia.
"I think the authorities should be looking at matters other than just DNA, as there is a slight chance that the test is incorrect."
The saga has now stretched on for more than six years, taking a heavy toll on Tadese's finances and mental health. The Uber driver has been diagnosed with depression and said his phone conversations with his wife and son inevitably end in tears.
"I haven't seen them for more than a year, I'm worried about my son growing up without really knowing me," Tadese said.
"Every single time I call he asks 'when are we coming?'. It's so heartbreaking to hear that. "I'm on my own, I feel lost and I just don't know what to do."
A spokesperson from the Department of Home Affairs said the department did not comment on individual cases for privacy reasons.
The spokesperson said although foreign marriages recognised under local civil law would generally be recognised in Australia, a visa applicant and sponsor being siblings would void the marriage in Australia under the Marriage Act.
"An application for a partner visa cannot be approved on spouse grounds if the Department is not satisfied the relationship is valid under the Marriage Act."
To read the actual article, visit here.
Currently Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is working on the Alignment and Consolidation of the Visa Services network. The purpose of this change is to simplify a work stream focused on business process improvement. The Programme has now been running for over 12 months, and is on track to transition Visa Services to the new operating model by June 2019.
Currently INZ is closing down many off-shore offices. By June 2019, INZ's processing footprint will be smaller but supported by a strengthening of its risk and verification presence.
To provide further consistency of practice and quality control of visa application processing, currently, alignment of visa processing is underway as you can see from the above.
So what will be the outcome of all these?
The Simplification work stream means it will reduce over-processing, enabling INZ's staff to work smarter not harder and apply their judgment and expertise in the right areas. Since 4 July 2018, the expansion of eVisas (label-less) means close to 100 per cent of visas issued are now eVisas. Eventually, we will see faster processing time and consistent decisions when it is completely implemented next year.
Airport departure cards will be a thing of the past from November.
People will no longer have to fill out the cards before flying overseas, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway announced at Auckland International Airport on Sunday.
"This will improve the experience of all travellers departing New Zealand, enabling a faster and smoother process ahead of the busy holiday period," Lees-Galloway said.
"It will also save more than 100,000 hours of time currently spent by travellers completing more than 6.5 million departure cards per year."
There is no exact date set for the axing of the cards, and one would be announced closer to the time.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern first signalled the move in March at the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum in Sydney.
Delegates at that forum said the cards were not necessary and hampered a seamless trans-Tasman experience, which affected tourism and business.
Ardern said she agreed and would be talking to statistics and immigration officials in the coming months.
On Sunday, Lees-Galloway said the move would bring New Zealand into line with other countries, few of which had departure cards with the level of detail required by the New Zealand card.
Australia removed its departure card in 2017, and the announcement meant travellers would be able to travel across the Tasman without filling out a departure card in either port, Lees-Galloway said.
While the dollar amount saved by axing departure cards was "not huge", it would save people time, he said.
"It removes an inconvenience which isn't necessary anymore . . . It's time for them to go."
Auckland International Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood said the move was something the airport had wanted for many years.
"[It's] something that will make a big difference to travellers' lives."
While filling out a departure card was a small part of the overall process, doing away with them would cut out the "slight annoyance factor" for those customers just wanting to get to the gate, he said.
Customs Minister Meka Whaitiri said the cards were no longer needed for their original purpose – to account for all passengers crossing the New Zealand border.
"We have smarter systems now that capture passenger identity information and travel movement records electronically," she said.
"Information captured by the departure cards is now mainly used for statistical purposes.
"Statistics NZ has developed an alternative way to produce migration and tourism statistics, based on actual movements rather than passengers' stated intentions on the departure cards."
Departure cards were introduced in 1921, and it's estimated more than 132 million cards have been filled out since that time.
In 2017, 6.5 million cards were completed. That represented about 100,000 hours of traveller time, or about 12 years, a fact sheet provided by Lees-Galloway and Whaitiri said.
The cards ask travellers how long they have been in New Zealand and how long they intend to be away.
From November, Statistics NZ would switch to a new system which would measure the actual times, the statement said.
Those hoping for an end to arrival cards, along with departure cards, were set for a longer wait.
The statement said arrival cards captured important declarations which were used by border staff to manage immigration and biosecurity risks.
"Officials are in the early stages of exploring alternative means of capturing this information, but there are no set timeframes."
Interim visas are granted to people in New Zealand whose application for a further temporary visa has not been determined when their previous visa expires.
It has been an on-going issue, as their further temporary visa applications are declined, they become unlawful.
However from 27 August 2018, Immigration instructions about the currency of interim visas have been amended so that once an interim visa is valid, it will expire 21 days after the further temporary visa application is declined or withdrawn, or after 6 months if the application is not decided (or withdrawn) in that time.