The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a lot of New Zealand citizens and residents losing their jobs, which means that they are now available for positions that employers previously had to get foreign nationals for. INZ (Immigration New Zealand) is working with employers to help them navigate the changing the labour market conditions while keeping the interests of migrant workers in mind.
Employers can apply for changes in work conditions for their employees if they provided essential business or services at Alert Level 4. The deadline to apply for this short term Variation of Conditions is June 24, 2020.
Other migrants on work visas can also apply for Variation of Conditions of their work visa if they are changing their employer, job, location or want an extension to the study period allowed while working.
Owing to the changing labour market conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic, more New Zealanders are now available for work. During the processing of an Essential Skills Work Visa, INZ may ask employers to provide additional evidence to prove non-availability of New Zealanders in the current labour market, ensure that the job is still valid and can be sustained in the current environment.
In order to be eligible for residence, the conditions of the Work to Residence Visa must be met even in the current situation. Similarly, the conditions for the job offer attached to the Skilled Migrant Category Visa must continue to be met in the present circumstances for the applicant to be eligible for residence.
The borders remain closed to anyone travelling to New Zealand unless they are exempt. Quarantine and isolation requirements apply to anyone who may be allowed under exceptional circumstances. In case an employee is unable to return to New Zealand due to the COVID-19 situation, INZ is urging employers to fill the position with New Zealanders or a migrant who is already in the country with the needed work rights.
Migrants on temporary visas are advised to contact their embassy or consulate to enquire about assistance to get home and flight schedule. They should also get registered with a local travel agent, so they can be easily contacted when an appropriate international flight to take them back to their home countries becomes available.
INZ will take personal circumstances into account when processing visa applications. Also, in cases where international migrants find themselves in the country without a valid visa but are unable to leave New Zealand due to the current situation, they must make a Section 61 request as per the Immigration Act at the earliest.
Professional Visa Solutions is an Auckland based team of immigration experts. We understand the problems being faced by both the employers and employees in these testing times. We are following the COVID-19 developments very closely and are in tune with the changing labour market and its impact on New Zealand immigration and visa procedures. Book your consultation to discuss your current situation with our licensed immigration advisers.