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Multiple entry visas for nationals of the People’s Republic of China

Immigration New Zealand has announced a new visa scheme for people from the People’s Republic of China, starting on the 8th of May 2017.

Five-year multiple entry visas may be granted to nationals of the People’s Republic of China who want to travel to New Zealand as tourists, to visit family or for business.
However, each application will be considered for the grant of a five year visa on its own merits, taking into account such things as the length of time an applicant wants to stay in New Zealand, the date of the expiry of the applicant’s passport. Visas will not be granted for a period that exceeds the validity of an applicant’s passport. As with all visa applications, there is no guarantee that a five-year visa will be granted for any particular application.

However, this visa may not be right for your purposes for travelling to New Zealand. If you intend to stay in New Zealand for visits of more than one month at a time, rather than for short term visits over a five year period, a single entry visa rather that a multiple entry visa would probably be better for you.

If you are granted a five-year visa you will generally be allowed a stay in New Zealand of one month on each visit. However, visitors are limited to a stay of 9 months in any 18 month period. If you have visited New Zealand several times over an 18 month period, those visits cannot be for a total of more than 9 months.

The cost of the five-year visa is the same a the standard visitor visa fee – NZ$165 for an online application or RMB¥895 for a paper application.

New penalties for employers who breach employment standards

On 23 February 2017 the Minister for Immigration announced measures to restrict access to migrant labour by employers who have incurred employment standards-related penalties. The new measures demonstrate a tougher stance on migrant exploitation, in recognition of the fact that some migrants are not aware of their rights and entitlements as New Zealand workers.

The new measures come into effect on 1 April 2017. From that date, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will enforce stand-down periods for non-compliant employers who breach employment standards. Those employers will not be able to recruit migrants for a period of time after an infringement.

Employers should be aware that while the new measures have been designed for a 1 April 2017 implementation date, employers who have incurred penalties or infringement notices before 1 April 2017 will be added to Immigration New Zealand’s  list of these employers and visa applications will be judged against immigration instructions which require compliance with employment law.

New Zealand employers must comply with New Zealand’s regulated minimum employment standards. The new measures will provide a defined threshold and will mean that, in situations where an employer has incurred a penalty for a breach of employment standards, there will be a set stand-down period preventing them from recruiting migrant labour for either six months, one year, 18 months, or two years, depending on the severity of the breach.

The stand-down period will be proportionate to the seriousness of the breach, and therefore the penalty amount. There will be a fixed gradation aligned with the level of the penalty. For example, when a penalty is issued to a company:

  •  a 6 month stand-down will apply for a penalty up to and including $1000
  •  a 12 month stand-down will apply for penalties over $1000 but less than $20,000
  •  an 18 month stand-down will apply for penalties of $20,000 and over but less than $50,000
  • a 24 month stand-down will apply for penalties of $50,000 and above.

Changes to the Essential Skills in Demand Lists

13 February 2017

Immigration New Zealand has announced that they have completed the yearly review of the Essential Skills in Demand Lists, which include the Long Term Skill Shortage List and the Immediate Skill Shortage List. The Canterbury Skill Shortage List has not changed.

The changes are not surprising as they reflect the ever-changing needs of the labour market. The changes are due to come into effect on 27 February 2017. However, further changes will be made as further review work is being carried out on the lists to review the qualifications, for example.

Immediate Skill Shortage List changes:

The following 7 occupations have been added to the list:

  • Bricklayer (only for the Auckland/Upper North Island region)
  • Cabler (Data and Telecommunications) (for all regions of New Zealand)
  • Composite Technician (for all regions of New Zealand)
  • Floor Finisher (only for the Auckland/Upper North Island and Waikato/Bay of Plenty regions)
  • Stonemason(only for the Auckland/Upper North Island region)
  • Telecommunications Cable Jointer (for all regions of New Zealand)
  • Telecommunications Technician (for all regions of New Zealand)

Remove the following 2 occupations for which there is no longer a shortage:

  • Registered Nurse (Mental Health)
  • Upholsterer

If you have a job offer in an occupation on the ISSL you may be granted a work visa under Essential Skills instructions if you meet the specified qualifications and/or experience requirements.

Long Term Skill Shortage List changes:

Remove the following two occupations for which there is no longer a shortage:

  • Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency)
  • Registered Nurse (Medical)
  • Registered Nurse (Perioperative)
  • Ship’s Engineer
  • Ship’s Master
  • Ship’s Officer

Move Registered Nurse (Aged Care) from the LTSSL to the ISSL, for all regions of New Zealand.

If you have a job offer in one of these occupations you may be granted a work visa under the LTSSL Work to Residence or Essential Skills instructions. If you are applying for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category you may gain bonus points towards your application if you have an offer of employment, work experience or qualifications in an area of absolute skill shortage identified on the LTSSL.

As the changes will come into effect on the 27th of February 2017, there is still time to put an application in for a work visa if you have a job offer in an occupation that is going to be removed.

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