If a man knows not which port he sails, no wind is favourable.23 Feb 2021

At the start of 2021, you’d be hard-pressed not to take a leaf from the book of the Roman Stoic Seneca. The expanded meaning behind this pithy quote is simply - Have a vision, form a plan.

With the objectives you need to accomplish, stay focused - while things will change and you’ll stray – stop, adjust your sails and get back on course to your destination (how appropriate for our America’s Cup crews!)

So where is your port of choice, where are you and your business heading in 2021?

With global business confidence growing and encouraging signs that public health efforts will lead to the resumption of freedom of travel to some degree
the danger is that businesses could be tempted to simply wait and see what pans out before taking action. One key learning taken from 2021 was how quickly business activity picked up post the lockdown. Business commentators have noted those who retained their skilled staff were among the best placed, and earliest, to lead and benefit from this rebound. Attracting, developing and retaining skilled staff to take your business to its “port of choice” will be one of the important focuses for 2021 and, because of the size of our working population and the ongoing border closure, our current skilled migrant workers look set to play a crucial role in many New Zealand businesses.

Immigration policies can be complex and changes, especially over the past year due to COVID and our border closures, have been frequent and challenging to keep abreast of. This will continue to be the norm in 2021!

What we do know is that later this year Immigration New Zealand will introduce wide-sweeping changes which will impact on all employers employing migrant workers. In short, six different work visa categories will be merged into one work visa category and ALL EMPLOYERS who employ migrant workers on employer-assisted (not open) work visas must become accredited by Immigration New Zealand before they can support any new work visa applicants. There will be three levels of accreditation. These changes will also require employers to take on wider and greater responsibilities for their migrant workers, including for their visa requirements.

In anticipation of these changes, and to support employers to be immigration compliant and best placed to achieve INZ accreditation, we encourage all businesses employing migrants to undertake an immigration audit so any issues can be identified and addressed in advance. Such an audit can also identify and detail the visa plan for the ongoing immediate and long-term retention of key migrant staff. Many migrant employees are focussed on obtaining long term residence, and employers who can support these employees along the pathway to residence are well placed to retain such employees for the long term. Such an audit should also form part of the due diligence process for any business merger or acquisition as migrant workers are very likely to require changes to their visas in order to remain working.

The Pathways Immigration Audit is a comprehensive and professional audit which will suitably address the above matters - and is a good starting point to begin your navigation of the year ahead and to be well placed to reach your destination port. If we can be of help in pointing your business in the right direction, then – let’s talk!

Link: First published in Waikato Business News January/February Volume 29: Issue 1 2021 Page 12