The immigration Minister announced today the Government has decided to reopen the Parent resident visa category in early February 2020 with new requirements. The first selection is scheduled for May 2020. In the meantime, the category will temporarily close from today, 7 October 2019. This means that INZ will not accept expressions of interest (EOIs) from this date.

When the category reopens, 1,000 residence places will be available annually under the category.

Other changes from the current Parent resident visa criteria include:

  • Tier Two of the category will be removed
  • the settlement funds and the guaranteed lifetime income financial eligibility criteria will be removed
  • the new financial requirements for the Parent resident visa can only be met through the income of the sponsor and their partner. Here are the new financial requirements based on a median salary of NZ$53,040:
Expected income thresholds
1 sponsor for 1 parent NZD $106,080 2 times the median salary
1 sponsor for 2 parents NZD $159,120 3 times the median salary
Sponsor and partner  for 1 parent NZD $159,120 3 times the median salary
Sponsor and partner for 2 parents NZD $212,160 4 times the median salary
Guaranteed lifetime income of 1 applicant or for a couple Not available in new parent category
Settlement funds Not available in new parent category
  • sponsors will be required to provide evidence of their annual income through Inland Revenue tax statements, and that they’ve met it for two out of the three years before the application is lodged, and
  • the sponsorship period will be formally aligned with the New Zealand Superannuation residency eligibility requirement.

 Existing EOIs in the queue under the Parent Category

People with EOIs in the system will be emailed to inform them of the changes and invited to either update their EOI or withdraw it. People who withdraw their EOI will be eligible for a fee refund.

When the Parent Category reopens, EOIs will be selected in date order based on the date INZ originally received them (regardless of whether they were submitted under Tier One or Tier Two).

It is estimated that more than 5000 EOI’s are sitting in the pool with the likelihood that at least 80-90% of these will not qualify under the new rules, and will be a bitter pill to swallow considering many have been waiting for such a long period of time. The offer of a refund will be little consolation for the loss of the opportunity of family reunification.

Today’s announcement bears the hallmarks of the challenges face by a coalition government. It has been clear for some time that the Labour party is family orientated and wanted to reopen the category but will have received significant push back with NZ First who effectively pressured the previous National Government into placing a temporary hold on the category in the first place. Increasing the required minimum salary for sponsors to the levels announced will no doubt have been at the direction of or to appease NZ First to ensure the numbers of eligible applicants was as low as possible, their compromise in allowing the category to reopen. There has already been significant condemnation sighting the elitist and unfair nature of the changes, this could certainly not bode well for Labour within the all important migrant electorate in the coming election year.

Conversely for those that do qualify, there will be great relief that there is now light at the end of the tunnel and they can finally make future plans for their parents, the uncertainty of the last 3 years has left so many families in limbo. What isn’t quantifiable is how many highly skilled migrants has New Zealand lost over the last 3 years whilst the category was closed. either those already working in New Zealand that have decided to leave or those who chose not to come at all. At least there is now clarity for all to make informed decisions for their families futures.

If you wish to find out more about this category and your potential eligibility please do not hesitate to get in contact with me [email protected]

Becoming a Residential Care Officer is one possible pathway to live and work in New Zealand.

An offer of employment as a Residential Care Officer may make you eligible to apply for an Essential Skills Work Visa – subject to an employer demonstrating that they have tried to recruit New Zealanders for the position and have been unsuccessful.

Employment as a Residential Care Officer could also allow you to claim points under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) Resident Visa – provided you have sufficient total points to meet the requirements of this points-based resident visa.

What is a Residential Care Officer?

Residential Care Officer is one of the jobs listed by the Australia & New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). The ANZSCO lists the jobs recognized by Immigration New Zealand for visa application purposes. The ANZSCO also lists the Skill Level of each job, which is important information for deciding which visa types an applicant may qualify for. A Residential Care Officer role has a Skill Level of 2.

According to the ANZSCO description, a Residential Care Officer “[p]rovides care and supervision for children or disabled persons in group housing or institutional care.” The ANZSCO also lists the tasks a Residential Care Officer performs as follows:

  • assessing clients’ needs and planning, developing and implementing educational, training and support programs
  • interviewing clients and assessing the nature and extent of difficulties
  • monitoring and reporting on the progress of clients
  • referring clients to agencies that can provide additional help
  • supporting families and providing education and care for children and disabled persons in adult service units, group housing and government institutions


How do you know if you are a Residential Care Officer?

Meeting the standards required of an ANZSCO occupation is not dependant on your job title. Your official job title might be “Residential Care Officer” on your employment contract, but that does not necessarily mean you meet the ANZSCO requirements of the role. Conversely, though your official job title might be completely different from “Residential Care Officer”, you may still meet the ANZSCO requirements. More important than your job title, and even more important than your written job description, are the tasks and duties that you actually perform in your role and how these are able to be evidenced.

Unlike other roles in the care sector, Residential Care Officers are not primarily engaged in looking after the day to day needs of patients and clients. Instead they have strategic and long-term oversight of client care. In this way, Residential Care Officer roles differ from roles like that of Personal Care Assistant, Nursing Support Worker or Aged or Disabled Carer, and carry a higher ANZSCO Skill Level. However, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has shown a tendency to assume roles in the fields of care and welfare, are primarily about personal caregiving. This is why it is important to provide very credible and well-documented evidence in support of an application, proving that you routinely perform the relevant ANZSCO tasks, as core components of your daily work. Recent decisions of the Immigration & Protection Tribunal (IPT) confirm the critical importance of evidence that specifically addresses the Residential Care Officer tasks listed by the ANZSCO.

If you currently work, or plan to work, as a Residential Care Officer, there are a number of immigration pathways to New Zealand potentially available to you. Before making an application it is strongly advised that you seek the guidance of a licensed immigration advisor. Contact Pathways NZ for more detailed information and a free preliminary assessment.

The New Zealand Government’s new KiwiBuild scheme will see changes to immigration settings in order to help the construction and housing sector to attract overseas skilled workers.

The government’s response to New Zealand’s shortage of affordable housing is the new KiwiBuild scheme which will see the construction of 100,000 starter homes for first home buyers over the next ten years, with half of those new houses earmarked for the Auckland region.

The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) projected in late 2017 that there could be a potential shortfall of approximately 30,000 workers to meet increasing demand in housing and infrastructure, with this number likely to rise as a result of the KiwiBuild initiative. The shortage affects all skills categories in the construction sector but particular growth is expected in the demand for plumbers, electricians, builders, civil engineers and project managers.

The proposed changes, which are expected to come in to force late 2018 or early 2019, include three key components.

The first is a dedicated KiwiBuild Skills Shortage List. This list will identify specific roles for which the immigration process will be streamlined. The list will expand on the innovations introduced in the Canterbury Skills Shortage List, which was brought in after the Christchurch earthquake to help with the city’s rebuild.

For roles included on the KiwiBuild Skills Shortage List, an employer may not need to prove to Immigration New Zealand that they have made a genuine attempt to employ a New Zealand citizen or resident visa holder for the position.

The second component of the change will provide advantages for companies who have proven standards as good employers in the construction sector. Employer accreditation or pre-approval should see faster processing and greater simplicity in visa applications.

Employers will be able to benefit from this streamlined process if they reach high standards of health and safety, have good business practices and can demonstrate good employment conditions, pay, training, skills development and pastoral care.

For employers who comply with the pre-approval criteria this will offer greater opportunities to plan their workforce and hire overseas workers to meet the expected demand.

During periods of skills shortage there is often concern around the risk of exploitation of migrant workers through lower wages and poor working conditions. The third component of the proposed changes will put in place steps to minimise that risk by introducing specific requirements for labour hire companies, establishing a mandatory accreditation scheme to cover third party arrangements.

This Immigration New Zealand accreditation is likely to require labour hire companies to pay workers at least the market rate and offer terms and conditions equivalent to the hire company’s other employees, as well as ensuring equity across all employees’ terms and conditions. The accreditation may also see hire companies having to meet the upfront costs of worker recruitment.

Hire companies will also likely be responsible for ensuring that contracted third parties uphold good practices in the workplace.  Failure to comply with this and any of the new proposed changes could mean that Immigration New Zealand could cancel the hire company’s accreditation and the benefits that go with it.

The Government may also consider the option that work visas issued under the KiwiBuild Skills Shortage list may have more flexible conditions and could, for example, require the worker just to work in their specific role and not restrict the worker to a particular employer or location.

Recruiting to meet periods of high demand and maintaining legal and ethical obligations in employing migrant staff can be complex. We recommend that employers begin this process with the benefit of professional advice and assistance on visa matters from an experienced Licenced Immigration Adviser or Immigration Lawyer.

The Pathways New Zealand team will be monitoring progress on these proposals and will confirm the final details of the changes once they are announced.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) are forcefully clamping down on those people that have or are suspected to have used an unlicensed immigration advisers to assist with the preparation of their visa application, this is most notable in India where there has been a significant increase in visa declines especially for spouses of student visa holders.

The issue seems to stem from the many thousands of education agents who can legally advise students and assist with their student visa applications, however unless they are licensed, of which only a handful are,they are not permitted to provide advise or assistance to any accompanying family members. Unfortunately many of the agents are offering to assist the family members by providing advice to complete the applications but trying to hide this by not declaring their provision of assistance on the application forms, which is a legal requirement.

As per section 9 of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007, INZ will not accept applications from unlicensed advisers, but equally INZ requires all applicants to make a truthful declaration on their form. These agents advise the applicants to use their own contact details in the application form and declaring in the forms not to have received any immigration advice with their cases . So not only have applicants taken advice from an unlicensed adviser they have also made a false declaration on their form, which creates an immediate and potential insurmountable character issue for the applicant, most likely to result in the application being declined.

Recently INZ Delhi has declined many partnership applications which were lodged subsequent to approval of student visas to the spouses of these applicants. During the applicant interview, INZ has been asking these applicants whether they took help from any adviser to fill the forms and preparing the documentation for their applications. This becomes a catch 22 for the applicants as if they say no and INZ believe they have then they will have lied in the interview, and if they say yes then INZ will take issue they lied on the form. Most of these applications are being declined on character grounds. Under section 342 of the immigration Act 2009, it is an offence to provide false and misleading information in support of any application or a request for a visa or entry permission.

It is a timely reminder to all potential migrants to New Zealand, and especially those in India, to take a more cautious approach towards their future and being more diligent as to whom they engage with to represent or advise on their immigration requirements. To date these unlicensed advisers/agents have managed to avoid any legal action against them since they are not representing the clients in any formal capacity however, it is the client whose future remains at stake and they are often oblivious of the nature of the risk they undertake by involving unauthorised people in their cases and being complicit in trying to mislead INZ.

The current licensing scheme is under review and we expect the Immigration Advisers Authority will be taking greater steps to clamp down on overseas unlicensed advisers. In the interim it is applicant’s responsibility to make sure they only use licensed advisers in support for their applications.

In order to give New Zealand immigration advice a person must be licensed by the Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA), unless they are exempt from being licensed. Exempt people include New Zealand lawyers, Citizens Advice Bureau workers and education agents who are based offshore and who can offer advice only on student visas. Except for these exempt people it does not matter where a person is located in the world – if they are giving New Zealand immigration advice they are required by law to be licensed.

The licensing of advisers was introduced in 2008 in response to Government and public concerns that migrants were being exploited by unscrupulous operators and losing large sums of money. The Pathways Managing Director Richard Howard was Chairman of the industry association, the NZAMI, at this time and was at the forefront of leading the transition of the industry to becoming regulated. Some 220 advisers were initially licensed based on their industry experience and knowledge and this number gradually grew to about 500 advisers in 2012. In 2013 the Graduate Certificate in New Zealand Immigration Advice qualification was introduced and this then became the requisite requirement for advisers to become licensed. This Certificate was a 6 month full time or one year part time qualification undertaken online by the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic.

Demand for places on the Certificate course has always exceeded the number of places available and as a result the number of licensed advisers has now grown to over 800 – with some 570 based in New Zealand and 230 offshore (including 100 in Australia). The industry is dominated by sole practitioners and very small and diverse businesses, with variable business practices, and this group makes up about 80% of the industry. There are only three significant immigration businesses which have 6 or more Licensed Immigration Advisers (including Pathways!).

The adviser industry has been concerned for some time that the Certificate qualification was too superficial and not sufficiently comprehensive and challenging to prepare graduates for the complexities and real life situations that full time advisers see on a daily basis. As a consequence of these concerns, which were acknowledged by the IAA, a new qualification the Graduate Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice, will begin in 2016 replacing the existing Certificate qualification. The Diploma will also be undertaken online through the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic however it will be a one year full time, or two year part time, course. Pathways’ Richard Howard is a member of the IAA steering committee advising on the formulation and content of the new Diploma qualification.

Graduates of the new Diploma qualification will only be eligible to hold a Provisional Immigration Advisers license which requires that they be supervised by a full license holder. After two years of provisional licencing and supervision the person can apply for their full Immigration Advisers License. The challenge will be whether sufficient full license holders will put themselves forward for the required supervision roles.

In addition to these qualification and licensing changes the IAA is also introducing more specific requirements for the continuing professional development of immigration advisers which will promote more active and directed learning activities for all advisers.
Pathways welcomes the higher standards now being required for immigration advisers to become licensed. We expect these changes will eventually effect a slowdown in the rate of advisers becoming licensed and see new graduates being more “job ready” than what is presently the case.

Whilst there is no requirement for a migrant to use the services of an immigration adviser they can benefit significantly from the advice and expertise of an experienced and reputable adviser.

The first and most reliable way to choose an adviser is by referral from someone who has previously used and recommended the adviser. Approximately 80% of Pathways new clients are referred to us.

Advisers must be licensed and maintain a current license (renewed annual) from the Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA). The IAA website maintains a searchable list of advisers. The website can be used to find an adviser and/or verify that the person you are thinking of engaging with is suitably licensed and eligible to represent you.

Each adviser has their own unique 9 digit license number. The first 4 numbers signify the year that the adviser first became licensed, this therefore becomes an immediate reference to the level of experience that person has. As licensing was introduced in 2008 the most experienced advisers numbers will begin with 2008 as do 3 of the advisers at Pathways.

Given the level of experience can be indicated by the adviser’s license number it should also be established the size of the organisation that the adviser works for and the depth of experience within the company. A relatively new adviser maybe working in a company of 5+ advisers where there is significant combined experience and structured supervision and governance. In addition a robust company infrastructure will ensure that an advisers business can continue to function seamlessly if the adviser is absent. There should always be someone who can be contacted and who is knowledgeable about your application. At Pathways we have 11 advisers who combined have over 80 years of New Zealand immigration experience as well as experienced support staff.

Look beyond the website – in this day and age it is very easy to create a great website that can create the impression of professionalism and experience. It’s really important to dig under the surface and establish just how experienced the person is, not only general experience but have they got the actual relevant experience to understand and assist with your specific requirements.

Is the adviser a member of a credible professional industry body – NZAMI (New Zealand Association of Migration and Investment) is the main professional body an adviser is most likely to be a member of.

The public profile of the adviser within the industry. Are they involved with industry reference groups?
Pathways director Richard Howard is regularly invited to participate on industry reference groups –he is currently on the panel overseeing the development of the new adviser qualification and regularly meets with INZ senior executives to provide industry feedback.

Do they present at industry seminars?
Several of Pathways advisers have been invited to present at NZAMI adviser professional development seminars, most recently Anthony Callaghan presented on deportation liability for residents convicted of offences after residence granted, and Charlotte Summers presented on Domestic Violence Matters and Immigration Law.

Ultimately once you’ve established that the person has the credentials to manage your requirements do you think you can work with them? You may be working with that person for a number of months so above all you have to feel confident that you can trust each other and work together as a team to achieve your goal.