If you have a desire to start a new life in New Zealand, the most important thing to do at the very outset is find out whether you qualify for the type of visa you need.
Frequently Asked Questions
The criteria are set by the New Zealand Government. The Immigration Policy (known as "instructions") is laid out in a very comprehensive Operational Manual.
There are many categories of residence instructions. Those most often used are:
These are available to those seeking to establish and operate a business, or invest capital in New Zealand. There are sub categories, these are:
Investor 1 and 2
Entrepreneur Work and Residence Visa
Available to those seeking re-unification with family members (including children and partners) already in New Zealand or who are citizens or residence visa holders. These cases are often considered the easy ones. But they are often the cases that encounter problems.
New Zealand citizens or residents who have obtained residence as the partner of the principle applicant or under partnership instruction can face restrictions on their ability to bring a new partner or spouse to New Zealand.
Recent changes to acceptance criteria have restricted the ability of parents to join resident children. The use of the Expression of Interest process for parents can cause long delays. Errors in the Expression of Interest can often result in the residence visa application being declined and rights of appeal being lost.
This is available to those with recognised qualifications and skills. The process is on a 'points' system, which is complex. The system is geared towards those who have jobs that are considered skilled.
Many people miscalculate their points using self-assessment tools. Mistakes made in the Expression of Interest can often cause the permanent residence application to be declined.
Residence from work
This is a special category allowing a person to work their way to gaining residence. This is limited to those with highly sought skills and qualifications or job offers carrying a set level salary from employers who have gained a special status with Immigration New Zealand.
Some of the reasons immigration applications have problems include medical conditions, criminal convictions or visa officers misapplying the instructions. If these are handled quickly, it can often save an application from being declined.
These are available in order to facilitate the access of NZ employers and New Zealand industry to global skills and knowledge.
There are also policies relating to partners of New Zealanders and partners of work visa holders.
These are available to those (school age and older) wanting to study in New Zealand. Guardians accompanying school age children are also eligible for a temporary visa.
Visitor visas / Limited purpose visas
These are available to those coming to New Zealand for holidays, family or special events. Visitor visa applicants must prove they are only here for a short time and have funds to cover their stay (a monetary bond may be required).
Companies don't usually need to "sponsor" a worker. Most of the time all that is needed is a formal job offer and (for a work visa) evidence they cannot find a local candidate to do the job. Sponsorship is usually only requested if there are perceived "risks" with the application.
The starting point - you need a job offer. Under New Zealand law this must be in writing usually known as an Individual Employment Agreement ("IEA") or Collective Agreement.
We can assist employers with clauses suited to Immigration processes. We can also review IEA's for migrants unfamiliar with New Zealand labour laws to ensure they receive all their entitlements.
Penalties for employers breaching the Immigration Act 2009 are significant with heavy fines and the possibility of imprisonment for offences relating to exploitation of workers.
Immigration New Zealand actively examines employer records to monitor compliance with labour laws. They have significant power to enter a work place and force records to be handed over for inspection.
A failure to check an employee's immigration status has severe consequences. There is no acceptable excuse given the facilities made available by Immigration New Zealand to allow such checks to be made.
Employers need to have sound processes to ensure work visas are checked and expiry dates monitored.
Poor record keeping especially regarding time and wages can often cause significant problems. Failure to observe labour and immigration laws can cause work and residence visas to be declined. Precautions can also occur.
Our experienced employment law and immigration teams can provide assistance in these areas.
“We had a sensitive immigration visa issue for our adopted son, thankfully we found Turner Hopkins and the service provided by Tim McSweeney and Mahafrin Variava was nothing short of first class. I went from sleepless nights to a sense of calm when the Turner Hopkins team swung into gear and brought a speedy resolution to a complex range of issues, we are extremely grateful for their professionalism but also the friendly nature in which they handled our situation. I really did feel an ease in my worry and anxiety from the very first contact on the phone.”
“Tim McSweeny and Mahafrin Variava have been superb. It was a long journey for my wife and I to get her and our children's residency in NZ but it has been all worth it. When we went to pieces, Tim and Mahafrin kept it together. When we doubted, they reassured. We cannot thank them enough and wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone battling INZ. ”
“We would like to express our sincere appreciation to Mahafrin and Tim in particular, and the Turner Hopkins team for their professionalism and expertise in handling our Immigration matter. With young children and an ill family member overseas, it was critical that we received accurate professional advice and a prompt resolution. Mahafrin and Tim delivered way beyond our expectations with empathy and understanding. Thank you so much, and we will always be so very grateful for your help.”
“Tim and Mahafrin helped us through a rather long and arduous process and were always available to get back to us and update us in good time. They were always professional and to the point, and diligent in pressing INZ about our case. A very good team.”