At the time of writing, New Zealand has just moved to Alert Level 1 of the COVID-19 response. We have been back at the office for the last couple of weeks. To all intents and purposes, business has returned to "normal". We are seeing clients and getting on with solving their problems in the same way as we have done for many years.
However, immigration - and particularly the ability to enter New Zealand - is profoundly different. Some in the industry expect the closure of the border to remain in place for at least the next 12 months. Some are able to enter the country under the categories of exceptions published by the Government. The approval rate for those who apply to come in is only about 20%, so we understand.
This is creating real hardship both for visa-holders who left their lives in New Zealand temporarily and found that they are not allowed back in; and for families of visa holders who cannot join partners or parents who are still in the country. It is hurting businesses who want to bring in staff, to fill jobs that locals still don't want to do.
Immigration New Zealand is not providing enough clarity or direction about how these problems will be resolved. We may be able to help in some cases but, like our professional colleagues, we cannot promise too much.
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Yours sincerely Simon Laurent LaurentLaw Barristers & Solicitors
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Character Waivers - watch the video
Everyone applying for a visa - whether on- or offshore - must prove that they are of "good character". People who have criminal convictions, or have supplied false information in a visa application, need to pass the Character Waiver test.
The contraction of the NZ economy has already led to many businesses shutting down or reducing staff.
Unemployment of New Zealanders may top 10%. This poses a real threat to migrants who are applying for Work Visas based on an offer of a job.
Sahar Shamia covers this in
her latest blog. We are already starting to get letters from Immigration asking employers to prove that they still can't fill positions from the local market, even though they supplied good evidence that they had advertised prior to the COVID-19 lockdown. We suspect that the Government wants to decline most migrant Work Visas unless it is confronted by very good reasons not to do so.
If you are facing such a situation right now, you need our help, and you need to
contact us quickly so that we have time to make a difference.
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