February 2018
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In This Issue
Team Changes
SUCCESS STORY - IT Call Centre Appeals
Parent Category Reopening?
Skilled Migrant - Work Experience Just Got Harder
Ban on Buying Houses by Non-Residents
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"Thank you so much for your great effort together with your team.  Well done!  I can finally spend my whole life with my family without worrying about my visa status.  I highly recommend your service as you have shown great professionalism and compassion."

Laurent Law Barristers & Solicitors
408 Mt Eden Rd, Mt Eden, Auckland, 1024, New Zealand
Ph.  +64-9-630-0411;  Fax  +64-9-630-0412

We had quite a year of changes in 2017, including staff arrivals and departures.  Our core business remains Immigration.  Major new policies for Residence and Work Visas have made it even more challenging to help people achieve their goals.  A new Government means that more is likely to happen in the next 3 years as well.
We continue to highlight current issues in our  law firm blog.  Subscribe to the blog in order to see up-to-date commentary on trends in the immigration field.

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Yours sincerely
Simon Laurent
LaurentLaw Barristers & Solicitors
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Your comments would be appreciated - including questions which you would like answered directly or in a future instalment.
Our former Senior Consultant, Bill Milnes, has recently moved on to do some work with one of our colleagues after more than 5 years with the firm.  We wish him well.  We also saw Staff Solicitor Mat Martin move on to new adventures overseas in the middle of 2017.
Meanwhile we engaged two talented new lawyers to the office in July 2017:
  • Dew James comes to us after several years at a reputable boutique immigration firm.  She worked closely with Simon on the successful "group appeal" by a number of IT call centre staff mentioned in the next section.  She also has a special interest in the welfare of victims of domestic violence.
  • Jacqui Lee also brought over 4 years of past immigration law practice with her to Laurent Law.  Among other things, she has demonstrated a special flair for Entrepreneur visa work, which requires a high level of thorough attention to detail.
Parent Category Reopening?

Sorry, we don't know yet.  Currently Immigration is still accepting Expressions of Interest (EOIs) from New Zealanders wanting to sponsor their parents for Residence.  The trouble is that they are not selecting any EOIs to invite parents to apply.

The best that can be said is that, according to a Government source, the new Minister of Immigration has asked to be briefed about the policy.  If the category is finally reopened, it is unlikely to happen before the end of 2018.

In the meantime, as explained in a blog post this month from James Turner at the firm, we have found some other ways to help parents stay in NZ.  There is also the option of Parent Retirement Residence for those who can afford it, and multi-entry Parent/Grandparent Visitor Visas, which you can read about here .
Skilled Migrant - Work Experience Just Got Harder
In August last year the Government re-set the policy on the Skilled Migrant Category.  Many things changed, such as setting the minimum salary at just over $50,000 for a job to be treated as "skilled employment".
The other policy tweak is about how you claim points for past work experience.  Now it's called " skilled work experience".  Points are only available if the job was equivalent to a job which could give you points for skilled employment itself.
Another twist faces those who didn't have a formal qualification for that previous job.  You can only claim work experience points after you have worked in the job for the number of years which is said to substitute for a qualification in the job classification system, ANZSCO.
For example:  Someone has worked in France for 9 years as an IT engineer, but they never got an IT degree.  ANZSCO states that 5 years of relevant experience can replace the degree.  This means that the engineer can only claim 7 years of her past work experience for SMC points.
Calculating someone's true points entitlement is now something that needs to be done with care.  It has probably disqualified a lot of people from meeting the high 160 point threshold for Skilled Migrant Residence.
Coming Soon - Ban on Buying Houses by Non-Residents
For the last couple of years Land Information New Zealand has been gathering information about the visa status of property buyers who are not NZ Residents or Citizens.
The new Labour-led Government promised before the Election to clamp down on foreign ownership of New Zealand land.  As part of its "First 100 Days" programme, it introduced a Bill into Parliament in December aimed at stopping non-New Zealanders from buying houses.
The changes proposed are amendments to the Overseas Investment Act 2015.  "Residential land" will be added to the classes of land covered by the Act.  It will be treated as sensitive land so that foreigners will need Overseas Investment Office approval to buy it.  Approval can be granted if the land will be developed so as to add more houses to the market supply; or if the land will be changed to (say) commercial property which will deliver a positive return to New Zealand in the process.
The Government is keen to push through the legislative process as quickly as possible to beat a possible signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. If the legislation is passed before the TPP is signed then it won't breach the agreement,  It could be law by the end of this month.
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