As 2022 comes to an end, it is good to take time to reflect on what a year it has been. In the immigration space it has been a year of new beginnings, learning, professional development and all round resilience, a year that will go down in history. We felt like Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has delivered new updates or changes almost weekly and we have been kept on our toes, all the while keeping our clients in the loop. We started off the year with three immigration professionals on the team and now have three Licensed Immigration Advisers (LIAs), one LIA in the making, and two admin staff. The key word for 2022 in the Trinity immigration team has been GROWTH.
The year started with the arrival of the 2021 Resident visas and this ‘gift’ to migrants left us immigration professionals waiting in anticipation for what was to come next. After 10 years working with Immigration New Zealand, it is apparent that a gift like this will always be the gateway for policy changes to come. 2021 Resident visa applications for the most part have been a simple navigation, however the new ADEPT system has left us without human communication and constantly having to reassure our clients that there isn’t a method to the processing order, and instead INZ case offices have been trying to make it through the shear amount of applications that they received all at once. The residence category has now granted resident visas to over 200,000 migrants.
While these resident visas were being processed, the implication of the much anticipated Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) was introduced, and six previous work visa categories were made redundant. The process introduced three new steps, accreditation for the employer, a job check to make sure the job was compliant with the AEWV policy and to show no New Zealanders were available for the role, and lastly the migrant check, to grant the visa. This category has undergone a teething stage throughout 2022 with Immigration professionals, employers, HR and recruitment professionals, and even INZ staff themselves all evolving and working together to make the category work.
The Green List was also introduced, which provided a select number of professionals with the opportunity to gain residency in New Zealand, however this did not cover all industries which were left struggling post-Covid. Also, the Skilled Migrant Category was yet to open- so with the lack of a pathway to residency, many migrants have been deterred.
Here at Trinity, we created a working relationship with Omanfil, an employment agency in the Philippines and through this relationship, we helped many employers secure migrant workers into vacancies. We have navigated both the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) process as well as the Immigration New Zealand Accredited Employer Work Visa process.
With the borders opening, many New Zealanders left the country and our new and complex system has made it hard to attract skilled migrants against the policies that countries such as Australia and Canada were offering.
Later in the year we had the reopening of Skilled Migrant Category with the points threshold rising from 160 to 180 points and a whole new system being proposed for 2023. Parent category has also reopened after years of lying dormant, but the reality of parents arriving in the next couple of years is unlikely.
Just when we thought we were winding down for the year, INZ took consultation from the stakeholders and announced further positions to be added to the Green List, delivered on the new variation of conditions policies, and provided an extension on all employers (employers of partners and working holiday visa holders) needing to be accredited.
The 2022/2023 break is certainly a welcomed one and our Immigration team at Trinity look forward to spending the time not only recharging but also planning and reflecting on all the ways that we can help both employers and migrants in their journeys in 2023.
- Jamee Zohs, Immigration Business Manager and Licensed Immigration Adviser at Trinity (IAA 201200838)