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Helping Employers Tap Into Global Talent

29 April 2002

Details of a new immigration policy - the Work-to-Residence Programme – which will assist New Zealand employers to recruit talent from overseas, were unveiled by Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel today.

The policy, announced last December as the government’s “Talent Visa” initiative, simplifies existing immigration rules for skilled migrants applying to work and live in New Zealand and is part of the government’s strategy to further boost economic performance.

The policy stems from the business community, particularly employers, calling for easier ways to tap into the global labour market and allowing New Zealand employers to recruit talented and skilled people specific to their needs, Lianne Dalziel said.

“The need for New Zealand’s immigration policy to attract talented people was widely discussed at the Government-Business Forums and at major conferences such as The Knowledge Wave and Innovate. Today’s announcement is the government’s response to this need,” Lianne Dalziel said.

“We recognise the importance to employers of retaining skilled migrants after they arrive, and the need for an efficient process allowing easy transition to residence.

“Under the Work-to-Residence scheme, once those who are recruited by an accredited employer work here for two years, secure a qualified offer on ongoing employment, and meet health and character requirements, they can become New Zealand residents. It is a major advantage to attract talented people to work here. There is a simple transition to residence as an incentive to experience New Zealand life with a guarantee that, provided the conditions of the visa are met, they can stay if they wish,” Lianne Dalziel said.

Options included in the new Work-to-Residence programme:

Talent (Accredited Employers) Work Policy
Aimed at employers who regularly recruit talent from overseas, employers become “accredited” so that the people they recruit can access the Talent Visa. People with job-offers from “accredited” employers have a more streamlined approvals process for their work permits and visas. Employers apply for accreditation every 12 months and are expected to meet criteria relating to their workplace practices and commercial viability.
Priority Occupations Work Policy
Enables employers to offer work to people in occupations that the government identifies as “priorities” because of critical skills shortage in those occupations.

Both the Talent Visa and Priority Occupations Work Policy hinge around a salary minimum of $45,000 with the ongoing employment offers.

The New Zealand Immigration Service (NZIS) will administer the programme, and New Zealand employers will soon to be contacted about the new Work-to -Residence options. NZIS will also hold special workshops for employers interested in the programme.

“I am personally writing to employers explaining how the new immigration policy can benefit them in their efforts to attract and retain talent from the global labour market before these people are snapped up by employers from other countries.

“The crux of the new initiatives is about quick and simple access to the global labour market. As a result, we aim to make New Zealand more internationally competitive with the ability to capitalise on positive economic opportunities. New Zealand will benefit from the skills and talent these people bring with them,” Lianne Dalziel said.

The policy also has provisions which allow arts, cultural and sports organisations to sponsor people with exceptional talent in those fields.


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