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General Skills

General Skills Category

Question 1. Full-Time Work & Relevancy of Experience

Work experience must be relevant to the qualification if the applicant does not have a job offer. If you have a job offer then your work experience does not have to be relevant (the job offer does not have to relevant to your qualification).

You will only be awarded points for full-time work experience i.e. you must have worked in your trade for at least 30 hours per week. However work experience can be calculated on a pro-rata basis i.e. if you worked for 15 hours for two weeks this will equal one week of full-time work (30 hours) and so on.

As long as you meet this criteria it does not matter that you studied part-time after work. Work experience gained after you obtained your qualification is considered relevant if your qualification is an important factor in you being able to obtain, continue, or advance in your position or field of employment.

Work experience gained before you obtained your qualification is considered relevant if you can show your career path has advanced progressively from your pre-qualification work experience.

The relevance of work experience to a qualification may not be immediately obvious. For example we have successfully argued the following cases:

1. A client had Bachelor of Arts degree (English major). Her work experience as a stock-broker was accepted as relevant;
2. A client had a BA in Psychology. Her work experience as a tour consultant was accepted as relevant;
3. A client had a BA in French literature. His work experience as an accountant was accepted as relevant (and so was his NZ job offer for the position of accountant).

It is important to note that work experience will also not be awarded points if it was gained before you were 20 years old or if it was an integral part of your training or course work.

If NZ law requires your trade to be registered (for e.g. plumbers, gas-fitters, drain-layers and electricians) then you must be registered with the relevant professional body before you can apply for residency

Question 2. Refusals of Application that meet the Pass Mark & Residence Appeals

I have sufficient points to meet the pass mark under the General Skills Category. Can NZIS decline my application, and if so, can I appeal this decision?

NZIS follows a policy of "front-end" loading. This means your application must be complete when it is submitted. If something is missing or a document is incomplete then NZIS may not accept your application even if you have enough points to meet the existing pass mark.

Assuming the application and supporting documentation are in order NZIS may decline to grant residency for the following reasons:

1. Good Health

All migrants must be of "Good Health". A residence permit will not be issued if the applicant has active tuberculosis, requires dialysis treatment or has a mental disorder / intellectual handicap that needed hospitalisation / supervised residence for more than 90 days within the last 2 years. You will not normally be granted residence if you have infections or communicable disease other than TB or you need surgery which is likely to create a severe strain on the NZ health system. However such cases are not automatically declined but the applicant's surrounding circumstances are looked to see if they warrant a medical waiver (such as their family ties to NZ and potential contribution to NZ).

A woman who was 169 cm in height and weighed 122 kg was declined residence on health grounds (obesity).

2. Good Character

All migrants must be of "Good Character". A permit of any kind will not be issued for example if a person has been sentenced to imprisonment of 5 years or more at any time or if in the last 10 years has been sentenced to imprisonment for 12 months or more.

A person will not normally be granted a permit if for example he/she has been convicted at any time of an offence against the citizenship, immigration or passport laws of any country. However as in Good Health above the applicant's surrounding circumstances will be looked at to see if they warrant a Good Character waiver.

For example our associates in New Zealand successfully obtained a residence permit on behalf of a client who was sentenced to two suspended prison terms under 12 months each and is on probation and also had to pay a considerable fine. However he has very strong family ties to NZ and can invest a substantial amount of money in a NZ business.

NZIS is required to give reasons in writing for declining an application. Also if NZIS receive any information that is prejudicial to your application you must be given an opportunity to comment on it. If your residence application is declined you can appeal to the Residence Appeal Authority ("RAA"). This must be done within 42 days of after you have been notified of the refusal to issue a residence permit or visa.

The RAA is located in Wellington and accepts written appeals. You are not required to attend a hearing. The RAA fee is $510.00 The RAA can take up to a year to make a decision on an appeal as they are understaffed. The RAA will determine if the decision by NZIS was correct according to immigration policy. If it decides the decision was correct then it will consider whether there are special circumstances of the case to warrant consideration by the Minister of Immigration to grant residence as an exception to immigration policy.

For example our New Zealand associates have successfully appealed a NZIS decision deckling an application for residence under the Family Category-Adult Child on the grounds that our client had special circumstances. These included his strong family ties to NZ (his mother and step-siblings are all resident in NZ) and the length of time he had lived in NZ (22 years out of the last 28 years).

Question 3. Partially Completed Tertiary Qualifications

I have partially completed my qualification by studying for 3 years at Moscow State University (I was studying for an Interpreting qualification from the Department of International Relations). Can my partially completed qualification be recognised?

Immigration policy states that points may not be awarded for partially completed qualifications. You have explained that you have completed 3 years of study at the Moscow State University. We presume you have not graduated with your intended qualification. Your qualification must be listed on the NZIS List of Recognised Qualifications, if not, it must be assessed by NZQA.

Question 4. NZ Work Experience & English Language Background

I have just been issued with a 1 1/2 year Work Permit. Do I still need to pass the IELTS test?

You will be exempt from sitting the IELTS test if you can provide evidence that:

1. You have been employed full-time (at least 30 hours a week) in NZ in an occupation for a minimum of 12 months; and
2. Where English was the language of employment; and
3 The employment is relevant to your qualification; and
4 You had a valid work permit during the period you were working.

Although you have a 1 1/2 year work permit you must meet the above criteria. For example a Thai chef working for a Thai restaurant for one year where only Thai is spoken in the kitchen would not meet this criteria as the language of employment was not English.

Family Category

Question 1. Family Category-Parent & Sibling

I have NZ residence and live in NZ permanently. I wish to sponsor my mother for residency. I am her only child living in NZ and she has two other children living back home in England. Can I sponsor my mother for residency? One of my sisters (a teacher) living in England is thinking about migrating to NZ.

You cannot sponsor your mother under the Family Category as she has more children in her home country than in NZ.

If your sister obtains NZ residency and lives in NZ then you will be able to sponsor your mother under the Family Category. Whether or not she meets the Good Health requirement depends on the seriousness of your mother's diabetes. Even if she is deemed not to be of Good Health she may be able to get a medical waiver on the basis of her surrounding circumstances (see answer to Question 3 above).

You will not be able to sponsor your sister under the Family Category as she is not alone in her home country (i.e. she has her brother, mother and child there).

Your sister may be able to apply under the General Skills category. However as she has a teaching qualification she must first be a fully registered teacher in NZ. This registration process can take up to 2 years to complete. Alternatively if she has a NZ job offer relevant to her qualification for a position that does not require registration then she does not need to be registered as a teacher.

Our New Zealand associates have successfully obtained residence for a client who had 14 years secondary school teaching experience but as she had a PhD we argued that she could lecture at a university or polytechnic which does not require registration. She did not require a job offer as a lecturer. NZIS accepted our associates submissions and granted residence.

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