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Eligibility: Immigration vs Employment

There are overlaps between the two but they are different. In this post, I'll attempt to provide some clarity on the differences and similarities using different scenarios. This article also briefly touches upon occupational registration organisations and their criteria

Broadly speaking, immigration eligibility covers a range of factors like health, character, relationships and skills/education. For example 1, a doctor wanting to work in New Zealand would need registration with the Medical Council, which itself requires relevant qualifications and experience. This is an organisation that regulates the work of medical professionals in New Zealand.

The employer may have separate requirements - perhaps including a post-graduate qualification, and 10 years of experience, or other factors.

If the employer submits a job token to Immigration New Zealand (which would be uncommon for a physician role), they would need to include the factors the employer listed in their advertising. Those factors then also crossover into immigration eligibility, as INZ will now require the applicant to meet the criteria set out by the employer in their advertising. This is in contrast to previous work visa/residency criteria which required applicants to meet the ANZSCO requirements

ANZSCO is a set of job codes that attempts to classify types of work, and specify what type of qualifications and/or experience is typically required - this is what Immigration New Zealand rely on to determine whether an applicant is eligible or not. This, in combination with occupational registration (where required), employment criteria, and INZ criteria can be confusing.

Example 2 - a welder. The employer may require 8 years of experience and a level 4 NZQA qualification. No occupational registration is required for this role generally. Under the ANZSCO classification, it is a level 3 position, and so a level 3 qualification or 3 years relevant work experience would be required typically. However, under the Accredited Employer Work Visa scheme, INZ now use the employer's criteria to determine eligibility, so while an applicant may meet the ANZSCO criteria for the role, they will also need to meet what the employer sets out. This seems obvious, that the employer would not have hired an applicant who didn't meet their criteria, but commonly, they will hire someone who doesn't quite meet what was listed in their advertisement, and although they still need them to work in that role, INZ may flag the fact that their experience and qualifications don't match the advert.

Example 3 - a cleaner. As this is considered a low-skilled position under ANZSCO, only limited experience would be required. The employer in this situation has requested in their advert that the applicant has 5 years work experience. And so, when doing the AEWV, INZ will also require evidence of 5 years experience, but with the changes to AEWVs that came through last month, the employer may also be required to engage with Work and Income New Zealand to see if there is a suitable applicant on their books, and the applicant (here, the person applying for a work visa) will also need to demonstrate their English ability if they are not exempt from doing so. In this scenario, the amount of paperwork required, for a low-skilled position, is likely to far outweigh what was required for the welder in example 2.

So from these three examples, we can see that there are different overlapping criteria required by INZ, occupational/regulatory organisations, and employers, and meeting the criteria of one of these does not equal meeting the criteria of all of them. While these examples are intentionally convoluted and confusing, they demonstrate some of the problems that can occur if an applicant or their advocate hasn't done their homework to make sure they are eligible.

This article does not constitute immigration/legal advice. If you need help, please feel free to book in a FREE consultation here.

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