New Zealand to increase job-hunting time for immigrants

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Skilled migrants that come to New Zealand under the Work to Residency program will have more time to find employment, according to Immigration Minister David Cunliffe.

"We have listened and acted on the considerable feedback from the migrant community regarding the time that some prospective migrants need to come here and find a skilled position," said Cunliffe.

"People granted Work to Residence permits under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) will, from 10 April, be given nine months instead of six to find a job. Overseas applicants will also be given an additional three months to get to New Zealand before that nine months begins."

Cunliffe also stated that skilled migrants who find a job will not have to work for three months before getting residence - it will be granted immediately.

Those already in New Zealand will have a transitional policy as well. Immigration officers will be granted the ability to waive some immigration fees after the Expression of Interest (EOI) stage.

The Work to Residence program is for migrants who meet the requirements of the SMC but need to prove their ability to be employed before being granted residence. Those approved under the SMC who already have a job or job offer usually receive residence immediately.

The changes made to the Work to Residence program are an ongoing project by the New Zealand government in revamping their immigration policy. According to Cunliffe, more changes are in order intended to "enhance" New Zealand's ability attract top talent from around the world.

"We certainly don't want to miss out on those skilled people who have potential to make a real contribution at a time employers need skilled labor to move their businesses forward," said Cunliffe.


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