Post-lockdown labour market test

A Visa Pak (a memo released to all INZ staff containing details of how to interpret immigration instructions) was released on 13 May 2020, outlining how INZ staff should assess Essential Skills work visa applications in the post-Covid-19-lockdown labour market.

The full text of the Visa Pak can be found here: In summary, it outlines:

  • immigration officers must be satisfied at the time of assessment that immigration instructions are met and that there are no suitable New Zealanders available (and this test does not anticipate future changes to the labour market);
    • when an application is assessed, employers may be asked for updated information about the availability of New Zealanders for the role being offered;
    • the genuineness and sustainability of employment must be assessed according to concrete information and evidence specific to the employment that is offered to a migrant worker;
    • employers should be asked to confirm that a job offer remains valid, and whether they expect the employment to be sustainable over the duration of the employment offered.

In pre-lockdown times, an immigration officer would be satisfied that the labour market test had been met due to the employer making genuine attempts to recruit New Zealanders for a vacancy by way of advertising the role and no New Zealanders were found to be available.

But rising unemployment rates post-lockdown now means that INZ will request further information and evidence from employers to show that, despite earlier attempts to recruit New Zealanders, there are still now no New Zealanders to do the work being offered to a migrant.

INZ have said that the types of evidence proving this might entail will vary and it has been confirmed in previous comms that re-advertising the role is not necessarily required. Suggestions of the type of evidence that might be provided include proof of ongoing recruitment of New Zealanders for similar roles, an explanation from an employer that the skills required are not available in the domestic market or an employer demonstrating that there is a shortage of New Zealanders for a particular occupation.

INZ have also said that they will be asking employers to confirm that a job offer made remains valid and whether they expect the employment to be sustainable.

There is no doubt that the process to obtain a work visa is going to become tougher going forward. Goodhue Immigration can help you and your employer negotiate this changing process – get in touch today,