How to plan around Covid-19 impacts

New Zealand's response to the Covid-19 pandemic can be seen to be strong and clear. It is predictable that things in immigration won't be back to normal for some time. This means that if you intend to stay in New Zealand or come to New Zealand that you will need to take this into consideration. How the Government places restrictions on entry or how much INZ and industry will be able to operate as usual will have effects. If you understand these effects and act accordingly, then there is no reason why things won't go well.

There will be little flexibility

If the border is closed to all but essential workers, then however much you really want to come to NZ, you will just need to wait. When there are exceptions for humanitarian reasons or for essential workers, this has a high threshold. Just because you really want to come back to NZ to keep working, does not mean that you meet this threshold. Having to continue paying rent for your flat in NZ or not being able to come back to be with your spouse, etc is hard and very stressful, but it still does not meet the threshold. While we empathize with these kinds of situations, we aim to do the best for our clients by advising them when not to spend money on unnecessary applications as much as when it is good to try for an application.

Start planning early

With restrictions in place it may mean that you can't come to NZ right away, or you can't change jobs right away and so on. But think about what you can do. Is this time best used to improve your English for example? if you are thinking of applying for residence through the SMC you will need a good English score. If your English is just average now, you can spend the lockdown studying and then when things are ready to go again, you will come out ahead.

This is the same with any big application preparation. There are usually a lot more necessary documents than most people realise, but if you start your application sooner, it will give us time to prepare and have things ready to go much sooner. Partnership applications are a good example of this because most people do very little preparation and the applications take much longer or run into more problems because of this. But during the lockdown there is quite a lot of partnership evidence that can be gathered and generated if you know what to do.

Industry changes

After the lockdown there will definitely be economic impacts with more unemployment than before. One response from INZ will definitely be a tougher stance on work visas and proving that there are no New Zealanders available for the work before hiring migrant workers. This may mean that the skills shortage lists will be revised, it may mean that hiring migrant workers will become much more difficult than before. We are expecting that there will be more declines and PPIs about these points than before. 

Be prepared

There will still be ways forward for those who work at it. Immigration to NZ has been becoming more difficult in recent times in any case, and this will most likely continue. The days where almost anyone could get residence with little effort are long past anyway, so it is best to think of it as a continuation of this pattern and do what you need to do to succeed.