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Thread: Working from Home / COVID19

  1. #1
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    Jul 2018
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    Default Working from Home / COVID19

    Hi everyone, with the situation involving COVID-19 the company I'm working is currently rolling out a massive work from home policy for every employee (I work as a software developer). I am currently in Auckland and my visa states that I am allowed to work for this company in Auckland, would working from home be a breach of this condition? Also, since I arrived recently and didn't rent a house yet, with all this situation I am not considering going into a long term house rental for now, I have a cousin who lives in Tauranga and I am considering for the duration of the work from home policy to go there and stay at her house, could that be a breach of the condition in my visa?

    Thanks in advance for any help on that!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2017
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    Interesting question. I do believe you have to be physically in Auckland, at home or in the office. Tauranga might be an issue. Even if you work for your Auckland employer. But I'm not an expert. Looking forward hearing other's which do know the rules opinion.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    I think someone needs to ask this question of INZ. In normal circumstances, each person has to keep to terms of their visa, including their workplace if mentioned. However, with the thousands of people being asked to work at home because of the health restrictions, I wonder if INZ will really want to get into issuing Variations Of Conditions and new visas by the thousand.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    For once, I can't find any concrete information in the operational manual!

    The best that I've been able to find is the generic Work Visa conditions, W2.25, which simply states that applicants "may work only in a specified area or location". This is repeated over in instructions for the Essential Skills Work Visa, WK4.5 (which I'm specifically mentioning because it's probably the most common Work Visa out there). There is no definition of "specified area of location" for work purposes though, so I have no idea whether this is limited to the employer's premises or also extends to working from home.

    However, there is a definition of "place of work" elsewhere in the operational manual -- over in the Skilled Migrant Category section, specifically the section dealing with the award of bonus points for employment outside of the Auckland region (SM6.30). Note that the definition is valid only for this section of the Skilled Migrant Category, but it may give an idea of how INZ would treat these conditions for a Work Visa holder:

    For the purposes of [the provision where SMC bonus points may be awarded for employment outside the Auckland region] ‘place of work’ is defined as a place (whether or not within or forming part of a building, structure or vehicle) where any person is to work, for the time being works, or customarily works, for gain and reward; and includes a place, or part of a place, (not being domestic accommodation provided for the employee):
    • where the employee comes or may come to eat, rest or get first aid or pay; or
    • where the employee comes or may come as part of the employee’s duties to report in or out, get instructions, or deliver goods or vehicles; or
    • through which the employee may or must pass to reach a place of work.


    Given the above -- I would agree with Yanco, and say that it's rather likely that you can only work from home if your home is covered by your visa conditions, and any reasonable person would say that's a safe assumption to make.

    Again, I want to reiterate that I am not a LIA, and my assumption on this matter, while I believe it to be reasonable given what I could find in the operational manual, may be completely wrong. You should contact INZ themselves or ask an LIA (or wait for Erin to answer in this thread!) if you want a concrete answer.

  5. #5
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    Jul 2018
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    New Zealand
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    Thank you all for your replies, really appreciate it!

  6. #6
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    Nov 2016
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    Malaysia
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    Hi,

    Have you find out anything from INZ yet? Could you please update in here if you hear anything from them regarding working from home.

    Thanks

  7. #7
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    Nov 2016
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    Malaysia
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    Stay safe everyone
    Last edited by esther917; 23rd March 2020 at 07:30 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    New Zealand
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    Well it's not like we have much choice now. I'd think given the situation they will allow you to work from home wherever as long as the base stays as Auckland and you return there once this all dies down. Under the rules outlined by Kelerei I'd imagine the key phrases to cover you in this situation are:

    customarily works
    where the employee comes or may come as part of the employee’s duties to report in or out

    Your base in Auckland really fulfills both of these criteria, considering nobody is working from their main office going forward I think the "customarily works" wording is key. INZ should continue to work through as they are seemed an essential service, but right now I wouldn't have thought you have a great deal of choice in the matter. It's a risk just doing it but you have attempted to get answers to no avail.

  9. #9
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    Nov 2016
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    Malaysia
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    Yeah, I tried to reach them unfortunately no reply yet.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    I don't have any specific information from INZ and can't speak from experience, as this is a totally unprecedented event. But alleged breaches of visa conditions are investigated by INZ Compliance and I don't expect that the Compliance team are going to send Officers out in droves to check that people are working from home in the city that their visa states they are limited to. This is an entirely new situation which is covered by very little in the current Operational Manual or Immigration Act. Logic dictates that when the Government directive is that you are to work from home, then home is now your workplace until the Government directive says otherwise.

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