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Thread: Working Hours Reduced - Impact on SMC Resident Visa Application

  1. #1
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    Default Working Hours Reduced - Impact on SMC Resident Visa Application

    Hi Everyone,

    Hope you are all keeping safe during these times.

    I have a question regarding my SMC Resident application and unfortunately, I'm having trouble finding any relevant threads.

    As per operational manual, employment in New Zealand will be assessed as skilled if (a)(i) employment is $25.50 per hour or above and (c) the employment is full-time (employment is full-time if it amounts to, on average, 30 hours per week over an agreed pay period).

    I'm working in the construction industry and due to Level 4 lock down for the past month, my employer has chosen to proceed the coming 6 weeks with the Wage Subsidy and has decided to reduce my working hours to almost half (Less than 20 hours per week) to suit the wage subsidy. This ensures that my salary rate per hour stays the same, but with less working hours per week.

    My question is, given my newly adjusted working hours, will this have an impact on my current SMC Resident Visa application? If it does, can you please enlighten me on the next probable steps? Do I need to advise INZ on the changes to my working hours?

    I lodge my application in Feb 2019 and have been waiting for a CO allocation since then. It'll be so disheartening if INZ decides not to proceed with my application given the current situation.

    Any advise is truly appreciated, thanks.

  2. #2
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    In your place, though you're quite right and there is an obligation to tell INZ about any new circumstances, I wouldn't be in any hurry to tell them about changes, because EVERYTHING under the provisions of the pandemic declaration is provisional. In the present situation, nobody at INZ is taking any notice of SMC applications waiting in the queue. They're not processing your case yet, or even thinking about it. By the time things get moving once more for INZ (their workers have been mostly locked down, too), it's likely that your situation will also be changed again.

  3. #3
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    This is a really common scenario that I am hearing instances of every day at the moment. These are unprecedented times and it will no doubt take some months for working hours and pay rates to return to "normal" - or even a different "normal" to what was before. We just don't know what the next few months is going to bring in terms of the economy and INZ have indicated (albeit very vaguely) that they are aware the people's circumstances have changed and this will be taken into account in the assessment of visa applications going forward. They just haven't explicitly said what that will look like, as no one knows what the "new normal" is going to be.

    Please be assured that many, many other people are in the same boat as you. No need to advise INZ of any changes at this point - for the simple fact that there is no one in any of the offices to tell. And this change is likely only temporary.

    My advice would be to keep evidence of these changes in your circumstances - documents showing how you were advised of the changes, etc. and keep these handy, should INZ ask for evidence of them when they get to your application for processing. That way, you've got supporting evidence to back up your scenario and INZ can verify this.

  4. #4
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    Hi JandM and Erin,

    Thank you so much for the wonderful advice, it is much appreciated.

    Keep safe and take care

  5. #5
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    Statement made by INZ today in an email update to LIA's:

    "INZ understands that many migrants may have lost their job or had their hours of work and/or wages reduced as a result of COVID-19 and New Zealand’s Alert level system, which means they are not meeting their visa requirements. INZ will be taking a reasonable approach to individuals in this situation and we will not be focussing our compliance activity on these individuals in the first instance. INZ will also take into account any impacts on an individual’s employment history as a result of COIVD-19 during the assessment of any future applications and decisions will be made on a case by case basis based on their individual circumstances. INZ is unable to give any long term certainty to migrants on temporary visas at this time as there are a number of unknowns that we currently need to work through, including taking into account the wider economy and labour market."

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by EGoodhue View Post
    Statement made by INZ today in an email update to LIA's:

    "INZ understands that many migrants may have lost their job or had their hours of work and/or wages reduced as a result of COVID-19 and New Zealand’s Alert level system, which means they are not meeting their visa requirements. INZ will be taking a reasonable approach to individuals in this situation and we will not be focussing our compliance activity on these individuals in the first instance. INZ will also take into account any impacts on an individual’s employment history as a result of COIVD-19 during the assessment of any future applications and decisions will be made on a case by case basis based on their individual circumstances. INZ is unable to give any long term certainty to migrants on temporary visas at this time as there are a number of unknowns that we currently need to work through, including taking into account the wider economy and labour market."
    That's good that INZ is being practical and realistic about the current situation, and sounds like they would be lenient on the visa holders if the condition of the visa has not been met in these recent times, and from the last line, I understand they would not issue long term visas/certainty (like 2,3,5 years) unless absolutely necessary skills applicants have got and this would help to employ NZers/Residents to take those opportunities.

    My understanding may be totally wrong, so I would appreciate more thoughts on this.

  7. #7
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    I'm not sure that INZ are looking at changing the currency timeframes of work visas, but I think they are indicating that any work visa applications already lodged but not yet decided, as well as any future work visa applications made, are going to be subject to very strict labour market tests. Employer's may need to make a stronger case for why a migrant needs to be hired instead of a NZer and more evidence of trying to recruit or train NZer's (other than just advertising) might need to be provided. WINZ are likely to start some new initiatives around helping out-of-work NZer's back into jobs and I believe that INZ will consider these when deciding whether there are no NZers to take up the job offered.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by EGoodhue View Post
    I'm not sure that INZ are looking at changing the currency timeframes of work visas, but I think they are indicating that any work visa applications already lodged but not yet decided, as well as any future work visa applications made, are going to be subject to very strict labour market tests. Employer's may need to make a stronger case for why a migrant needs to be hired instead of a NZer and more evidence of trying to recruit or train NZer's (other than just advertising) might need to be provided. WINZ are likely to start some new initiatives around helping out-of-work NZer's back into jobs and I believe that INZ will consider these when deciding whether there are no NZers to take up the job offered.
    do you think this will include if SMC application has already been lodged?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by robbo1234 View Post
    do you think this will include if SMC application has already been lodged?
    No, I don't believe so. Labour market test isn't part of the SMC process and by having employment that is considered "skilled", an applicant is showing that they meet the objective of SMC policy, which is to facilitate the transfer of skills where there is an identified need for them in the NZ labour market.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cherza88 View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    Hope you are all keeping safe during these times.

    I have a question regarding my SMC Resident application and unfortunately, I'm having trouble finding any relevant threads.

    As per operational manual, employment in New Zealand will be assessed as skilled if (a)(i) employment is $25.50 per hour or above and (c) the employment is full-time (employment is full-time if it amounts to, on average, 30 hours per week over an agreed pay period).

    I'm working in the construction industry and due to Level 4 lock down for the past month, my employer has chosen to proceed the coming 6 weeks with the Wage Subsidy and has decided to reduce my working hours to almost half (Less than 20 hours per week) to suit the wage subsidy. This ensures that my salary rate per hour stays the same, but with less working hours per week.

    My question is, given my newly adjusted working hours, will this have an impact on my current SMC Resident Visa application? If it does, can you please enlighten me on the next probable steps? Do I need to advise INZ on the changes to my working hours?

    I lodge my application in Feb 2019 and have been waiting for a CO allocation since then. It'll be so disheartening if INZ decides not to proceed with my application given the current situation.

    Any advise is truly appreciated, thanks.
    Hi,
    I in a same situation with you about the work hours reduced. May I know if you informed INZ about this yet?

    Cheers

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