Laurent Lore
October 2021
The big news of the moment is the one-time "2021 Resident Visa" announced at the end of September. More on that below.

Meanwhile, we are seeing other movements in the immigration field:

  • Compliance officials appear to be stepping up deportation of criminal offenders;
  • Efforts by employers to bring in key staff as "critical workers" - mostly unsuccessful;
  • Almost the only "standard" visas people can apply for from overseas are for Partnership. These are being decided quite quickly because of this, and we continue to handle a lot of these cases as a matter of course.

The Government is still pushing on with its plan to require all employers hiring migrants to get Accreditation under a scheme whose details have still not been released. This is meant to start in July 2022.

Lots of big shifts are going as Immigration tries to adjust, and readjust, to the challenges of this COVID world we now live in. One thing hasn't changed - we still do our job, aiming to give clear, truthful and innovative answers to meet each situation.

Simon Laurent
What's the 2021 Resident Visa All About?
We can't tell you what it's all about yet. This is because the policy has not been published yet. I'm not sure if it has even been written yet. The word is that Immigration's online system for these applications will not be ready for the first cohort of applications in December 2021. Uncertainty abounds.

Some of our professional colleagues are offering to tell people if they qualify, and even how much they will charge to do the application for them. While we can tell people if they meet the criteria that have been published so far, that may not be the whole story. For this reason we have not yet set a fee to help people with an application, if that is what they want. To be added to our special newsletter which will give those answers in the near future, email us to be put on the contact list.

In the meantime, Sahar Shamia has written a recent blog post which gives some insight into Immigration's basic criteria, and things to think about.
What if I've Applied for Skilled Migrant Residence?
Our understanding right now is that Immigration is assigning SMC Residence cases filed in late 2019 to case officers for assessment. If your application was put in at about that time, it may be worth hanging in there to see if you get approved.

However, Skilled Migrant can be a notoriously difficult pathway, especially for those with jobs as Retail Managers, Cafe/Restaurant Managers and Office Managers, to name a few. This is because you need to show that your job is a "substantial match" to the ANZSCO description of that job. If you have any doubt that you'll get over that hurdle, seriously consider focusing on the 2021 Resident Visa instead. Qualifying for the new policy is definitely simpler - no need to show what points you can claim, no analysis of your job (except for how much you are being paid if you rely on being paid $27 per hour).

The other problem is that the SMC queue may not move very much for a while. INZ is not hiring any new staff to handle the 2021 Resident Visa wave of applications that will start coming in from December 2021. This means that they'll be taking people off other work - and a lot of Residence case officers do - you guessed it - Skilled Migrant applications. So you could be waiting a whole lot longer to get your SMC case decided.

Filing a 2021 Resident Visa application doesn't interfere with your existing application. You don't have to withdraw your SMC case to do it. Both can run together. While it might take longer to get a decision on the new visa category, the wait may be worth it in order to save the stress of having to jump through the hoops of the Skilled Migrant policy.
I Have an SMC Appeal - What Should I Do?
A very common reason why INZ declines Skilled Migrant Residence applications is because it decides that the person's job does not match the occupation code they have claimed. This happens to liquor store managers and accountants, and everyone in between.

If you have appealed against a declined application to the Immigration & Protection Tribunal, or you are thinking about doing so, think again. Usually. the best result that an appeal will give you is an for INZ to reassess the application, with some directions from the IPT about how they should do it. Most people benefit from professional help to run such an appeal, but that costs money.

On the other hand, if you still have a Work Visa and it has another 6 or more months to run, consider withdrawing the appeal and putting in the application for the 2021 Resident Visa instead. Pulling out of the appeal does not harm your prospects to get a visa.

If you are not sure what to do in your own case, talk to us first.