Long Delays in Job Checks by Immigration NZ Impacting Hospitality Businesses

This is a summary of news article published at https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/job-check-delays-by-immigration-nz-are-causing-stress-hospitality-nz/

Long delays in job checks by Immigration NZ are causing problems for hospitality businesses hiring migrants. Jessica Choong's experience highlights the impact, as she lost her job while waiting for the check to be completed. Hospitality NZ has raised concerns about the ongoing challenges and stress caused by these delays.

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Hospitality NZ has raised concerns over long delays by Immigration NZ in conducting job checks for work visa applications. These delays are causing challenges and stress for businesses in the hospitality sector that hire migrants. One applicant, Jessica Choong, had to wait for four months for the job check to be completed. By that time, she had lost her job because her would-be employer couldn't hold the position for her any longer.

Jessica Choong, a former Malaysian Airlines flight attendant, arrived in New Zealand in 2020 to study at the Manukau Institute of Technology. After completing her six-month course, she was granted a visitor visa to stay for her graduation. During this time, Choong secured a job as a barista at a cafe located in the Auckland International Airport. The cafe was an accredited employer with Immigration NZ and applied for a job check on Choong's behalf. However, the job check took four months to be completed, and by then, the cafe had already hired someone else. Choong was informed that the position had been held for a long time, but it was too late now.

Hospitality NZ has expressed its concerns that the delays in job checks are negatively impacting the hospitality sector and causing ongoing challenges for employers. Many businesses that hire migrants are experiencing stress due to these delays. Employers have to wait for extended periods to fill vacancies, and there is uncertainty about when visa approvals will be granted. The delays lead to difficulties in finding staff to fill vacancies elsewhere, adding to the frustration and uncertainty faced by applicants and businesses.

Immigration NZ acknowledges that most job check applications are taking longer than the targeted 10 days to process. Dominic Forde, INZ operations director (central/southern), stated that they have made adjustments to the assessment approach and are requesting more information from employers to confirm job vacancies and support for hiring migrants. However, the processing times for the employer accreditation and job check stages of the accredited employer work visa category have increased. Forde advises employers to allow at least six weeks to apply for accreditation and another six weeks for a job check, considering the current processing times.

Jessica Choong describes the delay as a "major disruption" in her life that has put her in a precarious position. She had to rely on her savings and spend a considerable amount on rent and living expenses while waiting to start work. Now, she is left with no income and very little time left on her visitor visa to search for another job. This uncertainty has caused significant stress and anxiety for her.

Hospitality NZ stresses the need for improvements in the job check process as delays continue to affect businesses and migrants. They express frustration that after 18 months, the issues with the accredited employer work visa scheme, such as delays and uncertainty, are still being worked through. Immigration NZ advises Choong to refer to their website to determine her eligibility for a further visa to stay in New Zealand after her current one expires. As of January 15, 2024, 38,547 job checks have been completed, with an average processing time of six weekdays.

author headshot Michael Yoon
Last modified on 22 January 2024 by
Michael Yoon
Michael has been working as a lawyer in New Zealand since 2006. Over the years, he has successfully helped thousands of clients to get their desired outcome. Clients find Michael knowledgeable, approachable and professional — a trusted expert.

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