Immigration Law

Interested in working and living in New Zealand? Applying for a visa through Immigration New Zealand can be complex, but our in depth knowledge of immigration law means we can guide you through the process and assisting you with your application to ensure it all goes smoothly.

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What can we help you with?

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Work Visa

From new work visas to renewals, or trickier issues like swapping your work visa to a new company, at Lawhub we understand how Immigration New Zealand works. We can anticipate their demands and front foot any issues, giving you a higher chance of getting your work visa approved.

Down the track, we can also help you plan your move from a Temporary Visa (Student, Work, Partner)  to a Work To Resident Visa, or Resident Visa, if you would like to make New Zealand your permanent home.

Just make sure you bring your passport, your Offer of Employment, and any visas you have to make sure they’re valid and you’re complying with the rules.

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EMPLOYER GUIDE

Wanting to retain your migrant workforce?

Are you an employer looking to hire migrants? Download our complimentary guide for New Zealand Employers. We have a step-by-step guide on the process to hire migrants in New Zealand.

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EMPLOYER GUIDE

Wanting to retain your migrant workforce?

Are you an employer looking to hire migrants? Download our complimentary guide for New Zealand Employers. We have a step-by-step guide on the process to hire migrants in New Zealand.

Download Guide
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Employer Accreditation

An accredited employer is a company or organisation which has been officially recognised by Immigration New Zealand as being able to use the AEWV to employ migrant workers. In order to comply with New Zealand law, you (the employer) must pay at least the median wage, unless the role is exempt, and you must demonstrate there are no suitable New Zealanders available for the position. You also need to be registered as an employer in New Zealand and have sound business practices.

Once accredited, employers can employ overseas workers for a wide range of occupations, with some restrictions based on salary or qualifications. Having an employee on this visa is a long-term solution to staffing issues. Provided the employee meets all their commitments under their visa, they may be able to live and work in New Zealand for many years to come.

Need help with the Accredited Employer Work Visa process? Get in touch with our immigration law experts and they'll guide you through it.

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Resident Visa

If you love living and working in New Zealand, and are keen to make about making Aotearoa your home, our immigration law team can guide you through the process of applying for a resident visa. We can provide you with the forms you need to complete, take you through our comprehensive resident visa checklist and support you with putting together your application.

We assist with character and medical waivers and offer practical solutions to issues that may arise. There are expectations around becoming a resident, and we’ll make sure you understand these at every stage along the way. To make New Zealand your permanent home - get in touch with our immigration specialists today.

1. 2021 Resident Visa update

The 2021 Resident visa category closed at 23:59 on 31 July 2020. Immigration New Zealand (INZ) had received 106,078 applications which included 214,345 people.

As of 9 November 2022, 63,144 applications had been approved with 115,382 people receiving residence visas.

Interim Visas – The risks

The 2021 Resident visa was unique as unlike other resident applications INZ is granting interim visas to applicants as they wait for their applications to be processed. This means that applicants don’t need to re-apply for temporary (work, partner, student) visas to keep legal in New Zealand.

There is a hook to the interim visa — once an applicant goes onto an interim visa, they cannot submit another visa. This doesn’t matter if an applicant is approved their 2021 residence BUT if their residence is declined then they face leaving New Zealand and re-applying from offshore. This can be disruptive for employment and especially if there are families with children attending school.

The interim visa is valid for 12 months or until a decision is made on the resident application. If processing on the 2021 resident visa application extended beyond 12 months then an applicant would need to leave New Zealand to remain lawful and would need to re-submit a temporary visa application if they wished to return to New Zealand.

The interim visa has the same rights as an applicant’s current temporary visa. Applicants do not need to do anything — INZ will issue an E-visa to applicants up to seven days before their current visa expires unless they have lodged a temporary visa application.

The interim visa is a cheaper option but as can be seen it carries risks.

Interim Visas – Travel Conditions Announced

At the end of October, INZ announced that 2021 resident applicants on interim visas are now able to request travel special travel visas to leave and return to New Zealand. This anticipates that many people have not seen their families for along time due to the pandemic border closures and want to travel during the Christmas season.

There is further important information on interim visa conditions and requirements on the INZ website — see here.

If you have been contacted by INZ and need assistance with your 2021 Resident visa, please feel free to contact one of Lawhub’s highly skilled immigration lawyers.

2. Skilled Migrant Category

On 11 November INZ selections of Expressions Of Interest (EOI) for the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) resumed at the increased 180 points criteria.

There are currently 3 categories of SMC:
1.    The Skilled Migrant Category recognising individuals’ skills
2.    Green List residence pathways for eligible migrants in specified highly skilled, hard-to-fill occupations
3.    Highly Paid Residence Visa for migrants earning at least twice median wage.

Contact us to see if you are eligible.

3. Proposed Changes to the Skilled Migrant Category

INZ has announced they are reviewing the SMC and have indicated proposed changes to the category — see here.

The proposed changes reflect the currentGovernment policy that aims to limit residence to highly skilled and higher paid migrants. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) claims it will give ‘more certainty’ to migrant workers, simplify processing times and reduce ‘drivers of exploitation’ exploitation.

The proposed simplified points system is based on 6 points for eligibility. All applicants must have a job or a job offer in New Zealand and be paid at least median wage.

While the proposed changes have no capon the number of resident applications they limit eligibility for most mid-skilled applicants unless they are:

• Paid at least 1.5 times the median wage (currently $27.76/hour, increasing to $29.66/hr on 27 February 2023), or,
in a registered profession, or,
• hold a bachelor’s degree or higher

This is concerning, especially for long-term mid-skilled temporary workers and their families. The proposed changes want to extend the current stand-down policy (where low skilled temporary visa holders must stand down for 12 months outside of New Zealand before re-applying for another visa) to all temporary work visa holders who are NOT eligible for residence.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) called for submissions on this category — see here. Submissions closed on 18 November 2022 so we will watch this space for changes

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New Zealand Family Visa

Want your family to be able to call New Zealand home? If you’re already living and working here, it makes sense to have your family join you as well. With Dependent Visas, you can do just that, as it allows you to bring your partner and dependent children to New Zealand with you.

If you haven’t been living with your life partner, Immigration New Zealand will need evidence you’re in a genuine and long-term relationship. Our team of experienced immigration lawyers will help you complete the visa application forms, and assist you by collating the documentation and proof you need to provide for your application.

The length of time you’ve been in a relationship or living together will influence the kind of Dependent Visa you need to apply for, but our team will be able to advise you on this.

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Immigration Section 61

When your visa expires

You can find the date your visa expires in your passport or the eVisa letter you received when INZ granted your visa. You must leave New Zealand on or before this date or renew or apply for another visa. If you do not, then INZ will send a letter stating you are now in an unlawful state.

If you're ready to start the process, book an appointment with one of our immigration lawyers — we’ll guide you through the process and will find the best solution for you and your family.

If you stay after your visa expires

You are breaking the law if you stay after your visa expires. You:

  • cannot work or study, and will have to pay for your health care
  • may not be able to come back to New Zealand again if you are here without a visa for 42 days or longer
  • risk being detained or deported.

Your actions can also affect other people. For example, if family members or other people help you to stay in New Zealand they:

  • commit an offence under the Immigration Act, and
  • may put their own immigration status at risk.

Actions you can take after your visa expires

You can:

  • leave the country immediately, or
  • make a request for a special temporary or resident visa under Section 61 of the Immigration Act, but only if you believe you have a special case.

Making a Section 61 request

  • Requests under Section 61 are only granted in some cases. If you have already received a deportation order Immigration New Zealand cannot grant you a visa under Section 61.

How to make a request

  • Contact our team immediately so we can get this application underway when possible.
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Immigration PPI

If you have received a PPI (Potentially Prejudicial Information) letter from your immigration officer, it's important that you do not respond without first getting legal advice from one of our immigration lawyers. At this stage, your immigration officer has not made their final decision yet and how you respond to this letter is incredibly important as it will determine whether your visa application will be approved or declined.

If you have received a PPI letter, please contact one of our lawyers as soon as possible. We have significant experience responding to PPI letters, and can reply appropriately on your behalf.

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New Zealand Visitor Visa

Wanting to visit New Zealand? The visitor visa lets you come to New Zealand as a visitor for up to 9 months, and allows you to visit friends and family, explore our stunning New Zealand scenery or enjoy amateur sports, and all the adventure activities that our beautiful country has to offer.

With this visa, you can also study for up to 3 months and include your partner and any children you have, who are aged 19 and under.

Get in touch with our immigration law team about your reasons for visiting New Zealand, and we can advise on the type of visa and documentation you need and help with submitting your application.

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New Zealand Student Visa

Are you considering studying in New Zealand? Whether you are looking to undertake primary, secondary or tertiary study in New Zealand, we can assist in obtaining a New Zealand student visa for you or your children.

We can advise you on work rights, post-study work visa options, and visa options for family wishing to accompany international students to New Zealand.

New Zealand is a vibrant and exciting place to be a student. If you're wanting to study in Aotearoa, get in touch with our team of immigration lawyers and we'll assess your situation and then help you apply for the visa that's right for you.

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Immigration Specialists

Ruth Burgess

Ruth graduated as a mature student from Canterbury University after her children had grown up. She has always had a strong interest in helping her local community and standing up to injustice, which has influenced the areas of law she works in.

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Associate - LLB, B.A (hons)

Immigration and General Law
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Robin (Wei) Zheng

Robin understands the migrant journey to New Zealand, both physically and psychologically. Born in Beijing, Robin moved to Christchurch in his mid-twenties, and studied Law at the University of Canterbury as a way to better understand New Zealand.

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Solicitor - LLB

Immigration, Property/Conveyancing and General Law
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Joan Prado

Joan was drawn to immigration law as a way to help fellow migrants settle in New Zealand. She recognises that approaching a foreign legal system can seem intimidating, so hopes to overcome language and cultural barriers within New Zealand's immigration system, making the resettlement process as smooth as possible.

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Solicitor - B.Sc (Phils), LLB (Hons) (NZ)

Property/Conveyancing, Immigration, Wills and General Law
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“I used Lawhub for their conveyancing service. They offered excellent advice and had a great eye for detail with lots of expertise. Highly recommended.”

“Used conveyancing service. Great eye for detail, offered excellent advice, lots of expertise. Highly recommended.”

Te Hurinui C

“I used Lawhub for the sale and purchase of property that took place during lockdown. Despite not being able to be in the office, my emails were answered quickly. I asked them to look into 3 different properties, before finally settling on 1 and they met my copious demands with a confident and friendly manner which put my mind at ease. Im really happy and I happily recommend them!”

Tess

"I would like to convey my special gratitude to Robin who gave me precious guidance to achieve my residency. Lawhub is a place that anyone can go for get best law advices and guidance."

Gayani G

“Brilliant, friendly and cost effective service. Thanks team!”

Jack P

“Best quality representation on the market. Will gladly have them again. Worth every dollar!”

Vincent B

“I was intending to purchase a home off-the-plan. Robin went through the Sale & Purchase Agreement and quickly noticed clauses that were not in my favour. Great work by Robin and Lawhub. I will be using them again.”

Raymond

“We contacted Lawhub about property conveyancing for a house out of town and the team were more than happy were take the case on. We found the process easy and stress free and the flowers we received after settlement were a lovely touch. Would definitely recommend Lawhub to anyone needing their services!”

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