IRD to Tighten Rules on Student Loans

IRD to Tighten Rules on Student Loans

(Published in New Zealand Taxation)

The Student Loan scheme is set to change, with stricter rules being implemented on borrowers, especially those who travel overseas for extend periods of time.

On March 13th Parliament received a report from the New Zealand Finance and Expenditure Committee on the upcoming Student Loan Scheme Amendment Bill. The newly published report contains a summary of the major changes that will be implemented in the bill, along with responses to public submissions that were made regarding the national student loan scheme and potential changes to the system.

According to the report, one of the biggest changes brought in by the new bill will be the exclusion of loses from the calculation of incomes for student loan repayments, which will increase personal responsibility for debt repayment and maximize the amount of payments of loans.

The new Bill will also bring in rules mandating that all new student loan applications must nominate a third party to be responsible for maintaining up to date contact details of the borrower, and providing the information to Study Link upon request. The new regulations will allow the Inland Revenue Department to receive and use the contact details of the nominated person, when trying to reach a student loan holder who has left New Zealand.

The repayment holiday currently available to borrowers who travel overseas will be reduced from three years to one year. Anyone applying for the repayment break will be required to provide details of a New Zealand based contact person in order to be granted the holiday.

The new report also contained several questions that were raised by the public regarding the Student Loan amendments, however, the Committee did not recommend changes to the Bill following the raised concerns.


Immigration Advice and Lawyers

Practising lawyers

A lawyer is a person who holds a current practising certificate as a barrister or as a barrister and solicitor, issued by the New Zealand Law Society.

Usually anyone giving immigration advice must hold a licence. However, lawyers fall into an exempt category of people who do not need to hold a licence. The exempt category includes, among others, lawyers and the employees of lawyers or law firms providing immigration advice as part of their job. Employees of lawyers do not need to hold a licence on the basis that they cannot give advice on their own and it is the lawyer employer who is responsible for giving immigration advice.

Changes in visa requirements for temporary workers in the music, screen and entertainment industry

Monday, 30 April 2012 (Source – Immigration New Zealand
Changes in visa requirements for temporary workers in the music, screen and entertainment industry take effect on 30 April 2012.  The changes apply to entertainers, performing artists and associated support personnel, film and video production and post-production crew, producers and directors.

What has changed?

Previously all such applications needed to be referred to the relevant professional association, industry guild or union such as the New Zealand Film and Video Technicians’ Guild, the Screen Production and Development Association, the Screen Directors’ Guild of New Zealand, New Zealand Actors Equity, the New Zealand Actor’s Guild, or the musicians’ branch of the Service and Food Workers Union.

New rules

From 30 April 2012 there will be a streamlined process, without any professional association, industry guild or union referral, for applicants whose engagement in New Zealand is:

  • for 14 days or less, or
  • on an official co-production, or
  • with an accredited company.

Applications that fall outside these criteria will be subject to the same industry-led labour market testing that currently applies.


New Zealand companies who seek to engage entertainment industry personnel will be able to apply in advance to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) to become accredited. They must demonstrate that they:

  • are financially sound,
  • have a sound industry track record,
  • have a commitment to engaging and training New Zealanders, and
  • have good work place practices.

The relevant professional associations, industry guilds and/or unions will be consulted as part of consideration of applications for accreditation.

For more information on the accreditation criteria, please see Entertainment industry accreditation.

Approved arts and music festivals

Performers and direct support staff attending an ‘approved’ arts or music festival will be able to enter New Zealand as visitors, without having to apply for a visa if they are from one of the more than 50 countries with which New Zealand has a visa-waiver agreement.

For an arts or music festival to become ‘approved’, its organisers will have to submit a proposal to INZ demonstrating that their festival meets certain criteria. See the Checklist for Arts and Music Festival Approval Status PDF [334KB] for further information.

Rationale for changes

The key objective of the changes is to reduce red tape and compliance costs on entertainment industry businesses and to support economic growth. This will ensure that these businesses can get the people they need when they need them, while still providing protection for New Zealand workers. The previous ‘one size fits all’ immigration process, where all applications are referred to industry guilds or unions irrespective of whether there is a risk of displacing New Zealand workers, does not necessarily reflect the requirements of different industry sectors, types of production or other government objectives.

Benefits of the changes

The changes will make it easier for entertainment industry companies to bring workers to New Zealand. Inbound productions can create a significant number of jobs for New Zealanders across a range of roles.  The changes will reduce the risk of the immigration process reducing New Zealand’s attractiveness to overseas productions.

For more information regarding your immigration and visa requirements please contact Auckland law firm Quay Law NZ.

Immigration New Zealand’s Vision for 2015


Education New Zealand is welcoming the release of Immigration New Zealand’s ‘Vision for 2015’.

The Government plans to double the economic value of international education to 5.5-billion over the next 15-years.

Education New Zealand chairman Charles Finny says the connection of strategies between government agencies is paramount to success.

He says Education New Zealand is already working closely with other agencies on a number of shared initiatives.

Mr Finny says international education is a key pillar in strengthening New Zealand’s economic, cultural and social links with the world.


Immigration officers to get beefed-up search powers

Source: NZ herald

By: Lincoln Tan

Immigration officers are to be given greater powers of search and investigation without reliance on police under new laws coming in next month.

Officers will be able to investigate and act against offenders without the need to rely on Customs or police under the Immigration Act.

They will be able to enter and search places and crafts, inspecting records of educational providers, accommodation providers, employers and even buildings and premises of people liable for deportation.

The new act comes into effect on November 29 and, subject to Cabinet approval, officers working for Immigration New Zealand will be given new powers.

“The amendments will allow immigration officers to carry out routine immigration-related investigations and functions without relying on resources from our partner agencies,” said Nigel Bickle, head of Immigration.

Under the current law, these powers are exercised by police or Customs on behalf of the department.

“The powers are carefully prescribed to be used in specific circumstances,” Mr Bickle said.

The new powers restrict officers to enter and search in immigration-controlled areas such as airports, not private homes, and where they enter premises where a person who is liable for deportation is believed to be, it will be only for the specific functions related to deportation, he said.

In the 12 months to September 30, the agency deported 687 overstayers – costing taxpayers nearly $1.7 million – with people from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga making up nearly half of those repatriated.

A new detention and monitoring system will be introduced under the act, allowing Immigration officials to choose from a range of options, including putting people into secure detention or releasing offenders with reporting conditions.

“The act establishes a flexible approach to monitoring and detaining foreign nationals who are considered to be a threat to the integrity of the immigration system or the security and safety of New Zealand,” Mr Bickle said.

“The new system brings us into the era of the modern regulatory framework, which allows us to choose between a range of options based on risk, rather than a one-size-fits-all.”

People who are liable for arrest and detention may be monitored in the community or detained in custody. Determining factors include the possibility of a person absconding, criminality, risk to public safety and identity concerns.

The new powers will only be brought into force when Cabinet is satisfied that the appropriate training and operating instructions have been developed, and that there are safeguards in place.

Said Mr Bickle: “No date has been determined yet.”

Under the new act, people facing deportation may be detained in police custody without warrant for up to 96 hours, compared with up to 24 or 72 hours depending on circumstances under the current act.

Warrants of commitment may also be granted by the District Court to hold a person liable to arrest or detention in custody for up to 28 days, and a person may also be held under warrant for a continuous period for up to six months following the completion of relevant immigration processes.

“Specially-designated Immigration officers will be able to detain people for a maximum of four hours. This new power will be brought into effect by order in council,” Mr Bickle said.
(Awaiting Cabinet approval)
* Immigration offenders face secure detention or reporting conditions.

* Immigration officers can enter and search crafts, schools and buildings.

* New act will allow Immigration officers to act independently from police and Customs.

Total deported in the last 12 months: 687 people costing $1.68 million

* Samoa: 157 people deported at a cost of $385,000
* Fiji: 71 people deported at a cost of $174,000
* China: 70 people deported at a cost of $172,000
* Tonga: 61 people deported at a cost of $150,000
* Malaysia: 51 people deported at a cost of $125,000
* India: 32 people deported at a cost of $78,400
* Great Britain: 28 people deported at a cost of $68,600
* Indonesia: 23 people deported at a cost of $56,350
* South Africa: 18 people deported at a cost of $44,100
* Chile: 15 people deported at a cost of $36,750

Changes to Immediate Skill Shortage List and Long Term Skill Shortage List


1 September 2010, 2:09PM

By Department of Labour

The bi-annual review of the Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL) and the Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL), administered by the Department of Labour, has been completed.

The ISSL includes occupations that are in immediate demand in the New Zealand labour market. The LTSSL includes occupations that are in long term and global shortage.

Two occupations, Scaffolders and Automotive Technicians will be added to the ISSL, and three occupations, Ship’s Master, Ship’s Officer and Forest Scientist to the LTSSL. Thirteen occupations mostly in the building, design and racing industries will be removed from the ISSL. One occupation, Architect, will be removed from the LTSSL. In addition, four occupations will be removed from the ISSL as they are already covered in the LTSSL. Some requirements will be updated.

The ISSL and LTSSL will be released on 8 September 2010.

The removal of the occupations from the lists is the result of an extensive consultation with industry groups, other stakeholders and relevant government agencies.

Employers can still recruit migrants in occupations that have been removed from the lists. The employer will need to demonstrate genuine attempts to recruit suitable New Zealand citizens or residents. Temporary work visas or permits can be granted after there is evidence that there are no suitable New Zealanders available.

Immigration New Zealand works with a number of agencies when reviewing the labour market to help identify areas of immediate and long-term skill shortage. This is to ensure that the lists reflect genuine skill shortage so New Zealanders are not disadvantaged while at the same time making sure employers get the skilled employees they need to take advantage of improvements in the economy.

Head of Immigration New Zealand, Nigel Bickle says “For occupations no longer on the LTSSL and ISSL the labour market test process, where agencies such as Work and Income are involved, ensures that New Zealanders are not disadvantaged if seeking employment before an employer recruits a migrant worker. However, New Zealand still has skill shortages in certain areas and jobs may need to be filled by people from overseas.”

Mr Bickle says there will be ongoing review of all occupations on the list which will ensure flexibility in times of both shortage and economic growth.

Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL)

Thirteen occupations to be removed from the ISSL on 8 September 2010:
• Architectural Designer
• Architectural Draughtsperson (Civil CAD Designer)
• Architectural Draughtsperson
• Graphic Artist
• Fire Alarm Technician
• Florist (Senior)
• Gas Fitter
• Vehicle Body Builder (Bus or Coach only)
• Horse Trainer (Stallion Master)
• Horse Trainer (Stud Groom)
• Jockey
• Trackwork Rider
• Telecommunications Technician

Two occupations to be added to the ISSL:
• Automotive Technician (Motor Mechanic)
• Scaffolder (Advanced)

Four occupations to be moved from the ISSL to the LTSSL:
• Conductor (Conductive Education Practitioner)
• Construction Project Manager (Chip sealing, Asphalt or other Technical Manager) (Roading and Infrastructure)
• Construction Project Manager (Roading and Infrastructure)
• Ship’s Engineer

Four occupations to be removed from the ISSL as covered by the LTSSL:
• Marine Designer
• Systems Analyst
• Software Engineer
• ICT Support and Test Engineer
Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL)

One occupation to be removed from the LTSSL on 8 September 2010:
• Architect

Three occupations to be added to the LTSSL:
• Ship’s Officer
• Ship’s Master
• Forest Scientist

Four occupations to be moved to the LTSSL from the ISSL:
• Conductor (Conductive Education Practitioner)
• Construction Project Manager (Chip sealing, Asphalt or other Technical Manager) (Roading and Infrastructure)
• Construction Project Manager (Roading and Infrastructure)
• Ship’s Engineer

Interim Visas for Foreign Migrants in New Zealand!

source:  25 August 2010

New interim visas will allow migrants waiting for their visas to be processed to continue working, Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman says.

It was a bonus for businesses and employees, Dr Coleman said.

“In most circumstances it provides continuity in the workplace as employers have the security of knowing their staff member can continue working legally while Immigration New Zealand processes their application.”

The interim visas will be in place by March.

Changes to the sponsorship provisions will allow organisations and government departments to sponsor someone’s visa where previously only individuals could.