11 December 2008

Concerns NZ skilled migrants may lose out with new bill

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Immigration experts have expressed concerns that a new bill passed by the New Zealand government giving small businesses the right to fire staff without reason would scare off skilled migrants, reports Three News.

The incumbent National government is introducing a trial for the "90 day probation bill" that would allow businesses with staff numbering less than 20 people to hire and fire employees without giving reasons.  The government's plan is to test whether it would help small businesses manage the risk associated with hiring new staff.

Immigration lawyer Stephen Chan said potential immigrants who apply for a New Zealand visa on the basis of a job offer could face troubles under the proposed new bill. 

"They would have been given a one year work permit but if after 80 days they can no longer use it and they’re no longer with the job immigration have the right to cancel the permit and they’d have to apply for another one," he told the news paper.

However, the "hire and fire" policy could also work in favour of skilled migrants to New Zealand, as it would encourage employers to take the risk on new employees.

Head of Business New Zealand Phil O’Reilly said the policy could help to boost New Zealand's economy.

"This is something small businesses have been asking for some time and now is the time to be doing it," he said. 

"With an economic downturn you want to make sure nothing stands in the way of a small business taking someone on and giving them a job.  That’s what this bill is really all about."


The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their New Zealand visa application.

Article by Jessica Bird, New Zealand Visa Bureau.


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