New Zealand visa rule threatens migrant's stay

- Posted in New Zealand by Visa Bureauon 23 August 2012

Tomas Blazek moved from the Czech Republic on a New Zealand visa eight years ago and worked as a veterinary assistant for the past three. Despite being fully qualified as a veterinarian in his home country, his qualifications were not valid in his new country.

In order to qualify as a vet in New Zealand, Mr Blazek took a better paid job in a weed control business to save up for his exams. However, his visa was conditional on him being employed in an occupation relative to his qualifications and as his new job was unrelated, his permanent residency occupation was withdrawn by New Zealand immigration officials.

"If I had known changing to a job that paid more so my partner and I could be more comfortable would cost me a chance of living in New Zealand, I would not have left the job," said Mr Blazek.

The Czech man chose not to renew his work visa, believing his permanent residency application had no reason to fail; his existing work visa has since expired and Mr Blazek has had to leave his new job as he is ineligible to work.

Immigration New Zealand had not informed Mr Blazek that his change of job would affect his application but have give him until 14 September to submit a suitable offer of employment.

However, Mr Blazek says he has all but given up hope of remaining in the country despite a community effort to support his cause.

Jodie List, casework department manager at the New Zealand Visa Bureau, says Mr Blazek's case highlights the need for migrants in New Zealand to be aware of the terms of their visas, saying they cannot rely on Immigration NZ to inform them of any mistakes they could be making.

"Immigration rules in all countries can be tricky and seem ambiguous but if your continued presence in the country hinges upon a rule, you need to know what you can and can't do.

"If you have a change of circumstances coming up, check with either INZ or a New Zealand immigration adviser well in advance to make sure you aren't putting your visa in jeopardy as it could be impossible to rectify later."

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy that specialises in helping people apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.