Category Archives: Immigration Advice

How to enter New Zealand as a Filipino

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Since I started this blog, I have been asked several times about the different pathways to legally enter New Zealand. I would like to begin that all information is on the official immigration website and what I will enumerate is a mere summary of the most common pathways that Filipinos take to START living and working in New Zealand. Please note that this is not immigration advice but a bird’s eyeview of the NZ immigration system as of this date, and is subject to change anytime.

1. Skilled Migrant Category Residence Visa

This is the “ultimate end goal” among Filipinos 55 years old and under, wanting to live and work in New Zealand. It works on a points-based system based on your age, qualifications, work experience and skilled job offer. It goes without saying that you must be healthy, have no criminal convictions and fluent in English. This is a process that normally takes anywhere between 1-2 years from Expression of Interest to the stamping of your resident visa on your passport.

2. Essential Skills Work Visa

If you have the skills that New Zealand needs and your employer proves to immigration that no kiwi is available to do the job then you might be entitled to get this visa. You will undergo a process called “labour market testing” except for accredited employers authorised by immigration. Karamihan sa mga kababayan natin na nagtatrabaho sa Christchurch rebuild ay ito ang way of entry.

3. Student Visa

Contrary to what immigration advisers might say, this is the most expensive and riskiest visa to take as I explained before.  This is the option most Filipinos presently take if they don’t qualify for the points threshold of a Resident Visa. It allows you to work part time for 20 hours every week and full-time during school breaks. With this visa, you take a course to study and depending on the level you MIGHT be eligible for a Post Study Work Visa to allow you to stay in the country and look for work. But make sure you have loads of money upwards of 1 million pesos (that you might not recoup) if you decide to take this route.

4. Silver Fern Job Search Visa

For highly skilled young people (20-35 years old) wanting to come in and look for work. There is a quota of 300 slots each year so you have to get in quick. This is a better option than entering via Student Visa in my opinion.

5. Working Holiday Visa

A recent new visa for Filipinos, aged 18-30 to allow you to work 3 months for a single employer. For this reason, this is a good option only if your primary reason is tour and see the country. Nonetheless, it allows you to enter the country and legally seek work.

6. Work Visa based on partnership

Take note there is no fiance visa like in the US. A certificate of marriage wouldn’t suffice either. Ideally, you have to be living with your partner (can be a same boy or a girl) for 12 months or more before applying for this visa, and there are enough documents to prove financial interdependence (e.g. joint bank accounts, tenancy agreement, etc.) to be eligible for this visa. So searching dating sites for a kiwi boyfriend or girlfriend is a no go.

7. Visitor Visa

There are some incredible stories from Filipinos who were on a visitor visa but were able to get a job and permanent residence but these are VERY RARE, usually coming from the older crowd who arrived pre-2000. Still, getting a visitor visa is a relatively low risk move to allow you to see the country and possibly meet employers without spending heaps of cash. But at the end of the day, you would still need a work visa as above to sign and take a job offer.

8. Enterpreneur Work Visa

I haven’t met a Filipino who went via this route. In case you’re interested, you need at least $100,000 NZD or 3.5M pesos to invest and start a business here.

There you go. As you can see, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to starting your New Zealand dream. What works for Pedro will not necessarily work for Juan. But in the end, take responsibility for your own actions and not play the “victim card” when things don’t go your way. Do your own research that applies to your own situation and take that calculated risk.

Why you don’t need an Immigration Adviser

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Let me begin by saying I have nothing against licensed immigration advisers who ask for a fee for their services. All businesses in the world need to make a profit to survive. For their “assistance”, most immigration advisers are charging between $4000-5500 dollars (up to 176,000 pesos) for a Skilled Migrant Category application.

However, before using their services it is good to ask yourself “What value does an immigration adviser provide me?”

Do they have access to a secret vault of knowledge that only immigration advisers are entitled to? Any immigration adviser who tells you this is lying to you as the Official Information Act of New Zealand guarantees that all government information is free and available to the public. Consequently, all information relating to immigration matters is published online. Everything you need to know about the entire application process is found here, also known as the Operations Manual. It’s either you qualify or you don’t.

Do you gain any sort of advantage in the visa application process by using an immigration adviser? As above, Immigration New Zealand states:

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Would this immigration adviser help me find a job? The answer would probably be NO.

One time there was a dodgy immigration adviser advertising his services on Facebook when I asked him why I would need his services. To which he replied “One third of applications from Asia are declined if they do not use an immigration adviser.”

This answer is not only misleading but portrays New Zealand as a racist country so I prodded him to provide statistical evidence for his assertion, mentioning the Official Information Act.

He then refused to answer and blocked me which is a violation of his code of conduct. This adviser who I shall not name is currently licensed, so beware of scare mongering and hard sell tactics. Some even earn a big commission by placing international students in certain schools. Again, a conflict of interest and a violation of their code of conduct.

The truth is, self-managed applications actually have higher success rates than agent assisted ones.

Frankly, I would only use an immigration adviser or lawyer on two occasions – one, if I’m too lazy to do the research and paperwork myself (in one of the most important decisions of my life) OR if I  have a complex case like Section 61 requiring the intervention of the Immigration Minister.

The whole migration process is already expensive as it is. Do yourself a favor by saving your 4000 or so dollars, and use that for your move and settlement. It will go a long way.