New online visa services – advice for employers

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is shifting many of its services online and these changes could affect your business and staff.From mid-June, work and visitor visa applications can be submitted through the new online platform, Immigration ONLINE.

Form-filling, but not advice

Employers will be able to submit online applications for work visas on behalf of their employees. They will also be able to give applicants clerical help to complete online forms, as they can currently with paper application forms.

But employers cannot, by law, offer immigration advice to applicants.

Under the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act, only licensed immigration advisers or a specified list of exempt advisers, such as lawyers, are allowed to do this. Breaches can incur substantial penalties.

This means you can complete an applicant’s form under their direction, but you can’t give them advice about any immigration matter, such as:

  • type of visa to apply for
  • supporting documents needed
  • how to answer a question in the form
  • how to answer any follow-up questions from INZ
  • type of visa they may be eligible for at a later date.

If you are completing an applicant’s form under their direction and are asked for immigration advice, refer the applicant to a licensed immigration adviser or exempt adviser. A list of licensed advisers is available on the  Immigration Advisers Authority website.

Tips on completing visa forms

If, as an employer, you are filling out the online form for an employee, you need to:

  • Provide information about the applicant and their purpose.
  • Use the applicant’s email address as the contact address for communications about the application.
  • Provide your own name, company name if applicable, address and contact details.
  • Confirm you are providing clerical assistance to the applicant only.
  • Upload a document signed by the applicant containing:
    • standard applicant declaration text
    • permission for you to assist.
  • Provide the same documentation you would normally provide in support of an application, including the Employer Supplementary Form, evidence of advertising and job offer letter (these documents will be prompted for in the upload screen if required).

eVisas on the way

The use of eVisas (label-less or digital visas) will be progressively expanded through 2015. From mid-June 2015, a small group of applicants will be eligible for eVisas.

Passport-free applications and label-less visas will initially be available to:

  • onshore work visa applicants from visa-waiver countries
  • onshore visitor visa applicants (excluding Chinese nationals).

Note: people from visa-waiver countries do not need to apply for a visa before travelling to New Zealand.

The next stage of eVisas will be available later in 2015 for:

  • offshore work and visitor visa applicants from visa-waiver countries
  • offshore and onshore student visa applicants from visa-waiver countries.

This means there may be no physical visa in a candidate’s passport. If a candidate states they have an eVisa and you need to check whether they can work in New Zealand, use INZ’s  VisaView tool.

From medicals to eMedicals

INZ has joined eMedical, an online immigration health processing system.

This will result in faster turnarounds. However, all INZ medicals required in New Zealand now need to be done through  specific clinics. This will affect a large number of migrant workers, so please inform relevant employees. Migrants applying offshore who are required to complete INZ medicals will also need to see an approved panel physician.

Source: Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment


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