by Simon Lord
last updated 25/11/2014
Franchises suffer as Immigration New Zealand changes rule interpretation
by Simon Lord
last updated 25/11/2014
A change of attitude by Immigration New Zealand in 2014 made it harder for franchisees to find suitable staff at a time when unemployment is declining.
A change in the way Immigration New Zealand is interpreting its rules has meant some people are being declined when it comes to residency applications because they work for franchises or other chains, an immigration specialist claims. One franchisor has already contacted Franchise New Zealand to draw attention to the problem, while availability of suitable staff was identified as a significant barrier to growth in a recent Franchising Confidence Index survey.
According to immigration specialists Laurent Law, the definition of retail, cafe/restaurant managers and office managers requires that such a manager must 'organise and control' key aspects of the business - including such 'high-level' matters as budgets, pricing of products and advertising. Because those aspects are substantially decided centrally within a franchise, someone working in a franchise 'has so little control over those high-level functions that they are simply not managers' - so their Residency application is likely to fail.
Lawyer Simon Laurent writes, ‘... although the IAC mentioned above requires Immigration officers to consider each case “holistically” – looking for instance at the size of the operation, the organisation of the branch where the applicant works and so on – to decide how much responsibility they actually have, in fact we see them focusing on ticking off the Core Tasks of the job (according to ANZSCO) as not being performed by the applicant, even though the person actually exercises considerable skill to run a department of a large store. We therefore see the ludicrous situation that someone who manages a High Street clothing shop with 2 other staff will be approved Residence, while another person with 20 staff to run, who is required to apply the complex policies of a division of a department store, will be declined.’
‘Why is this situation so fatal? Well, according to immigration Policy the ANZSCO is a Bible which lists every job that exists. In the Skilled Migrant system, your job has to match some occupation on the ANZSCO. In the case of retail, you are either a Retail Manager – which is “skilled employment” and gets you points toward Residence – or you are a Retail Supervisor – who runs a team of staff and whose job is not skilled enough – so you don’t get points. And in almost all cases you must have skilled employment before they will give you Residence. In many cases, whole applications fail on this point alone.’
Mr Laurent goes on to explain that the ANZSCO categories were originally intended for statistical purposes and suggests they are being mis-used in applying them to Residency applications.
The NZAMI has apparently lobbied Immigration NZ about this to little effect - perhaps it's time for the Franchise Association, Retailers Association and Hospitality NZ to join forces?
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