New job hunting visa scheme in New Zealand full after just 30 minutes

by Ray Clancy on May 4, 2010

A new visa scheme in New Zealand aimed at professional people aged 20 to 35 has proved so popular that this year’s allocation was snapped up in a matter of minutes.

The New Zealand Silver Fern Visa was launched at 10am New Zealand time on 27 April and 30 minutes later all 300 places on the scheme were taken, officials confirmed.

Those interested in the visa programme, which is for overseas graduates seeking a skilled job, will now have to wait until 2011 for the next allocation.

It allows them to stay in the country for up to nine months while job seeking. Holders of the Silver Fern Job Search Visa who successfully find employment may then apply for a Silver Fern Practical Experience Visa, which allows them to work for two years.

Officials said that those who were not successful should look at other visa options that could enable them to emigrate to New Zealand including the skilled migration programme.

‘It does not mean that New Zealand doesn’t want you. This new scheme proved to be extremely popular but it is an annual allocation and is now closed until 2010,’ a spokesman explained.

But not everyone is backing the programme. According to the Migrant Action Trust there may not be sufficient jobs. ‘It is too late when these people come here and realise there are no jobs.  They get stuck here and the Government doesn’t care. It is left to people like us to pick them up,’ said spokeswoman Agnes Granada.

But Immigration New Zealand said there is plenty of advice around for job seekers. From this week people giving immigration advice will be required by law to be licensed under the new Immigration Advisers Licensing Act. Unlicensed advisers face fines of up to $100,000 and/or imprisonment for up to seven years.

Although New Zealand is experiencing a surge in migration, especially from China, many of the new arrivals are unlikely to stay, according to a study by Auckland University.

Last year China outstripped Britain, supplying the highest number of new immigrants aged 20 and over. But even after gaining New Zealand citizenship many will leave, either to return to China or to go to a third country such as Australia, says the study.

Author Liangni Liu, 33, a doctoral student at the university’s School of Asian Studies who is originally from Sichuan, also found that New Zealand was not the preferred destination choice for most Chinese immigrants, ranking lower than countries such as America, Canada and Australia. But it was seen by Chinese migrants as a ‘good stepping stone’ to get to another Western country. ‘Gaining New Zealand residency or citizenship will give them a legal status to move to a more prosperous country, such as Australia. New Zealand educational qualifications will also give them better employment opportunities there,’ she explained.

Reasons given for moving away included better job opportunities, family and the feeling they were not welcome in New Zealand.

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