If political experts are to be believed, then immigration forms the basis of New Zealand. Successive political leaders, academic experts, social scientists, and industry experts regularly assert that immigration represents New Zealand society. Despite this fact, it will not be unfair to say that currently there is some chaos in the country’s immigration process.

Last month, Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse launched a blitzkrieg on the immigration system, sending shock waves to prospective migrants all over the world. Indian Weekender has been persistently raising voice for the wider community’s concerns in our print and online platforms through media commentary and analysis.

In this immigration special edition, we attempt to focus on the service side of the issue and bring quality advice from renowned industry experts in immigration for the benefit of our readers, some of who might be struggling to understand the impact of the recent change in New Zealand immigration process. As they say that ‘knowledge is power’, we endeavour to clear confusion on some of the murkier issues related to immigration process in New Zealand.

Surprisingly, our first discovery on the matter was a revelation as most of the industry experts chose not to be overly pessimistic about the changes introduced last month. This was great news, given that what is being currently written and assumed about the entire immigration process is that everything was negative and beyond our control. This confidence reflected in the comments of our experts reminds me of my own Licensed Immigration Advisor (not included in this edition) who used to subtly advice me that the immigration process is not a big wall designed to block our entry into the country. Instead, it is a combination of several activities within itself that needs to be ‘tackled through’ rather than ‘confronted’. Honestly speaking, that subtle advice has changed my perspective towards the immigration process anywhere in the world. Now I see that perspective being reflected in the advice from almost all industry experts. Below are some of the comments from our experts.

John Vikrant, Welsh Immigration & Studies (NZ) Ltd

IWK: How difficult is it going to be for the future international students to get 160 points instead of 140 now?

John: Our assessment is that it would be slightly difficult initially but not unachievable. Planning will be a key factor. If international students plan well in advance from the time they arrive in New Zealand, then it can surely be managed. Our main advice to international students in New Zealand is to work hard, be diligent, and plan in advance.

IWK: Do you think the new English language requirement is going to affect students coming to New Zealand?

John: No, we certainly do not think like that. The Indian segment of the international student market is a fast growing market and Indian students all over the world are known for their proficiency in the English language. In fact, Indian students are better placed than any other comparable Asian segment of the international student market. So, in our opinion, there will not be any significant fall in the number of international students from India seeking to come to New Zealand for higher studies.

Jagjeet Singh Sidhu, Director, Immigration Matters NZ Limited

IWK: What do you think about the recent changes introduced in the skilled migrant category visa, especially the pathway for international students to skilled migrant category visa?

Sidhu: It will be incorrect to say that the recent changes in immigration rules have not affected some applicants who were meeting the threshold requirement before the changes were introduced and were just ready to launch their Expression of Interest (EOI). It is certainly a setback for them, as it takes a lot to prepare to reach a stage of starting an EOI.

Still, I would say that the changes are introduced for the overall streamlining of the immigration process. We appreciate the variations in the English language requirement, as New Zealand is an English-speaking country, and it is a must to have an ability to read, write, and converse comfortably in English. Our assessment is that most Indian students will not have much problem with the English language requirement.

IWK: What strategies do you advise to your international student clients to make up for the extra 20 points raised in the threshold for launching EOI?

Sidhu: We believe that many applicants would like to take advantage of the extra 30 points already available under the current point system by getting a full-time permanent employment outside Auckland. These points were largely unused in the current point regime. Now there is a strong likelihood that some applicants will avail that opportunity, which is good for the New Zealand economy.

Harshita Kaushik, Dreams Immigration

IWK: What do you think about the recent changes introduced in the skilled migrant category visa, especially the pathway for international students to skilled migrant category visa?

Harshita: We are still getting clients seeking professional help for the permanent residency (Skilled Migration category) visa in New Zealand, so we cannot comment accurately on the larger impact of these changes. The only difference is that these students have completed Level 7 studies in New Zealand where they are supposed to have attained 6.5 bands in the IELTS exam. So as such, our students are not facing any major problems after the announcement of changes in the immigration policy.

IWK: What strategies do you advise to your international student clients to make up for the extra 20 points raised in the threshold for launching EOI?

Harshita: There is a range of strategies available depending upon individual cases. However, we have noticed an increase in the international qualifications assessment (through NZQA), given that people want to claim points for their partner's qualification.