If you only travel to stick around for the duration of your working holiday visa you are safe.
We often get asked how can I stay longer in NZ? Well, unless you have a great education and you are highly skilled the only advise is to stick around and try to get a work visa through your last working holiday visa employer.
Do not leave the country in the hope of getting a work visa later. Please keep in mind as mentioned above we are talking about somebody who has a job qualification that is not in the required skills list. It's the you and me, that work in hospitality.
Why is it so hard to do that? There are mainly two reasons. Number one, the willingness of the employer. Unless you have worked for a business before and they are willing to sponsor you, you will be extremely lucky to do somebody for you who doesn't know you. Companies have to do a labour check showing to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) that they did not manage to find an adequate New Zealander to do the job before they offer you a job. In order to prove this they are required to advertise the role, which is costly. Apart from the expense it is a process that is equally loathed by all managers.
Reason number two is the timing. An application for a work visa needs to be submitted to INZ three months prior to commencing a job (if approved). With a common notice period of only two to four weeks it leaves the company in the lurge for more than two months without being able to start you in the position.
Unfortunately this has just all become even more difficult.
The Skilled Migrant category has been thrown into turmoil when the changes came into affect on 28th August.
Previously your job title and your pay were the determining factors. As such that has remained the same BUT how they are determined has become so uncertain that it even leaves lawyers struggling to understand the terminology. The freedom for interpretation has increased drastically to the effect that it will be difficult for an applicant to evaluate their chances prior to entering the process.
There are two main issues that arise under the new legislation.
Number on is the declaration of the role. What was previous classified as say as restaurant manager will now be reviewed involving the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) and possibly will be re-assessed as restaurant supervisor rather than manager. UN other words it is no longer in the hands of the employer to give you a title but this will no be scrutinized by INZ.
The other element that is now left to the whim of INZ is how your average pay rate is calculated.
The average pay will determine your skill level, with the higher skilled and mid-skilled being offered significantly better deals than lower-skilled. Whereas a higher-skilled (over $35.23 per hour) applicant can look forward to a work visa with a term of up to 5 years and a mid-skilled applicant ($19.97 to $35.23 per hour) up to 3 years the lower skilled are not so lucky.
Lower-skilled applicants can get a work visa for up to 12 months and can renew this twice (maximum of 3 years in total) however after that no longer permanent residency looms but instead there is a mandatory "stand-down" period of 12 months during which you must leave New Zealand.
This is not all, just when you do the maths and you think you are save because you earn over $19.97 take a pause.
If you are on a salary and you divide your annual pay by 52 weeks and your standard number of hours worked, this will give you your hourly pay. This is where it gets tricky and very murky.
If your contract says you have to work "a minimum of 40 hours" you are in trouble. If INZ deems your hours to be variable the immigration officer may request evidence of the range of hours worked and to be worked. INZ will be guided by the maximum hours worked to determine your hourly pay. Imagine you work in a restaurant and you work 50+ hours, INZ will base your skill level on the hourly rate of 50 hours worked which would be significantly lower than your annual salary based on 40 hours work. What the maximum number of hours expected for a particular job might be will be a heated discussion and ground for many court battles.
There are other factors that play into your skill level but this explains in short the most important facts about the changes to the skilled migrant immigration changes. Please not this article in no way constitutes any legal advice but rather gives an overview of the latest changes.