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July 31, 2017 | by  | in News |
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Dramatic Decline in Post-Study Work Visa Acceptance

A developing trend in declining Employer Assisted Post Study Work Visa applications has seen 110 of 222 applicants declined in May 2017 in Auckland Central’s Immigration office.

Data obtained through the Official Information Act shows that the rate at which applications are being declined at the Auckland Central Office has risen from 5% in January 2016 to 49.5% in May 2017.

To apply for a Post Study Work Visa – Open, applicants must have an “acceptable” New Zealand qualification and may work for any employer. For a Post Study Work Visa – Employer Assisted application, however, applicants must also “have an offer of full-time work in the same area as [their] qualification.”

Licensed immigration adviser Maricel Weischede told the Herald that the application process relies on the assessment by each Immigration Officer as to what is satisfactory, and is “clearly unpredictable.”

The Henderson Immigration office processed 366 applications in May, declining only 39. The difference in application acceptance rates at this office has been attributed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment to the fact that applications processed by the Henderson office are usually submitted through a licensed immigration adviser, rather than directly by the individual, making them more likely to be successful.

According to the Immigration Advisers Authority website, there are a number of people who are not licensed advisers but are legally eligible to give immigration advice.

The dramatic increase of declined applications observed in the Auckland Central office follows a pattern evident in city centres across the country.

23 out of 85 applications were declined by Christchurch’s Immigration office in May, an increase of 20% since May 2016. 12 of the 163 applications processed by Wellington’s office in May 2017 were declined, a notable increase from the minimal rates observed in May 2016.

Immigration New Zealand Area Manager Marcelle Foley told the Herald that Visa applications are “rigorously assessed on a case by case basis” and could be declined for a “wide range of reasons.”

The increases in application declines mark a concerning trend for international students studying in New Zealand.

Research officer at the University of Waikato and Migrant and Refugee Rights Campaign spokesperson Arama Rata was unable to speculate on the exact decision making processes occurring within immigration offices, but told Salient that migrants and international students in New Zealand are increasingly becoming victims of “xenophobic scapegoating.”

She said that government policy had initially promoted migration to New Zealand for economic reasons, but strains on social infrastructure had seen public opinion towards migrants decline over the last decade.

“Migrants have been treated like political footballs,” Rata reflected.

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