visa meme


Do not pass go, do not collect $200

August 7 2017 by Scott Stevens

As an employer in Queenstown for 20 years, the challenge of finding and retaining good staff has never been more difficult than it is today. This is despite a growing permanent population widening the pool of skilled employees, and the desire of many more from elsewhere in New Zealand and abroad wanting to move to the Queenstown Lakes. Twenty years ago you could count the number of bars and restaurants in Queenstown on one hand and the number of supermarkets was zero. Frankton Flats was a farm with stock grazing the side of the airport runway. Believe me; it was hard to find staff back then. Although the population has increased, the number of businesses competing for skilled staff has far exceeded that population growth. So when an employer like me gets their hands on an employee who adds real value to the business, you fight desperately hard to hold onto them.


And that desperation can get pretty darn expensive when that special employee needs a work visa renewal or is applying for New Zealand residency. I would bet a Cow Pizza there is not a single business in Queenstown that does not have at least one person on the workforce who is either on a working holiday or essential skills visa; going for New Zealand residency; or is a new Kiwi. We are a town full of immigrants in a country of immigrants. This makes any changes to Immigration NZ policy and the way that policy is applied, very very relevant to employers and their migrant employees.


So when the perfect storm of foreign nationals on work visas get lined up ten deep on Monday morning in front of a Judge at the Queenstown District Court on drunk driving and other idiotic drink related charges, expect a tough response from  Immigration NZ . Why wouldn’t we? Do not expect to collect another work visa as of right and do not expect to become a New Zealand citizen without some convincing special circumstances being proven.  Immigration NZ are growing tired of the number of migrants on temporary visas adding convictions to their CV instead of the experience and qualifications those visas were intended to allow.


Like most Queenstown employers at any one time I am helping at least one employee apply for residency or to extend a work visa. Why? Certainly not because it is easier than employing a Kiwi or cheaper. It is expensive to navigate the Immigration NZ process and the results uncertain at the best of times, and even more so when one of these employees has to deal with Immigration NZ asking why they have been convicted of an offence against the very people who gave them the permission to stay here.  There is an expectation that if you live here you must abide by the laws of the country, because if you don’t there are a lot of people in the queue who will.


We go through the visa process because we need to keep key members of staff. Those who add value and are worth the investment are always very hard to come by. But it has to go both ways. If you want to stay working in New Zealand, if you want to be a key member of staff and increase your pay packet, or if you want to call these mountains home permanently you need to show respect for the laws of the land. It’s not ok to urinate in public places, it’s not ok to have fisty cuffs at the taxi stand, and it is not acceptable to drive drunk on our streets.


Immigration NZ take a very dim view of such disrespect for the laws of New Zealand. Believe me, you do not want to be a migrant trying to secure a new visa after first having visited the Queenstown District Court.


Scott Stevens

Queenstown employer since 1997

- Scott Stevens
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  • Danny Dyers Chocolate Homunculus

    Here, Here Scotty!

    Posted 07/08/2017 3:14pm (10 months ago)

  • Crash Landing

    Actually 20 years ago ,I am sure the Alpine supermarket was operating and the one in the Mall was closing or closed,their was also an 4 SQ.
    However in my view staffing and or antisocial behavior was nowhere the problem it has now become.Why,because we more a sense of community and when people stepped out of line ,the local community and police, I think about 2-3 officers and sergeant had no difficulty reminding people that they needed to behave.. Most of the employees were New Zealanders and Aussies with the occasional imports,mostly Chefs and other Hospitality management professionals. The main reason workers were mostly New Zealanders and happy to here, was because most if not all employers provided accommodation and all the Hotels provided live in staff with meals, That during the season most positions were 40 hours per week and that we had a considerable shoulder season which gave people to have a break and refresh.
    The whole vibe of Queenstown started to break down when,with the concurrence of the local Council the removal of employer provided staff accommodation and the casualising of the workforce , This coupled with the subsequent introduction, at the behest of major employers and the local Chamber of Commerce the introduction of short term work visas to allow for the introduction of cheap,pliable labor ,which sent many employers and managers at time into spasms of delight as the New Zealand workforce drifted elsewhere ,while they enjoyed the fruits of their short sited maleficence..
    Since then as you have quite rightly pointed out its been all downhill since then and the adage of "Reap of what sow" probably applies in this instance.

    Posted 07/08/2017 5:10pm (10 months ago)

  • Mr Greeny

    What gets up my dander is their lawyers asking for the case to be dismissed on the grounds that their client may loose their visa application if they are convicted....AND the stupid judges agree, and dismiss the case.....what a load of TRIPE......

    Posted 07/08/2017 10:49pm (10 months ago)

  • mp

    Very spot on Sir, I'm a relatively fresh immigrant who came to the Wakatipu region for a job apparently hard to fill in by kiwis (shhh between us, Australia pay better salaries, and If I was a kiwi I would have jumped over the ditch too). I also get disgusted by the disrespect of foreigners towards this land, ciggies chucked everywhere you walk, bottles, cans, fancy looking coffee cups, piss, etc.

    In addition to your statement regarding dodgy law breakers I may add that from what I've seen a lot of immigrants are in such good position even when salaries are low, those who've won the lottery, ok not quite so, at renting an apartment/house/damp shack and subletting it at an unreasonable price. It's seemingly ok for them to fill rooms and cash-in with no hassle. I mean don't get me wrong but, do you guys reckon they know about the existence of the Tenancy Tribunal? It's like they were born with that skill and are ripping the s*** out of people that even come from their same land or origin sometimes. Is it that hard for the local council or official entity to actually have a crack at dodgy pseudo-landlords? We are not talking about hundreds of thousands of rental properties to scan and hammer. This should be fined and visas cancelled. If that glitch in the work visa applications in 2007 was detected earlier... Save your words, I'm looking at leaving this place soon.

    Posted 09/08/2017 8:56pm (9 months ago)

  • Isabell

    I was impressed by the driver from Ritchies bus No. 11 who's name was Amrinder Sigh last Tuesday. He helped a Chinese lady to call a taxi to drop off her to her motel when the town center was actually the last station after taking her from airport.
    He also helped her to carry her three big suitcases because apparently the lady was exhausted after the long journey on the aircraft. He did lock the bus before he left the bus as a professional and safety concerned driver.
    It took only 5 minutes to help a passenger who was desperate about speaking English and had no idea about the public transport situation in QTN while most drivers I met from the bus will only say ’Sorry, I will have to go. I can't wait’...
    I was glad I caught this moment and felt proud of Amrinder Sigh. None of the passengers on the bus complained because I do believe they felt the same. We definitely need more drivers like Amrinder to show the world that this town is full of caring and love.

    Posted 13/08/2017 10:21pm (9 months ago)