A growing number of employers are signing up to Immigration New Zealand’s free online tool VisaView.
Employers can use VisaView to check information such as a passport number and surname against Immigration’s database for (in most cases) a quick online ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as to whether a person is entitled to work here, together with any specific work conditions that may apply to the individual.
The system also enables registered employers to confirm New Zealand passport information provided by the jobseeker, and therefore confirm New Zealand citizenship and entitlement to work in any job.
About three-quarters of New Zealanders between the ages of 16 and 65 hold, or have held, a passport. Legislation is before Parliament that will, if passed, allow registered employers to confirm the citizenship of most New Zealanders via confirmation of birth or citizenship information.
Immigration Act Implementation Project Manager Wayne Levick says VisaView is getting good feedback from a wide range of businesses.
“Employers tell us they’re finding VisaView useful because it not only confirms work eligibility and visa expiry dates, but serves as a record of the checks they have done.
“It also provides certainty about electronic visas, such as those issued to working holiday makers, and means employers don’t have to interpret passport labels and stamps,” Mr Levick says.
“The combination of online checks and Immigration’s dedicated employer phone line make it simple to check that job seekers are legally allowed to work for you, and easy to show you’ve done the right thing should visa issues arise.”
Clare Montgomerie, Manager – Immigration Services with PricewaterhouseCoopers, says VisaView has been a welcome addition to the organisation’s HR tool box.
“It is great to have a tool which allows an employer to check that type of information so readily.”
Another major business using VisaView is medical testing laboratory Labtests (part of the Healthscope Group), which has 650 staff across 56 sites in Auckland and 1500 staff in New Zealand. HR staff say VisaView has been instrumental in enabling them to ensure they are complying with the Immigration Act 2009, which came into force on 29 November 2010.
“It is a simple, easy to use system providing a single portal for HR to verify the legal status of staff across all nine of Healthscope’s New Zealand businesses.”
For more information about VisaView, see: www.immigration.govt.nz/visaview
The Immigration Act 2009, which came into effect from 29 November 2010, continues the principle that businesses must not employ a non-New Zealander who isn’t entitled to work for them.
Employer’s obligations essentially remain the same as under the previous Act – but there is a key change to the “reasonable excuse” provisions. A tax code declaration IR330 form is no longer a reasonable excuse for employing someone who is not entitled to work for you.
The Department of Labour recommends it is good practice to check all prospective employees are entitled to work in New Zealand, in the job offered, and to keep good records of this.
Who can work in New Zealand?
• New Zealand citizens, including Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau nationals
• New Zealand residents and permanent residents
• Holders of Australian current permanent residence visas (including a resident return visa) and who are granted a New Zealand resident visa on arrival
• Australian citizens who entered New Zealand on a current Australian passport
• Non-New Zealanders who hold a valid visa with work entitlements.
‘Work’ means any activity for ‘gain or reward’. Gain or reward includes any payment or benefit that can be valued in terms of money, such as board and lodging, goods (such as food or clothing) and services (such as transport).