Immigration Challenges

Immigration is a lengthy, expensive, and complicated process. Trying to talk about it with those who haven’t gone through it and aren’t familiar with it tends to lead to blank looks and confusion.

It is, however a process that tens of thousands of people go through each year in an attempt to come to New Zealand. Last year saw approximately 60,000 immigrants come to New Zealand. By comparison, Canada sees around 250,000 immigrants every year.

The decision to immigrate is a challenging one for many people. For some, it makes sense to leave home in pursuit of better jobs, a higher quality of life, less risk of crime or war, or other such reasons. For those of us who come from beautiful countries like Canada or the UK, many people ask…why would you leave one beautiful country for another? I’ve discussed our reasons in  previous post, so I won’t go into it here.

So where are we at in the process?

Working Holiday Visa

Our working holiday visas expired on August 24, 2017; 23 months after our first entry into New Zealand. Those 23 months have been absolutely amazing and have led us to fall in love with the country, share some breathtaking experiences with each other, and make some fantastic new friends.

Unfortunately, once you have had this visa once, you aren’t permitted to apply again. Only one working holiday visa in your life for each country, and only when you are under 30 (or 35 depending on the country).

So what next? This is where it gets complicated!

Essential Skills Visa

Under the current rules (August, 2017), I applied for an essential skills visa based upon my current employment as a mechanical engineering and test technician at Escea.

I submitted my application on the 24th of July and was approved on the 11th of August after a phone call and brief discussion with an immigration officer. I am now permitted to live and work in New Zealand temporarily, but only in my current job.

The rules for visas change regularly, so for official immigration advice and current visa’s, check the immigration New Zealand Website.

Partnership Work Visa

At the same time that we submitted my essential skills visa application online, we also submitted a paper partnership work visa for Andrew with a cover letter asking them to refer to my Essential Skills visa application.

We were advised that this was the only way to submit his and have it considered before mine was officially approved. We are still waiting on approval for this one and, last we heard, it still hasn’t been assigned to a case officer.

But his visa is expiring, so what now?

Interim Visa

They really like to keep you waiting….

If you have applied for a temporary visa but it hasn’t been processed yet, an interim visa may be issued by an automatic system 1 week prior to the expiry of the current work visa.

It is rather complicated to understand exactly what the interim visa is, how it works, and what you are and aren’t allowed to do since there is really very little information on it. The one thing that is consistent is that travel is not permitted on an interim visa. If Andrew leaves the country, his visa is void and he is not permitted to return for a specified time period (as far as we understand).

The chart below provides some detail. It also specifies that Andrew isn’t permitted to work on his interim visa, even though he is going from one temporary work visa to another.


As you can imagine, most employers are rather upset with this. “Hey boss…so you know that work visa? Well…they haven’t processed it yet so I need some time off…up to 2 months apparently…starting next week.”

We are hoping that Andrew’s bosses are willing to let him return to his job once his Partnership work visa is (hopefully!) granted.

Skilled Migrant Visa

Still waiting….and waiting….and waiting….

We have been requested to submit additional paperwork. And the case office who was working on our case is no longer employed by immigration.

We have been requested to provide additional proof of:

  • My husband’s employment that he held when he was 14 (a letter from both him and the lead pastor/manager at the time is apparently not sufficient proof)
  • Proof of all of my applicable engineering experience (tax records, employment contract, and a letter on company letter head for each job)

As well as re-submitting our marriage contract, etc.

We will submit the new paperwork, wait for a new case officer to be assigned, wait for them to check all the paperwork, wait for an interview with immigration, wait for a second person to check through everything, and, hopefully, be awarded residence at the end!

In Summary

So essentially, I hold a temporary work visa while we wait for our residence visa to process and (hopefully) get approved. Andrew holds a temporary temporary visa while he waits for his temporary visa while we wait for our residence to (hopefully) get approved.