[ Note : opinions expressed in this blog are haka-haka lang po, the product of an overactive mind on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Maraming salamat po! ]
VISA AND RESIDENCY RULES in New Zealand are getting harder all the time. The points system is almost impossible to comply with compared to only a few years ago. So-called “remuneration bands” which are actually minimum wage rates you have to earn to be considered for residency are going up almost every year. Additional requirements are frequently being added to parent, partner and other family residency visa rules. Pahirap nang pahirap talaga.
As I’m still in the middle of my migrant journey, I don’t even know if I’m in any position to give unsolicited advice to migrant hopefuls like myself. But during my stay here in New Zealand, if there’s anything I can vouch for na walang kaduda-duda (without a doubt) at walang mintis sa pagiging obrero sa bayan ng Aotearoa, ito po yun:
The Pinoy worker and migrant in New Zealand is respected a different way than migrants from all other countries, including those from China and India.
It’s only my opinion, but I think the above is so important that it deserves its own paragraph.
And this is my reason: Among all other migrants, Filipino aspirants depend least on business, investment, student or all the other visa pathways to get to New Zealand. It’s almost purely on skill that Filipinos try their luck when achieving the migrant dream in New Zealand.
I don’t have the numbers, but Statistics NZ always puts Filipinos in the top 5 countries / nationalities in the Skilled Migrant, Essential Skills and Talent categories whatever year and whatever season throughout New Zealand. Wherever there’s skilled work needed, whatever it is, papatulan ng Pinoy (accepts the challenge).
Because of our sense of duty to family, country and community, and because we’re simply a hardworking and responsible people, there will always be people from the Philippines applying for jobs in New Zealand.
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And that is why, di naman nagbubuhat ng sariling bangko (not blowing our own horn), we are respected a little differently from all other races by New Zealanders. Whether we care for their sick, mind their aged, manage their dairy farms, install their internet, put up their scaffolding, or a thousand other jobs, we are dependable, loyal, hardworking and responsible. No other nationality or lahi (race) is looked upon as highly as we are.
Which is what brings me to this humble suggestion, especially to our brothers, sisters and kabayan who are continuing to dream the permanent residency dream: work harder, upskill (or improve our skills) and value our jobs in New Zealand.
(Of course, this observation is more useful to those who are already in NZ or who are about to get here.)
Let me explain please.
The reality is, New Zealand has to maintain a balance between allowing skilled migrants to continue coming into NZ, while allowing locals and New Zealanders access or first priority to precious jobs and income to feed their families and build the nation. After all, whichever Government is in power, its highest priority is to its citizens and residents.
But this responsibility of Government must be balanced with the need of businesses and employers to hire skilled workers to keep their businesses alive and thriving.
Di maipagkakaila na (we can’t deny that) if demand is greater than supply, Government has no other choice but to keep allowing workers from all over the world. Not just allow, but invite and make conditions better. New Zealand has no choice, if it is to keep its economy vibrant and growing. In short, with all the rules and current difficulty, New Zealand needs workers like us.
Keep improving your skills, ask for extra training, and volunteer for advanced training if it’s available. It might not seem like much now, and it might look like a sacrifice, but in the end it will be worth it, especially if it keeps you ahead of the game and ahead of your peers.
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Call me naive, call me simple-minded, call me anything you want Dear Reader. But in my Reduced-To-Lowest-Term world, if you are needed by the boss, by the employer, by the owner, the latter will find ways to retain you, keep you in your job and ultimately in New Zealand, long term.
It may take a little more time, there may be bumps on the road, pero as Ted Ito says in the song, ang pangarap mo’y makakamtan, basta’t maghintay ka lamang.
Thanks for reading!