mga pahabol na pamasko sa ating kabayang naka WV

[I’ve said this many times before, but this blog is definitely not meant to be advisory in nature, we can’t be responsible for any action arising from reading this crazy blog. Please engage the services and advice of a licensed immigration adviser in New Zealand. Thanks for reading, and thank you to
YouTuber amadeusiom for the awesome video!]

BASED ON GOVERNMENT records, of the 193,000 plus plus work visa holders (also known as guest workers) in New Zealand right now (I say plus plus because expanding the strict definitions in practical ways may make it much much more), between 11,000 and 21,000 (based on approvals the last two years, it could be a little more if you include three year visas) are our very own kabayan, or brown-skinned brothers and sisters.

It’s common sense to assume that these work visa holders want to be permanent residents after a while, after all that’s the reason most of them (99.9%) came here to work in New Zealand. At the very least, you sacrifice the best years of your life away from family, friends and loved ones in the Inang Bayan in hopes of giving your children and grandchildren a better life. For the hard-working guest worker, becoming a resident and eventually a citizen allows him/her access to decent retirement benefits, a decent health care system, and a simple but comfortable way of life in New Zealand.

BUT THE RULES KEEP CHANGING FOR THESE GUEST WORKERS. Not just the actual requirements, like the conditions of work, amount of wages, how badly you’re needed by the business or employer, but how these requirements are determined, the way they’re assessed, and terms or definitions of these requirements.

It’s almost like, you start a tournament basketball game with the standard goal 10 feet above the ground, and referees to officiate the game. At half time, the officials’ table suddenly decides just for the heck of it to raise the goal another foot (to 11 feet) and change both referees from professional to amateur, just to show that they’re worth the talent fees they’re paid. Nakakabaliw (crazy), right?  The analogy is a bit extreme, but every now and then, to keep numbers down, and to keep the balance between inward and outward migration, the rules are constantly changed for residency hopefuls.

It’s long past the season of giving, but we thought up a short list of giveaways that would help our kabayan work visa holders:

Expand ANZSCO, or get rid of it. I’m no expert, but I do know that ANZSCO is a list of occupations defining all kinds of jobs in both Australia and New Zealand. It was created in one of those countries, Australia I think, and was adopted by New Zealand to make it organized, easily classified for jobs useful for both countries. The problem is, New Zealand is not Australia, and I’m willing to bet my last peso that there are jobs currently filled by work visa holders not on this list.

ANZSCO might be helpful but there are lots of jobs that fall between the gaps, and therefore make it more difficult for residence applicants. If your job isn’t on ANZSCO, you will have a harder time applying, unless there is a special residence pathway for you. There have been a couple of new versions of the list, but I’m guessing there are a few more jobs that aren’t included.

Retain remuneration bands for purpose of defining skill levels. To be considered skilled and therefore deserving to be invited to apply for residency in New Zealand, working an  ANZSCO listed job isn’t enough. (See what I mean about ANZSCO?) You have to be earning a decent enough wage to show you’re important to your employer and that your job is valued enough to be paid serious coin. Fair enough. But you know what? Just because a rule says it’s a hard enough job and complicated enough job to be paid a certain rate per hour doesn’t mean those working that job are actually being paid that amount.

That’s right. If a scaffolder from Butuan, based on industry rates, should be paid around $27 an hour , enough under the current rules to classify him as mid-skilled and therefore a possible candidate for residency (assuming he complies with other requirements) , it doesn’t mean he actually gets that. He may have signed a contract giving him less, or he may have to earn his desired rate after some experience or qualifications reached. And because he earns less, he is considered unskilled. (So unskilled kinuha pa sya from the Middle East ng recruiter, but I’m being sarcastic OK?)

In a perfect world, sana ifreeze muna ang remunerations to give time, at least to those who’ve already been working here a couple years, to apply first. But no. Next month, after only two years, the rules on this topic are changing again. And if you blink, you might miss the next change…

Make it easier for parents to get in.  This is not really for work visa holders but all migrants, but then again we all want our parents to be with us, so… The latest change in the parent visa category have all but made it impossible for parents of regular migrants to become New Zealand residents. You have to be earning like a senior, senior manager or tops in your field, like a PhD or doctoral degree holder AND earner before your parents can be considered.

Family is very important for many, many migrants in NZ. Having immediate family, and after this extended family is among the priorities for many migrants, among them Asians and Filipinos, when considering New Zealand as a migrant destination. The stereotype of bringing in grandparents to help take care of toddlers and growing children is seriously misplaced and hinders New Zealand from genuinely understanding family as part of the equation in migrating to New Zealand.

The Labor Government made it look like they finally reopened the parent category that was suspended for so long, when actually,  by (again) drastically changing the rules and making it possible for only the fewest of the few (maybe less than 10%) of migrants to bring in their parents, they just broke a lot of hearts. Maawa naman kayo Labor Government, bring back the old rules!

So many late Christmas wishes for our kabayan guest workers in NZ, and chances are they’ll remain just that, wishes. But to get what we want, we sometimes need a rebellion. And as one of the most memorable Star Wars quotes go, rebellions are built on hope. And for now, hope is all we have.

Maligayang 2020 sa lahat! thanks for reading!

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