Genuine Attempts – Do you “genuinely” get it?

If you have dealt with INZ directly for an Essential Skills Work Visa on more than one occasion you may have encountered concerns around a concept called “Genuine Attempts”.

INZ defines this on the website as “before you recruit offshore, you may be required to first offer the role to a New Zealand citizen or resident who can do the job or be readily trained to do it”. Barring the few exceptions to this rule, what this actually means is that to support an Essential Skill Work Visa, the role must first be advertised on an acceptable (as per INZ) platform before it can be offered to a migrant worker.

This all sounds rather obvious and simple at face value but herein lie the complexities. In this piece, we tackle the more common misconceptions held by visa applicants and their employers.

Firstly, the role must be advertised in a way that is attractive to potential job seekers. This means the advertising is not skewed to the applicant you have in mind; and/or must reflect the requirements of the role accurately (not be inflated). For example – if an employer is paying higher than average market rate for the role, they should look to publish this in their advert as it makes it more attractive.

Secondly, and possibly a lesser known fact, INZ only needs to know why New Zealanders that applied for the role were not suitable. The competition is not with other visa holders. Let’s look at the above definition again – “Before you recruit offshore, you may be required to first offer the role to a New Zealand citizen or resident who can do the job or be readily trained to do it”. It doesn’t say that you need to first offer the role to another or a more suitable non-NZ citizen or resident.

Thirdly, immigration instructions do allow for employers to superimpose their own requirements in an advertisement, over and above the ANZSCO (Australia New Zealand Standard of Classification of Occupations) requirements for that role – but care must be taken especially for low-skill roles. For example – a Chef (as per ANZSCO) only requires 3 years work experience or a relevant NZ recognised diploma. However, if an employer wishes to advertise with experience and a qualification for their chef, they can do so – but the Immigration officer may question the reason behind the excessive requirements. Only if the employer can satisfy INZ with their justification; will the visa be issued. This creates the need for striking a fine balance between the role requirements an employer could demand vs immigration policy.

Lastly, the fact that the applicant has worked in a company previously or is highly regarded by the employer – due to having specialist skills in a job where others can be trained readily – has no bearing on ‘Genuine Attempts’. This one aspect is often overlooked and hence we see this concern raised by INZ in many applications not done through our consultancy.

Genuine Attempts made by an employer to hire New Zealanders are assessed holistically by INZ – this means all the factors listed above combined will form a part of immigration officer’s assessment. Hence an expertly trained eye in looking for discrepancies can go a long way in ensuring a favourable outcome for the visa application.

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