INZ view of Managers defies logic

Mao felt very sad for his friend Mahendra (not real names), about whom I had written in my column in Indian Newslink earlier (April 1, 2014).

Obtaining a Diploma in Management, he was keen to apply for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category. Some of his friends had recently been issued with residence.

Mao could not understand why some were successful and some were not. He was very uncertain and confused. He has been in this country since he was 15 years old.

Mao held a management position with Subway, managing a very busy site. He had 10 staff reporting to him. The owner had six other stores and was completely reliant on Mao to run this business.

Success story

He had spent five years with Subway and learnt everything about the business. He had aspirations to buy one of his own. Their friend Dinu had done extremely well. Also a Diploma holder in Management, he had started his career as a cleaner before purchasing a franchise. He is now planning to purchase one more franchise.

He has gained residence status, expanded his business and is now employing people.

Mao approached IDESI legal for advice and representation. After analysing his case for prospects of success and doing risk assessment, we advised that it would be difficult we would do our best.

We were aware of the tendency on the part of Immigration New Zealand (INZ) not to issue residence permits to those considered as ‘burger flippers’ and not managers of establishment.

However some people are still being giver residence permit under this category.

With such differing decisions taken by INZ, it is hard for professionals like us to advise customers if their applications would be successful.

With proper parameters that are in line with the needs of the economy and the skills that New Zealand requires, there could be certainty on the outcome of applications.

Unsubstantiated claims

Are those that are coming out with Level 4 or Level 5 Diploma really that problematic and unattractive to New Zealand? Is their low level skill value label accurate or is it just a condescending view point?

Are they taking jobs away from New Zealanders? Is this a fact or a fear that is unsubstantiated? Are we dealing with a mind-set that is fixated in not seeing the merits of such candidates? Is their value being grossly underestimated? Do they have something to contribute to New Zealand?

The INZ campaign, running in certain western countries is unattractive. Are we underestimating supply that is home-grown or is the outside far more attractive?

Varied opinions

The ways of world are interesting to observe. Even more interesting is the opinions, each with their own quirks. In respect of the student scene, some say, “So what, it is none of my business,” while others may say, “It is their problem to have expectations; they should have researched better.”

According to a few others, “Some people are so desperate that they will do anything to get to New Zealand. They come here knowing what is in store for them and hence should not complain if things are not so rosy. They deserve what they get.”

These opinions are endless and viewed as valid or baseless depending on the perception of the people and the evolving circumstances.

Perceived difference

A majority of students applying for conversion of their student or work permit into residence do so through the Skilled Migrant Category.

So, what is the difference between Mahendra, Mao and Dinesh and their prospects of success for residence? All pointed to the timing of application being decided and more interestingly, the interpretation ‘Manager,’ which has changed over time.

The Australian and New Zealand definition (ANZSCO) states the overall task is to manage and control the establishment.

One would think that if a person is in charge of an outlet, then he or she is managing and controlling it. But according to the current interpretation by INZ, they not in charge of the establishment in the ANZSCO sense!

The perception, as I mentioned earlier, is that they are merely burger flippers.

The logical conclusion of this interpretation is that no franchise outlet according to INZ can ever have a Manager.

Are we living in a bubble? I wonder what it would take to burst.

Kamil Lakshman is a Lawyer & Principal of Wellington based law firm Idesi Legal Limited. She can be contacted on (04) 4616018 or 021-1598803. Email:; The opinions expressed in her article above are her own and not that of Idesi Legal Limited or the New Zealand Law Society, or its Wellington Branch, or its affiliated bodies and committees or Indian Newslink. Readers can send their comments (names can be withheld from publication on request) also to

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