Saturday, January 24, 2009

On to Permanent Residency (Updated)

It's been a little over two years now since we first set foot in New Zealand. Time for immigration paper works again this time looking at applying for Permanent Residency. Again, depending on which category you come to NZ determines the right time to apply for PR. As for us, we're on the Work-To-Residence Permit under Talent (Accredited Employer) stream. So basically I simply have to stay employed with the employer or other employers as long as I'm granted "Variations of conditions" for up to 2 years then I'll be eligible for PR.

You may think that 2 years is quite a long wait to become PR, well, compared to a regular "Work Permit", we don't have to go through "Expression of interest", "Points assessment" and eventually "Invitation to apply" type-of-thing. I simply have to submit the necessary papers that show I have stayed employed for a valid employer under valid conditions (minimum salary required, permanent, on-going, genuine, at least 30 hours per week, etc.). After submitting all the necessary requirements, it takes up to 3 months for processing then we'll have to pay a Levy and that should complete the process.

Here's the list of the requirements that we need to accomplish in order to lodge our application:
  1. Letter from employer showing that the base salary meets the minimum requirement. (Dated not less than 1 month).
  2. Letter from employer showing that the contract is on-going, genuine, at least 30 hours per week, etc. (Dated not less than 1 month).
  3. Complete medical examination and chest x-ray results of not less than 3 months at time of application.
  4. Police certificates from all countries we have lived for more than 12 months in the last 10 years. Since I come from the Philippines, they require both the local Police Clearance and the NBI Clearance. (Dated not less than 6 months.)
  5. 700 NZD for the application fee.
  6. English proficiency requirements for my partner: (a)Letter from the University of San Carlos; (b) Letter from current employer.
We had our medical and x-ray exams on the first week of December 2008. It cost us a fortune as it is quite expensive. It took about a week for the results to be available and thank God, everything is normal. Actually it was a 3 step process; it goes something like this:
  1. Setup an appointment with the Medical Center. Here we brought our partially filled-up medical forms to the nurse; the other details are filled-up during the appointment.
  2. Go to a laboratory to get blood tests and x-ray done. The results usually takes up to a week to be available.
  3. Once the results are available, they are sent directly to the Medical Center and we are notified about it and then we setup another appointment, this time with a doctor. In this appointment, the doctor does some final physical checks and goes through the results with us. He then signs it and puts it in a sealed enveloped for us to take home.
When we had our medical exams in the Philippines before, at Velez Hospital, they did not give us the chance to see our results. They gave it to us in a sealed envelope already. The doctor here told us that why would the results be hidden from us, after all, it's too personal for us.

The requirements from my employer, the letters, were no big deal. However, it is wise to get them later as they need to be dated not less than 1 month during which the application is lodged.

We also got a letter from the University of San Carlos for my partner confirming her degree and that the medium of instruction used is English.

The trickier part of this whole process is the NBI and Police Clearance from the Philippines. Well, as always, or should I say, "as useless", it takes ages to get these documents even the requirements for these documents themselves are quite a mission to get hold of. You will need cedula, birth certificate, 2x2 photos and the payment, of course -- you know, the usual inefficiencies in our government processes.

The trick here is to get these documents way way way ahead of schedule. In our case, the NBI clearance actually has cost us dearly. It cost me money and time and effort too.

Since I don't have any recent NBI clearance on hand, (I did have one 6 years ago which I couldn't find anymore, that's when I got my passport), I have to fill-up a new NBI finger-print form. In short, my sister-in-law has to mail the form to me then I'll fill it up in the local police station here and then mail it back. Then to top things up, I had "a hit". That means I have to wait for another 1 week for their computer to decide that I'm cleared. Yes, they literally wait on the computer; the Philippines is high-tech you see. :-?

Anyway, finally my name was cleared, so I should then have my clearance shoudn't I?? But wait, there's more! They ran out of ink! Can you believe that?? Well, maybe that's understandable as maybe someone was printing some wedding invitation letters during that time. Oh well...

Finally we got our NBI clearances and our application is now with Immigration. Fingers-crossed, hopefully everything will go well.

Some tips to prevent inadvertent delays:
  • Make sure you have all the necessary requirements. Call up the immigration office when in doubt. Don't just listen to what other people are saying. Do your homework.
  • Pay attention to the dates and times. The medical/x-ray certificates need to be less than 3 months old upon submission. The police/NBI clearances need to be less than 6 months old. The letter from the employer needs to be 1 month old.
  • Request for the Philippine documents ahead of time. As you can see, police/NBI clearances first. Also if you need to request docs from the University, get them early as well.
  • Go through and fill-up the application form carefully. Read all of the inlined instructions and make use of the checklist provided. When in doubt, consult the guide or better yet call the immigration office.
  • Don't forget to sign the application form. Remember that everyone that's included in the application that's more than 17 years old must sign the application.
  • Create a cover letter for the application enumerating what documents you are submitting. This is also an opportunity for you to highlight something or point the immigration officer to something that you think needs their attention.
  • When submitting the application in the NZIS branch, there's no need for you to line up in the queue. Go straight inside and find the correct envelope for new applications. Put all the documents inside, fill-up the info side and seal it up then drop it in the designated drop box. If you don't know where these are or can't figure it out, just ask.
Update: Our residency is now approved. It took 3 months for the processing. We now sent back our passports so that they can attach the annotations and paid the migrant levy. Whooohoo!



kiwipinoy said...

you mean after two years ngyn ka pa lng mag-aaply ng perm res?

this is how we became perm res in nz.

1. submit application online for EOI, jun07.
2. applied for tourist visa to visit friends in nz, jul 07.
3. went to nz, august 07 - after two days found a job, waited for work visa documentation; started working sep 07 - when work visa was issued.
4. informed EOI that currently in nz and holding work visa, oct 08.
5. submitted application for perm residency, feb 09
5. required to do med, mar 09.
6. after 8 month wait - perm res status comes out nov 09

perm residence stamped 2 years - can go out of nz anytime with return visa multiple, after 2 years perm res to be converted to lifetime perm residency. then on to citizenship.


Dennis said...

Yep, residency from work requires 2 years employment in NZ.

So you got your PR in about 1 year since EOI, not bad.

Here's the kicker, how much in total did you spend from your pocket? From your EOI (June 07) + Plane fare + 1 month survival before work + Med (Mar 09).

We spent about 30,000 pesos in coming here, the company paid for the plane fare plus 3 weeks accommodation and 2 weeks rental car plus 400 NZD (Medical) + 700 NZD (PR application) -- all of this is with my wife and daughter altogether.

Thanks very much for sharing your experience. This is the kind of information that will greatly help other Pinoys considering to relocate to NZ.

Anonymous said...

sir Dennis,
bakit ganyan lang ang nabayaran mo.saamin ngayon almost more than300t pati na 3 weeks accomodation and ticket.di pa sigurado and work.migration visa ang kinuha nmen ang sayo ba is working visa na agad?

Dennis said...

Because the employer paid for the plane fair and 3 weeks accommodation. But even IF they did not, we would still have just spent 160T pesos. It's much much cheaper if you first find work and get hired rather than migrating here first and then look for work.