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Recently I've been working on a case for a retail manager in the fast food industry. This person works in a franchise branch of a popular food chain in New Zealand.
His role is the store manager and his duties are all you'd expect from this type of worker, including book keeping, hiring and firing product selection, etc.
My concerns when this person approached me was Immigration New Zealand stance on franchisee retail managers and the discretion the officer has on what is considered sufficient to show our client is indeed skilled according to immigration instructions.
All fair enough you might say, until you dig deeper. Immigration New Zealand instructions say
that an applicant's current position must substantially meet the ANZSCO description of the role.
So what is substantial? 80%, 90%, more? Well the answer is "it's at the discretion of the Immigration Officer".
So what does ANZSCO say about what any of their AZSCO description of a job role?
To get this information I contacted Statistics New Zealand who are responsible for putting together
the ANZSCO descriptions. Their response was very interesting (my request was specifically about retail managers):
"The tasks and skills listed for the occupation as described in ANZSCO are indicative only i.e. they are not a
mandatory or compulsory requirement for a person reporting themselves as a retail manager to be classified to the
ANZSCO category. A person reporting themselves as a Retail Manager, or Manager of a franchise fast food chain, will
be classified as such regardless of whether they are undertaking all, some, or any combination of the tasks listed.
There is no weighting or percentage applied to any of the tasks listed, nor are the tasks listed in any priority order for any occupation described in ANZSCO".
So if there are no core compulsory tasks and no requirement for any of the duties to be done or performed, how can an
officer use ANZSCO as the basis for their decision and how can decide what is substantial if again none of these requirements are mandatory?
I think of myself as a reasonable person and as a former immigration officer I understand the pressures they face on a day to day basis. It of course makes sense that they must use something as a guideline to make a decision and with no other real options, ANZSCO is the best choice. But my concern is the word "substantial" and the discretion the officer has around this.
If there is no weighting on a task, who's to say what is most important to that particular business? If the client meets six out of eight (75%) of the tasks on a list, is that not substantial? I mean if you ate ¾ of a pie, you at most of that pie, right?
The discretionary interpretation of ANZSCO means that it is not possible to know if an applicant who meets, for example 75%, of the ANZSCO description (and all other criteria) will even be considered under this category.
Personally I believe it's time this policy or at least the interpretation of it was made clearer. If Immigration New Zealand do not want certain types of retail managers, then declare it. If they are not bias against a particular type of manager, then define the word substantial.
Easier said than done? Maybe. But the longest journey always starts with the first step.