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Highly skilled jobs grow in NZ

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About jobs in New Zealand, there’s some good news. While the unemployment rate continues to remain high, those employed are working in highly-skilled jobs. There are more highly-skilled jobs and fewer lower-skills jobs than three years ago.

More New Zealand employees are working in highly skilled jobs than in any other type of work, according to Statistics New Zealand.

The Household Labour Force Survey information shows that over one-third of staff in the December 2012 quarter were in jobs categorised into the top of five skill groupings. That compares to one in six people in the lowest skilled grouping.

highly skilled jobs in Auckland

Skill composition also differs by ethnic group. Almost half of European and Asian people work in highly skilled (managerial and professional) jobs, while over half of Māori and Pacific peoples work low skilled jobs.

Even young workers are in good jobs. The jobs done by employed teenagers moved from lower skilled to highly skilled as they become young adults.

The number of people in highly skilled jobs increased by 60,000 since 2009, mainly due to growth in the number of jobs in the health, professional, and agricultural industries.

The number of people working in highly skilled jobs differs by age and ethnicity, but that men and women work equally in both the most highly skilled jobs.

Economic News also explores New Zealand’s direct investment relationship with Australia, and the effects that the global financial crisis had on whether companies chose to reinvest their profits, or return them to their overseas parent companies as dividends.

The report looks at how company behaviour differs between the banking and corporate sectors, and how this has changed over time.

Australian-owned banks, for example, reinvested most of their profits back in to New Zealand during 2011 and 2012, while corporates returned most of their profits to their parent companies in Australia as dividends.

New Zealand earns less from its investments abroad than the rest of the world earns from its investment in New Zealand. Much of this investment income is attributable to Australia, as it is New Zealand’s largest investment partner for both inward and outward investment.

Stocks of Australian investment made up 56% of total foreign direct investment (FDI) stocks in New Zealand as at 31 March 2012.

One concerning fact emerged about Australian companies operating in New Zealand. In the years ended March 2009, 2011 and 2012, more dividends were paid out to shareholders than the actual profits generated. This means that Australian corporates didn’t reinvest any profits in New Zealand for those years.

Read: Skill levels of New Zealand jobs

Immigration Work Abroad

OZ immigration attends mining expo

australia mining jobs

With the declining popularity of mining jobs in Australia, the Australian immigration officers have decided to attend at the upcoming Xstrata mining expo in Mt Isa from April 30 to May 2.

The immigration staff will provide information on employer-sponsored skilled migration options and explain new laws and penalties for employing or referring people who are not allowed to work.

This comes on the back of significant changes to the employer-sponsored skilled visa program introduced in July 2012.

“Our officers will be on hand to provide an overview of these changes, including information about SkillSelect, and individual appointments will also be available,” a spokesman from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) says.

SkillSelect is an online service that connects Australian employers with potential skilled migrants and streamlines the pathway to permanent residence for people already working in Australia on temporary skilled 457 visas.

australia mining jobs

“Our officers provide a range of information about temporary or permanent employer-sponsored visa options and the concessions available for regional applicants.”

The immigration team will also try to educate businesses about their responsibility for checking to ensure that the workers they use are allowed to work in Australia.

This will include information about new laws recently passed by the Parliament, which introduce civil penalties and infringement notices for employers or labour suppliers of illegal workers.

After a boom in mining jobs in Australia between 2009 to 2011, many mining companies have announced job cuts.

Goldminer Tanami Gold has stopped production at its West Australian Coyote mine resulting in up to 150 job losses, says The Australian. This is caused by the steep drop in the price of gold. The Gold price fell US$300 in a fortnight to US$1325 an ounce in April 2013.

According to figures from Mackie Employer Solutions, staff turnover at mining companies has fallen nearly 5 per cent over the past six months to 14.8 per cent annually – a figure not seen since the global financial crisis.

Immigration News Work Abroad

Name, skin colour, accent affect job opps – Amail Habib

Jobs New Zealand

“Your name, skin colour and accent do affect your employment opportunities,” says Amail Habib, deputy chair of the Auckland Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel.

Habib in inviting Aucklanders from ethnic as well as mainstream communities to join in a conversation about racism.

The Panel of the Auckland Council is hosting a mini-conference on racism on Saturday 27 April at AUT University in Auckland.

Jobs New Zealand

The focus of the conference is to discuss the extent to which racism impacts Auckland’s ability to be a diverse and inclusive city. One of the outcomes of the conference will be to provide solutions to racism in employment as this is said to affect a large number of Auckland’s ethnic communities.

“We need to address the issue of racism and how it affects employment opportunities, and to action solutions.” says Dr Camille Nakhid, Chair of the Ethnic Panel.

While there is skills shortage is many industries, Auckland also faces a heavy exodus of people leaving for better opportunities overseas, especially Australia.

With few jobs available, the job discussion for immigrants often involves employment opportunities for native Kiwis.

Earlier this month, New Zealand First political party told the Parliament that 49 temporary work visas were issued to foreigners to work as ‘checkout operators’ in New Zealand last year.

There are now about 620,000 Kiwis across the ditch and they are leaving at the rate of 30,000 a year, says NZ First leader Winston Peters.

“Most are leaving because they can’t get the job they want in their own country.”

The issue of racism is particularly important for New Zealand’s largest city Auckland. Auckland’s population was over 20% Asian and is on target to reach 30% by 2021, and “whether that is a good or bad thing, you have never been asked your opinion on population targets in this country,” says Peters.

The conference will be closely watched as it is one of the first public engagements for the newly appointed Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.Her appointment to the race relations role attracted heavy criticism in mainstream as well as social media recently. She replaces outgoing commissioner who served two five-year terms as the commissioner from 2002 to 2013.

In addition to Dame Devoy, Auckland Mayor Len Brown will also address the conference.

The council expects around 150 participants to come together to discuss an issue which is not usually talked about openly.

The Conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 2p.m. at Sir Paul Reeves Building (WG), 2 Governor Fitzroy Place, Auckland.

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Canada launches online tool for new migrants

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Canada has launched a new guide and web tool to help newcomers settle and integrate in the country.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s new publication, Welcome to Canada, will assist immigrants in preparing to come to Canada and to help them navigate their way during their first months.

“The new edition shows our commitment to helping the citizens of tomorrow experience a smoother transition into their new community and into the Canadian workforce,” says Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.

Twice as long as the previous edition, the new guide is developed in consultation with several federal partners and experts in the field of integration, and has been reviewed by new immigrants.

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The guide features practical information on many different topics including how to access language classes, basic information about Canada’s education system, laws and the justice system, the labour market and much more.

For the first time, the Welcome to Canada guide includes examples of immigrants to Canada who have successfully integrated. The guide was enriched by advice and anecdotes from Nick Noorani, himself an immigrant and an expert who specializes in immigrant integration and career outcomes.

“Canada has given me more than I could ever have dreamed of,” says Nick. “And through my experiences I can help future immigrants succeed in Canada and this guide is a big part of that.”

This is the first time the Welcome to Canada guide has been revamped since it was first introduced in 1997. Like  Discover Canada citizenship study guide, Welcome to Canada is available in PDF or E-book format.

Similarly, the immigration department launched another interactive tool – Living in Canada Tool, also intended for newcomers. The new tool comes on the heels of the success of the Come to Canada Wizard, the online immigration assessment and application tool,

The Living in Canada Tool produces a semi-customized settlement plan filled with tips, next steps, and useful links based on user responses to the initial questionnaire. Users can also find local immigrant-serving organizations with the integrated Find Services map, and can bring with them their customized settlement plan for additional, personalized support.

To help newcomers integrate, the Government has tripled settlement funding since 2005-06 and remains committed to ensuring the distribution of settlement funding is fair, that immigrants receive the same level of service, regardless of where they choose to settle, says the immigration minister.

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Murdoch calls Australia’s visa restrictions “racist”

Australia-born media owner Rupert Murdoch has strongly condemned Australia’s new 457-visa rules for foreign workers.

Rupert says the language the government uses is “disgraceful and racist,” referring to 457-class laws that guide how employers should hire skilled staff, reported Agence France-Presse.

The 21 percent growth in the number of 457 visa workers in one year has exceeded national employment numbers, says Australia’s Labor Party. “The program is being increasingly driven by temporary visa holders seeking to remain in Australia instead of the demands of the Australian labor force,” the government’s immigration department said in a statement.

The Australian Government is taking measure to control the visa abuse, a move being  criticized by Rupert.

“I think the way that they’re talking about the 457 is pretty disgraceful and racist, but I’m a big one for encouraging immigration, I think that’s the future,” Rupert told Sky News.

“A mixture of people — just look at America — is just fantastic,” the News Corporation chief said.

 “There are difficulties for generations of migrants sometimes if there are too many from one area, but they meld in a couple of generations and it leads to tremendous creativity in the community.

“Skilled migration was vital to economic growth in Australia’s north, which is in the grip of a mining and resources boom with billions of dollars of investment slated for the coming years.

 

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New Saudi law to affect Indians

jobs in UAE

Saudi Arabia’s attempts to secure employment for locals is likely to affect Indian workers – the largest group of foreign nationals working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Kingdom’s attempt to protect jobs for its nationals is driven by this high unemployment rate. The Kingdom has a very high unemployment rate – about 12% overall and 39% for those between the age of 15 and 25 years, according to an estimate.

However, as many as 5 million South Asians, majority of them Indians, work in and drive the Arab economies. At two million workers, the Indians represent the largest foreign workforce in the region. About six million Indians work in the six Gulf states and represent about a quarter of Indians living outside India.
jobs in UAE
Those most affected by the law changes will be the low skilled workers in small and medium enterprises in Saudi Arabia.

“In the wake of Arab Spring uprisings, the government views unemployment among nationals as a long-term strategic challenge that needs to be handled effectively,” says the Arabian Gazette website.

The UAE’s answer is the Nitaqat  (naturalization) programme which aims to increase the employment opportunities for the local workers.

Almost half of companies in the kingdom are in the Red zone of the Nitaqat system, despite the labour ministry’s intensive campaign to Saudize jobs in the private sector, says Arab News. The Red category contains 19 major companies, according to the ministry.

The firms in the red zone have failed to employ the minimum number of Saudi nationals in the organisation.

The Nitaqat programme is expected to affect two million foreigners working in the kingdom – a majority are Indians.

The labour ministry seems to be very firm in implementing Nitaqat system. “The Kingdom will not allow anybody to continue violating its regulations because it harms public interests,” Labour Minister Adel Farkeih was quoted in the local media.

“If the laws are not followed, the interior and labour ministries will take maximum measures by law against the violators.”

If the affected employees’ work permits are not renewed, they may lose their residence permit too. Those without residence permit could be deported. If such expatriate workers are deported in large number, then the kingdom’s infrastructure, construction and property sector is likely to be affected.

However, the Indian government officials are not perturbed. While the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs  has expressed concerns and has said it is in talks with their counterparts in the UAE, no solution has surfaced.

The Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi has reportedly spoken with Ambassador Hamid Ali Rao and asked for information from the Indian envoy about the impact of the new labor policy on the huge Indian diaspora living in Saudi Arabia.

The Indian embassy in the UAE has prepared itself to offer support to affected Indians working in the UAE.

Some believe that companies may find a workaround the policy by hiring some local staff just to make up numbers, and continue to recruit expatriates to do the “real work”.

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Paulini to become Aussie

Fijian-born singer Paulini is taking up Australian citizenship tomorrow at a special ceremony in Canberra coinciding with Australia’s Harmony Day.

“Australian citizens come from across the globe and my story is no different,” says Paulini. “I moved here from Fiji when I was four-years-old.”

“I am so excited to be taking this step to formally join the Australian family.”

“No matter where you come from, you can contribute something special to what it means to be Australian. We have a diverse, free and inclusive society and this is the one thing I love most about Australia,” she says.

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Paulini came into limelight when she became one of the top four finalists in Australian idol. She went on to top the Australian ARIA Charts in 2004 with her debut Platinum album “One Determined Heart” and her Platinum smash single “Angel Eyes”, both hitting the No. 1 spot (Angel Eyes remained at the top of the charts for 6 consecutive weeks). She is one of only ten Australian female solo artists to have a #1 album.

“I’m at the happiest point in my life. I’m spending my spare time in the studio writing and creating my own work”.

Paulini will receive her Australian citizenship on the Harmony Day where this year’s theme is: Many Stories – One Australia.

More than 50 people from 21 countries will become citizens at the ceremony, fittingly on a day where Australians celebrate the nation’s diversity.

“The values of inclusiveness, respect and belonging are fundamental to the development of Australia’s successful multicultural framework and these values are at the core of what Harmony Day is about,” a spokesman for Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship says.

Paulini

Since Harmony Day began in 1999, about 50,000 events have been staged across Australia with community groups, schools, churches, local governments and the business community once again coming together to celebrate the cultures that make Australia a great place to live.

Harmony Day is celebrated on March 21 each year, which is also is also the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

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Our dreams for Aotearoa

work in New Zealand

‘Our Dream for Aoteaora’ is the theme of the Race Relations Day celebrations organised by Auckland Regional Migrant Services (ARMS) on the 21st of March.

The one day event in New Zealand’s Auckland will explore the implications for migrants of the current review of NZ’s constitutional arrangements, abuse of employment rights, issues relating to accessing of our health services, and valuing diverse voices in local democracy.

Aoteaora, which means the land of the long white cloud, is the Maori name for New Zealand.

“ARMS’ dream for Aotearoa-New Zealand is to be a nation that upholds human rights and democracy, and is fully inclusive”, says Dr Mary Dawson, ARMS Chief Executive. “For Auckland, as a super-diverse city, ARMS’ dream is that the voices of our diverse communities are fully heard and their contributions truly valued”.

work in New Zealand

The speakers at the event are lawyer, Mai Chen; workers’ advocate, Dennis Maga; African health advocate, Tuwe Kudakwashe; and member of the Puketapapa Local Board, Ella Kumar.

The event also celebrates the 10th anniversary of the opening of ARMS Regional Centre. “Many new migrants come from very different systems and political regimes,” says Dr Dawson.

“Many are apprehensive about seeking advice, knowing where to go for assistance, whether to speak up, and how to adapt to their new country. The role of ARMS is to make sure that assistance is available to newcomers, and that they are treated with respect.”

Auckland Mayor Len Brown is looking forward to the celebrations.

“Migrants have always brought and continue to bring a wealth of experiences to this great city, which we should and do celebrate,” says Mayor Brown.
“Aucklanders are increasingly aware of the value of diversity, and if that goes going hand in hand with tolerance and celebration we will build a truly inclusive city.”

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UK, NZ, OZ to share visa office in Singapore

Australian and New Zealand clients in Singapore will receive better access to immigration services through a new, first-of-a-kind visa centre from 25 March.

Both countries’ immigration departments today announced details of the first Five Country Conference (FCC) shared visa application centre (VAC) there.

Australia and New Zealand will share the facility with the United Kingdom.

The FCC nations of Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Canada and the United States work together to enhance security and efficiency of their immigration services.

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A spokesman for Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship said the VAC would provide more convenient access to immigration and citizenship services for clients in this region.

“These services will include extended operating hours with phones open until 5pm weekdays, and internet kiosks with an online application tracking facility so clients can view the status of their applications,” the spokesman said.

“All applications will continue to be assessed and decided by immigration staff at both the Australian and New Zealand high commissions. VAC staff will not be involved in decisions or have any knowledge of application outcomes.”

The spokesman says the use of shared visa application facilities would lead to improved services for clients of each country and would also achieve greater efficiencies through shared infrastructure and staffing.

“Savings achieved this way are ultimately able to be passed on to our clients,” the spokesman says.

Each country has agreed to share a global network of visa application centres.

From 25 March, the visa application centre in Singapore will be located at 20 Cecil Street, #11-02 to 05 Equity Plaza, Singapore 049705.

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Australia Immigration to meet overstayers

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Australia’s immigration officials will be visiting smaller cities in New South Wales, speaking to people who do not have a valid Australian visa and discuss with them any issues they might be facing.

Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) officers will visit south-west NSW from 18 to 21 March and provide immigration information to people who have overstayed their visas, as well as local service providers and community leaders.

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In some cases, the team from the department’s Community Status Resolution Service (CSRS) section will be able to issue temporary visas (short-term bridging visas).

The team will meet local communities around Buronga, Euston, Murray Downs and Moama.

“This enables people in communities outside capital cities, who do not have a valid Australian visa or are currently on a bridging visa, to speak face-to-face with an immigration officer about specific issues they might be facing,” a departmental spokesperson says.

The team will be joined by staff from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an independent organisation which provides assistance for eligible people to return home. IOM staff will be available to discuss the services they provide and who is eligible.

“The department is committed to ensuring the integrity of Australia’s migration and visa programs: people must have a valid visa to remain in the country,” the spokesperson says.

Individual appointments will be available at the Alcheringa Sporting Club, Carramar Drive, Buronga, from 9.30am to 4pm on 18 March.

Staff will also be available at the Euston Oval Community Centre, off Carey Street (Sturt Highway), Euston, from 9.30am to 4pm on 19 March.

They will also be available at Swan Hill Conference Centre, Lot 5, Murray Downs Drive, Murray Downs, from 9.30am to 4pm on 20 March.

The team will then visit Moama Bowling Club (The Pavilion), 6 Shaw Street, Moama, and will be available from 10am to 4pm on 21 March.

To book an appointment, contact the CSRS on 02 6195 6146. Walk-ins are also welcome. For more information, visit DIAC website.

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What’s in a name? Everything, if you are a jobseeker

When university graduate Jorden Berkeley, 22, began applying for a job, she was surprised to have no responses.

Born in the United Kingdom of Caribbean parentage, she never dreamed that her name might be a problem. But a careers adviser suggested that she begin using her more English-sounding middle name – Elizabeth – in her applications.

“I was surprised by what she said but I put my middle name on the CV as well. I started to get back responses, not necessarily job offers but it went from nothing to getting interviews. It was quite an eye-opener. I spoke to friends and family and it’s a common occurrence. I’ve also read reports of Muslim women taking off their hijabs to get a job,” Berkeley told ILO News.

I put my middle name on the CV as well. I started to get back responses.”

Zunade Wilson, 22, also of Caribbean origin, had a similar experience, getting more callbacks when she used her middle name, Renatta. When she started working as a classroom assistant, she says she also faced discrimination.

“I wear my hair natural, in an afro. We were coming up to a school inspection and I was told that while the inspectors were there, I should do something with my hair, that I needed to make it neater. I said that this is how my hair grows and that I was not going to straighten it to please her.”

A UK parliamentary report, Ethnic Minority Female Unemployment: Black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi Heritage Women said that in 2011, the overall unemployment rate for ethnic minority women in the UK was just over 14 per cent, more than double that of white women and higher than the unemployment rate for ethnic minority men.

Among Pakistani and Bangladeshi women it rose to 20.5 per cent. Many in this group reported being questioned about their intentions regarding marriage and children because of assumptions based on ethnicity, said the report.

In other parts of the world, particularly Latin America and parts of Asia, indigenous women are often discriminated against when they enter the labour market, says the report by International Labour Organisation (ILO) of United Nations. “Sometimes they are ridiculed and are subject to verbal and physical abuse for wearing their traditional dress in the workplace.”

“Indigenous women all over the world experience discrimination, not only on the ground of sex, but also because of their indigenous identity, ethnicity, colour or religious beliefs. This multiple discrimination is particularly evident as women, particularly young indigenous women enter and try to advance through the labour market,” says Jane Hodges, ILO Gender Equality Director.

Persistent multiple discrimination

More than 170 countries have ratified the ILO’s Convention 111 on non-discrimination in employment, which dates back to 1958. Yet the latest ILO report on Equality at Work found that discrimination continues to be “persistent and multifaceted,” and has worsened with the global economic crisis.

“Discrimination has also become more varied, and discrimination on multiple grounds is becoming the rule rather than the exception,” the report said.

According to a separate ILO study on multiple discrimination in many parts of the world, racial profiling targeting Muslim men and dress codes targeting Muslim women in the workplace have become more common amid the global political tensions following the September 11 attacks in the United States in 2001.

The difficulty, say researchers, is separating the overlapping strands of exclusion linked to national and ethnic origin, race, religion and gender.

Lisa Wong, ILO senior non-discrimination officer, says that the ILO has identified racial discrimination as a priority concern. She is overseeing the production of a guide on promoting ethnic diversity in the workplace, which was pilot tested in South Africa next month.

Source: ILO News 

 

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401(K) and IRA – should expats invest in retirement plans?

Many overseas Indians and expats settled in the United States of America face a common dilemma – should they invest in a 401(K) plan or an IRA (Individual Retirement Account).

The confusion is more prominent among non-US citizens or those without permanent residence status in the US.

Many Indians working in the US have plans to return to India and would like to withdraw their contributions from their retirement plans.

Here’s the dilemma – if a non-US citizen contributes to a 401(k) plan at work, he makes tax savings on that amount. He also benefits from tax-deferred growth and employer match. However, if he chooses to withdraw his contribution early, he may be subject to taxes and a 10% penalty.

Is it then worth contributing to a 401(K) and a traditional IRA or Roth IRA for Indians?

While the concerns are valid, it should not hold you back from considering saving for your future retirement.

If you are a permanent resident (green card holder) when you leave America, it is easy to address the question of Federal taxes. You can use a phased withdrawal approach to minimize taxes. The idea is to withdraw only enough money each year to reduce the impact of taxes upon withdrawal. You can also reduce the 10% penalty for early withdrawal by rolling over the 401(k) to an IRA and then converting to a Roth IRA, subject to the restrictions for IRA rollover and Roth conversions. Speak to your tax consultant.

In fact, the problem is not so much about taxes in the US. You need to consider the taxes you will be required to pay in India, if you decide to take your savings back with you to India.

Indian residents are taxed on  their  income earned anywhere in the world, and a payment from an IRA is income.

However, there’s a ray of hope. India provides a special “semi-resident” status for those who worked abroad and returned to India. When in this status, income from foreign sources, including from retirement plans, are not taxed. Unfortunately, this status lasts only for a few years, so any phased-withdrawal strategy will have only a limited benefit.

For most overseas Indians who have invested in 401(K) or IRAs, the best thing to do is not withdraw money from the 401(k) account, if this is allowed, or to roll over to an IRA and leave it there until they are 60 years old. IRA custodians like Vanguard and Fidelity allow non-citizens to keep their IRAs even if they are no longer living in the US.  You can easily keep track of these accounts via internet from anywhere.

However, for these options to work, you need to be a permanent resident.

If you are not a green-card holder, then you are a non-resident alien and attract a 30% federal tax on IRA distributions when you leave the country . Also, the IRA custodian is required to withhold this 30% when the distribution is made. This harsh penalty may severely limit any benefit gained through tax-deferred growth and employer match on the 401(k) contributions.

In short, if you are not a green-card holder, there’s little point in investing in 401(K). But that’s a short-term view with the assumption that you intend to return to India after a few years. The truth is, most NRIs end up staying back in the US, get green card and retire. By then, it is too late to plan for the retirement.  They miss the valuable 401(K) boat.

What’s the difference between a 401(k) and an IRA?

Most people don’t know the difference between a 401(k) and an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).  All they know about a 401(k) is you can start withdrawing after you are 59-1/2 years old without attracting a penalty.

Here’s the difference – 401(k) is a pension plan and is offered through your the employer,  and involves your contributions and often contributions from your employer, whereas an IRA is a private investment funded solely by your money.

Secure your retirement with 401(k) easily

The maximum amount an individual can save in a 401(k) is $16,500 a year, or $22,000 if you’re 50 or older. If you can save that much, you should. If not, then grab your employer match. Many employers suspended 401(k) matches during the great recession, but they are starting to reinstate them. Make sure you contribute at least enough to get the matching contribution.

Each year, you can contribute as much as 15 percent of your salary or $10,000, whichever is less.

An employer can make similar contributions. Some companies contribute 33.3 cents to 50 cents for every $1 the employee contributes. What’s more, this amount is tax-deferred.

What’s the difference between traditional IRAs and Roth

Traditional are the old IRAs and Roth are the new ones. Roth are a better investment, unless you need deductions.

Traditional IRA: Any person working or receiving alimony can contribute to an IRA. Your employer does not contribute to your IRA, like 401(K).

You can go to a renowned investment company like Vanguard, Fidelity for opening an account. The maximum contribution each year is $2,000 in most cases. This limit is lower for higher income earners. Contact IRS for details.

Under IRA as well as  401(k) plan, you can withdraw funds without penalty after the age of 59-1/2.

However, if you are serious about your future, invest in Roth IRA. The bad news is the Roth is not deductible. But the good news is, the lock-in period is only five years. You must keep your money for at least five years in a Roth. If you withdraw within the first five years, you have to pay a 10 percent penalty. The amount you contribute is not taxable.

If you withdraw after you turn 59-1/2,  your withdrawals will not be taxed. Neither your contributions nor the capital gains are taxed. And this is the biggest advantage of investing in a Roth.

Because the maximum annual contribution is $2,000, it is to your benefit to start early and invest in a Roth IRA.

Think long-term.

(About author: Sanjeeve Pai is an investment advisor for overseas Indians. Views expressed here are for guidance only. Please seek professional advice before making investment decisions.)

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Indian recruiter wins IT award in NZ

RANN IT Recruitment won the coveted Seek Annual Recruitment Awards under the IT Recruitment – small category recently in Auckland.

RANN – “Resource & Networking Needs” is a specialist IT Recruitment Company based in Auckland dedicated to both permanent and contract positions. RANN IT recruit across full IT spectrum from Technical Business IT and Software Development, IT Management, as well as Infrastructure roles including Helpdesk and Desktop Support, Network and Middleware Specialist roles.

The SEEK Annual Recruitment Awards (SARAs) recognise the stars of the New Zealand recruitment industry. Winners are voted for by the country’s jobseekers and employers in recognition for delivering successful placements and providing outstanding client service.

RANN IT’s Managing Director, Nigam Mehta accompanied with a member of his team – Krithika KB accepted the award at the SARA event in Auckland on Thursday 22 November 2012. “Being recognised in these national awards in our first year of nomination is a great achievement for the team. Thank you to everyone for your support and for voting for us.”

Janet Faulding – General Manager SEEK New Zealand, explains the significance of these awards in recognising how the recruitment industry has supported Jobseekers in a changeable employment market.

“Winning agencies have provided outstanding levels of commitment to Jobseekers across New Zealand and supported them through this challenging period. We all know how stressful looking for a job can be, and having a recruitment agency that supports you though the process cannot be underestimated. The SARAs are a great opportunity to recognise the agencies that go the extra mile and provide exceptional levels of service.

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Why some people migrate, others don’t?

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Does your personality make you more likely to migrate?

A new study is exploring how personality characteristics influence not only whether someone will migrate, but where they choose to go, says Aidan Tabor, PhD candidate from the School of Psychology at New Zealand’s Victoria University of Wellington.

Aidan moved to New Zealand from the United States four years ago with her family. Her past research projects have focused migrants from the UK, South Africa and India.
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“Previously, researchers working in the US and Europe have found that certain personality traits are common among migrants,” says Aidan.

“But this research was primarily conducted with European and American university students. We don’t know if the pattern will be the same when we consider people from other cultures.

Researchers at Victoria University of Wellington’s Centre for Applied Cross-cultural Research are now seeking adult participants for an online survey that explores personality as it relates to the migration intentions.

Participation is open for anyone age 18+ living in New Zealand, as well as people living in other countries who are considering or planning on moving internationally to any destination. The researchers are particularly interested in hearing from people living in India who are considering or planning to emigrate.

One lucky participant will win a US$100 Amazon.com voucher. Take the online survey.

Related story: Migrating together more difficult than going alone- study

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NZ signs joint initiatives with India

A New Zealand India Research Institute was one of five memoranda of understanding signed between New Zealand and Indian institutions. The other MoUs covered areas such as vocational training, joint research training, student exchanges and ICT.

Collaboration and trade between New Zealand and India in the aviation sector is also set to grow following the signing of the India New Zealand Aviation Arrangement in New Delhi, says Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce.

The agreement was signed by the New Zealand High Commissioner Jan Henderson and the Indian Secretary of Civil Aviation KN Srivastava and was witnessed by Steven and India’s Minister of Civil Aviation, Ajit Singh.

India is predicted to jump from the ninth largest civil aviation market in the world to the third by 2020.

Domestic traffic in India is expected to grow from 46 million to 90 million passengers per year, with international traffic soaring from 34 million to 90 million in the same period.

“This rapidly growing market provides massive opportunities for New Zealand companies involved in aviation,” says Steven.

“It will encourage greater training and technical cooperation in aviation, including in the design and building of airports in India and flight training for Indian students in New Zealand.”

Indian Officer in Royal New Zealand Air Force

Indian Officer Beer Bains in Royal New Zealand Air Force (Image courtesy – Stuff.co.nz)

 

The New Zealand minister visited India with a delegation of nine New Zealand aviation companies. “He is also in India leading a delegation to lift New Zealand’s profile as a destination for international students and to support our tertiary institutions and companies seeking to grow their business in the Indian market,” says a statement from the minister’s office.

The minister also announced the the establishment of the New Zealand India Research Institute, to promote a closer research relationship between the two countries.

The New Zealand India Research Institute will be administratively based at Victoria University in Wellington and will include 40 academics in five New Zealand universities – Victoria, Auckland, Massey, Canterbury and Otago.

“The Institute will allow our two countries to learn more about each other through a greater level of joint research, post-graduate studies and staff exchanges,” says the minister.

The focus of the Institute will be on five areas: society and culture; migration; economics and business, environment and sustainability; and politics and security. In 2013 the Institute proposes to hold a major international conference in Wellington on one of those areas.

 

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Asian quota will be ‘insult to injury’ – activist

Job quota for Indians

Providing reservation in jobs for Indians or Asians will be counter-productive, says a human rights activist in New Zealand.

Anthony Ravlich, chairperson of Human Rights Council New Zealand (not to be confused with Human Rights Commission) says it is absurd that “New Zealand may now provide affirmative action (job reservations/quota) for perhaps its highest achieving group. Consequently, I see such affirmative action as being far more of an ‘insult’ than a help.”

Job quota for Indians

Anthony was responding to Human Rights Commission’s suggestion of ‘focus on inclusion’ to help address growing discrimination towards Asians.

According to a Human Rights Commission survey, an average of around 75 per cent of respondents identified Asian people as suffering “a great deal” or “some” discrimination”. (Race Relations in 2011, NZ Human Rights Commission report of March 2012).

The report adds that the commission will ‘actively focus on inclusion in all aspects of New Zealand life as a means to break down discrimination against Asian New Zealanders and other minority ethnic groups”.

The Race Relations Commissioner, Joris de Bres, told the New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils in Wellington earlier this year, “There are very few Asians on the boards of District Health Boards, not enough Asian teachers in our schools, not enough Asian local councilors community board members and Asian migrants continue to face discrimination in applying for jobs.’

Joris says that one of the organizations that has strongly focused on Asian recruitment over a recent years is the New Zealand Police. “All public agencies should be doing the same. Some private sector organizations, such as the major banks, have also reached out to Asian communities because it makes good business sense.”

However, Anthony is not in favour of job reservations for Asians.

“Asians are generally acknowledged to have a strong work ethic and are high achievers despite often being handicapped by having to learn English,” says Anthony.

“For instance, they are by far the highest achievers when it comes to gaining university entrance at school.”

Similarly, affirmative action is not widely used for other minorities, including Maori and Pacific peoples.

Replying to a separate query, Joris accepts that the use of “affirmative action” or “measures to ensure equality” in employment is not widespread in New Zealand, even though there is ample evidence of entrenched inequalities experienced by Māori in employment and elsewhere.

“Unless there is a specific reason in a specific circumstance, however, it would be unlawful to advertise specifically for people who are of Māori or of any other ethnicity,” says Joris.

What does the law say?

Part 2 of the Human Rights Act 1993 makes it unlawful to discriminate in employment on the grounds of race, colour, and ethnic or national origins.

However, it also provides at Section 73 (Measures to Ensure Equality) that “Anything done or omitted which would otherwise constitute a breach of any of the provisions of this Part shall not constitute such a breach if—

(a) it is done or omitted in good faith for the purpose of assisting or advancing persons or groups of persons, being in each case persons against whom discrimination is unlawful by virtue of this Part; and

(b) those persons or groups need or may reasonably be supposed to need assistance or advancement in order to achieve an equal place with other members of the community.”

Affirmative Action is permitted by the Act.

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Immigration advisor fined $280,000

work visa new zealand

A former immigration adviser in New Zealand has been ordered to pay more than a quarter of a million dollars by a tribunal for “calculated” and “systematic dishonesty”.

Glen William Standing must pay nearly $280,000 in refunds, penalties and compensation – the highest amount demanded from a single person by the Licensed Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal.

work visa new zealand

The Immigration Advisers Authority confirmed 19 former clients had made complaints against Glen – the highest number of complaints the Authority had received against a single person.

Two of the 19 complaints were upheld last year and in August 2011 Geln had his licence cancelled for providing incorrect advice.

The remaining 17 complaints were upheld in August this year.

The Tribunal found Glen had tried various ways to persuade clients to part with excessive fees, including making false claims that:

he provided his services as “an immigration law firm”

could 100% guarantee the client New Zealand residency and

he could be prosecuted if he didn’t secure the visa.

The Immigration Advisers Authority website shows that in 2011-12 the average fees charged by a licensed immigration adviser for residence visas ranged from $2,790, for those applying under the Family (Partner) category, to $3,810 for skilled migrants. Glen charged his 17 clients an average of $7,904.

Liquidators found Glen, the Nelson-based director of Golden Sands Migration Limited and former director of liquidated immigration consultancy Living New Zealand Limited had acquired around $635,000 in fees from overseas clients for work that had not been completed.

Authority Registrar of Immigration Advisers Barry Smedts urged consumers to read the Immigration Advice Consumer Guide.

“Potential migrants about to spend a large amount of money on a life-changing decision need to read our Consumer Guide before hiring an immigration adviser,” says Barry.

“Here they will find everything they need to know. There’s even a checklist so they can make sure their adviser is providing them with all the right documents.”

The Tribunal found Glen “personally tailored a deceitful misrepresentation for the individual client”.

The chair said: “The deceit was not puffery or exaggeration; it was calculated dishonesty for personal gain.

His objective was to solicit fees, with the intention of not delivering the services the clients were promised, and paid for.”

As a result of Glen’s promises, a Japanese woman resigned from her job, cancelled the tenancy of her apartment in Osaka and started having a house built in New Zealand only to be detained at the border and forced to explain why she was attempting to enter the country.

Another couple spent $100,000 relocating with their family and establishing a business only to discover their ability to remain in the country depended on their business having the potential to trade profitably within 12 months.

A Bangladeshi student was told there was a “free flight offer” and “a large volume of interest” from Christchurch employers for post-earthquake work. And another man, living in Spain, was told that finding employment was “the least of his worries” and that there were 132 vacancies.

Several of Glen’s clients lived in the United Kingdom and met him at organised events.

The Tribunal chair said: “In many, if not all, cases the fees Glen solicited came from clients who could ill afford to lose money they had put aside to pursue a major lifestyle ambition for themselves and their family.”

Glen was censured and prevented from reapplying for a licence for two years.

How to choose an immigration advisor?

The Immigration Advisers Authority was set up in May 2008 to regulate immigration advice both nationally and internationally.

Under the Immigration Licensing Act 2007 anyone giving immigration advice must have a licence unless they are exempt. Exempt people include lawyers and those working at Citizens’ Advice Bureaus among others.

For more information, read Immigration Advice Consumer Guide

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UK council to thank Indians

Indians in Leicester

A British council is planning to publicly thank Indian immigrants for their contribution to the economic recovery of the town.

The town of Leicester in the United Kingdom, which was once hostile to receiving Indian immigrants from Uganda, is considering a motion to thank them publicly.

Indian immigrants from Uganda arrived in Leicester on a cold morning of August 1972 – the council is marking the 40th anniversary of their arrival. The Asian migrants were expelled by Idi Amin.

Leicester, which was then struggling economically, did not want these migrants and the council even published advertisements in the Uganda media back then, saying that it was “in your own interests and those of your family… Not come to Leicester”.

“Not only has the Indian community worked hard and prospered over the years, it has also transformed a declining town into a buzzing multicultural haven that is the subject of study by several European towns,” writes Prasun Sonwalkar in the Outlook India.

The public thanksgiving will become reality thanks to efforts of Leicester councillor Sundip Meghani, son of one of the many Indians expelled from Uganda.

Over the 40 years, Leicester’s attitude towards Indians has changed and many Indians are now in leadership positions in politics, such as Goa-born Labour MP Keith Vaz. Parminder Nagra, star of ‘Bend It Like Beckam’, is from Leicester.

Ludhiana-origin Manjula Sood became the first Asian woman to become the mayor of the town in 2008.

The city council, inspired by the Gujarati community’s links back home, officially twinned Leicester with Rajkot in 1996.

With one in five citizens of Leicester being Indian, it is the largest ethnic group besides the White British. Indians in Leicester are predominantly (14.74%) Hindu, and Gujarati is the primary language of 16% of the city’s residents.

“Passengers at the Leicester train station are greeted with welcome signs in Hindi, Urdu and Gujarati, among other languages, while local radio stations Sabras Radio and BBC Asian network belt out latest Bollywood numbers and interviews with stars,” says the media report.

“Significantly, the first town Queen Elizabeth visited during her diamond jubilee celebrations earlier this year was Leicester, where she was welcomed by Bollywood songs and Indian dance, among other performances.”

There are nearly 1.4 million Indians in the United Kingdom.

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Anglicizing names on CVs still common, says job support group

Jobs in Auckland New Zealand

A community group that assists migrants in getting jobs says it does not encourage the use of anglicization or changing of names when applying for jobs.

New Zealand’s Auckland Regional Migrant Services Trust (ARMS) works with many skilled migrants and refugees, the majority of which get “extremely good employment outcomes”, a statement issued by ARMS says.

ARMS Chief Executive, Dr Mary Dawson, wants to encourage employers to welcome applications from internationally trained skilled migrants from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Her comments come on the back of media reports that discussed the findings of a Human Rights Commission report, titled A Fair Go for All.

The report found that not all New Zealanders, regardless of the colour of their skin, ethnicity or national origin got the same opportunity for good health, a good education, decent work and an adequate standard of living.

Jobs in Auckland New Zealand

Mary says that anglicizing of names on CVs is still a common practice adopted by many migrants, usually for ease of pronunciation by English speakers. The practice is also a  response to the fact that some employers will not consider applications from those with clearly non-English names.

“The Kiwi adage of ‘a fair go for all’ surely requires that New Zealand employers assess applications and content of CVs on their merits, without discrimination based on applicants’ names. “Applicants should be assessed and valued according to their relevant competencies and experience. Greater acceptance of diversity enhances our workforce capability, and is one key way to address major skill shortages across many industries.”

At the same time, a survey of ARMS’ job seeker migrant clients has shown a variation of views.

“I will never change my name,” says Kanchan Shenoy who has been working as an office administrator for three years. “It’s part of who I am and where I come from. I have adapted to the local culture and expect some adaptation from the people here, including potential employers.”

But that view is not shared by Edwin Socorin, an IT specialist who came to New Zealand two years ago on a work permit. “If I had a name which was hard for my employer to pronounce, I wouldn’t mind changing it.”

But is the name change really required? “I don’t think that changing my name should be relevant to getting a job,” says Gazelle Garcia, also an IT professional who has been living in New Zealand for four years. “I think my qualifications, attitude and personality should be more important.”

New Zealand Labour Party’s Ethnic Affairs spokesperson Rajen Prasad is concerned that many ethnic New Zealanders are struggling to get ahead.

“At most of the ethnic events I attend I am approached by highly qualified people who can’t find work, let alone work in their field.

“Many see this as the result of a personal failing. But this (Human Rights Commission) report sees the consistent poor performances as a failure of the institutions that provide the services and make decisions. This recognition of institutional discrimination is a breakthrough,” says Rajen.

“The report refers to racial profiling as a process resulting in discrimination in the workforce.  It suggests the solution may be building organisational commitment, being proactive, involving communities and developing targeted programmes.

“I urge employers to take up these suggestions,” says Rajen.

“Stories about doctors and engineers driving taxis are just some examples of people in work that is inconsistent with their qualifications. These are highly talented, well trained people and their skills should be recognised.

“This is not a time for excuses but a time to find solutions that utilise the skills and talents represented in our ethnic communities,” says Rajen.

A 22-year job seeker, who moved to New Zealand from Syria, was told he should change his name to something more Kiwi, says a NZ Herald report.

The Auckland-based civil engineer was applying for a graduate position within architectural business GM Designs in Invercargill.

The hiring manager, Graeme McMillan, asked for more details probably to determine his ethnicity, such as his photograph, his country of origin and how long he had lived in New Zealand. When the applicant asked why, Graeme told him: “Unfortunately any southern NZer client … would possibly think twice about dealing with anyone with a Middle Eastern name.”

He said the applicant should consider changing his name to “break down such a disadvantage”.

“I offered the placement to an Irish engineer due to his cultural similarity to that of NZers and their acceptance by most Southerners, as the province was originally settled by Irish and Scottish 120 years ago.”

Graeme seemed unapologetic about his hiring process: “All Chinese that we get take on an English name that you can pronounce. When you can’t pronounce their name, it’s very difficult.”

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NZ gets first Asian police inspector

New Zealand first Asian police inspector Rakesh Naidoo

Rakesh Naidoo has become not only the first Indian police inspector, but also first Asian officer to be promoted to the rank of an inspector in the New Zealand Police.

Commissioner Peter Marshall,says while Police is committed to the diversity of its staff, Rakesh had been promoted to Inspector purely on the basis of his abilities, achievements and potential.

“For you, this rank brings additional responsibility because you are going to be a shining light for other police officers from ethnic backgrounds,” the commissioner was quoted in a Police newsletter.

New Zealand first Asian police inspector Rakesh Naidoo

In his role as Strategic Ethnic Advisor, Rakesh has special responsibility for matters relating to communities from Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

He is part of a team known as Maori, Pacific and Ethnic Services, which is led by National Manager Superintendent Wally Haumaha. The team represents Maori, Pacific and Ethnic communities at the highest levels of policing.

Rakesh grew up in South Africa after his forefathers moved there from India.

When he joined New Zealand Police in 2001, it was with a desire to use his background and experiences as a migrant to work with ethnic communities.

“I am very humbled by the appointment and share this honour with my parents, colleagues and community,” Rakesh said.

“I knew that New Zealand Police was a well respected organisation with strong values, and that by working with them I could have a positive impact.”