Ensuring Migrant Skill Levels: A Guide for NZ Accredited Employers to Hire Quality Talent

A guide for NZ employers to verify migrant skills, conduct interviews, and provide support for long-term success.
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Last Updated On April 28, 2023
Contributors: Denise Renshaw. Edited By Simar Singh & Reviewed by Inder Singh.

Picture this: You're the hiring manager for a leading New Zealand company, and you've just hired a skilled migrant worker. The individual comes with an impressive resume and a wealth of experience, and you're confident they'll be a great fit for your team. Fast forward a few months, and you're left feeling disappointed and frustrated because the employee hasn't met your expectations. The reality of their skills doesn't match their resume, and now you're facing the consequences.

To prevent this scenario from happening, it's essential for New Zealand-accredited employers to double-check the skill levels of migrants before hiring them. In this blog post, we'll discuss why it's crucial to ensure the quality of hires and provide a guide for employers on how to effectively verify the skills of migrant workers.

The Importance of Ensuring Migrant Skill Levels

A. Impact on the Employer and the Team

1. Lost time and resources in training and onboarding

Hiring a migrant worker with mismatched skill levels can lead to wasted time and resources spent on extensive training and onboarding. Employers may need to invest extra effort in bringing them up to speed, which can strain both financial and human resources.

2. Disruption to team dynamics and workflow

When a new employee doesn't possess the expected skill level, it can disrupt team dynamics and hinder productivity. Other team members may need to pick up the slack, which can lead to resentment and lowered morale.

B. Impact on the Migrant Worker

1. Difficulty in integrating into the workplace

Migrant workers who struggle to meet expectations may find it challenging to integrate into the workplace. They may feel overwhelmed and isolated, which can negatively impact their job satisfaction and overall well-being.

2. Negative effect on their confidence and future prospects

Underperforming migrant workers may experience a loss of confidence in their abilities, which can hinder their future job prospects. Their performance may also impact their ability to secure visas or permanent residency in New Zealand.

C. Impact on the Reputation of NZ Immigration

1. Perception of the lower-quality migrant workforce

When migrant workers underperform, it can contribute to a perception that New Zealand's migrant workforce is of lower quality. This perception may discourage other skilled migrants from choosing New Zealand as a destination, affecting the country's ability to attract top talent.

2. Potential for policy changes or backlash

A negative perception of the migrant workforce may lead to public backlash and potentially influence policy changes that could further restrict immigration, making it even more difficult for New Zealand employers to source skilled talent.

Guide for NZ Accredited Employers

A. Pre-Screening: Ensuring Credibility of Qualifications and Experience

1. Verify Educational Background

  • Check the accreditation of educational institutions: Verify that the institution is recognized and accredited by relevant authorities.
  • Confirm the authenticity of diplomas and transcripts: Request original documents and cross-check with issuing institutions.

2. Verify Professional Experience

  • Cross-reference employment history with LinkedIn or professional networks: Ensure the consistency of information provided on the resume and online profiles.
  • Contact previous employers for confirmation and references: Speak directly with past employers to verify experience and gather insights on the candidate's performance.

B. In-Depth Interviews: Assessing Skills and Cultural Fit

1. Skills-based Interview Questions

  • Use open-ended questions to gauge problem-solving and critical thinking: Encourage candidates to share examples of past experiences that demonstrate their skills.
  • Consider technical and practical tests to evaluate job-specific skills: Design assessments tailored to the specific role to test the candidate's abilities directly.

2. Cultural Fit Interview Questions

  • Assess communication and interpersonal skills: Evaluate the candidate's ability to communicate effectively and work well with others.
  • Determine alignment with company values and culture: Ask questions that explore the candidate's values and their compatibility with your organization's culture.

C. Post-Hiring: Ongoing Evaluation and Support

1. Regular Performance Reviews

  • Conduct evaluations to track progress and identify areas for improvement: Schedule periodic performance reviews to monitor the employee's progress and offer constructive feedback.
  • Provide feedback and opportunities for growth: Encourage open dialogue and offer resources to help the employee develop their skills further.

2. Professional Development

  • Encourage participation in training programs and workshops: Support migrant workers in attending relevant courses to enhance their skills and adapt to the New Zealand work environment.
  • Foster a supportive work environment for growth and success: Create a culture that values learning, collaboration, and continuous improvement, helping migrant workers feel valued and motivated to succeed.

Building a Robust Onboarding Program for Migrant Workers

A well-structured onboarding program can help migrant workers transition smoothly into their new roles and facilitate their integration into the team. Here are some key elements to consider when designing an onboarding program for migrant workers:

1. Pre-Arrival Support

  • Provide information about New Zealand's work culture, norms, and expectations: Familiarize the new employee with the local work environment to help them adapt quickly.
  • Offer guidance on visa requirements and other legal processes: Ensure the employee understands the necessary steps for obtaining and maintaining their visa status.
  • Share resources on housing, transportation, and community services: Help the employee navigate the practical aspects of living in New Zealand.

2. Comprehensive Orientation

  • Schedule a formal orientation program: Introduce the new employee to the company, its mission, values, and culture.
  • Assign a mentor or buddy: Pair the new employee with an experienced colleague who can provide guidance, answer questions, and help them feel welcome.
  • Provide an overview of company policies and procedures: Make sure the employee understands their responsibilities, performance expectations, and any relevant legal or ethical guidelines.

3. Ongoing Support and Check-Ins

  • Schedule regular check-ins with the new employee: Monitor their progress, address any concerns, and offer support as needed.
  • Encourage open communication: Foster an environment where the employee feels comfortable sharing their thoughts, ideas, and concerns.
  • Celebrate milestones and achievements: Recognize the employee's accomplishments and contributions to the team, reinforcing their sense of belonging and motivation to succeed.

Collaborating with External Organizations for Migrant Worker Support

In addition to internal efforts, employers can collaborate with external organizations that specialize in assisting migrants to navigate the complexities of adjusting to a new country. These organizations can offer valuable resources and support to both the employer and the migrant worker.

1. Government Agencies

  • Immigration New Zealand: Stay informed about immigration policies, visa requirements, and other pertinent information.
  • Work and Income New Zealand: Access resources on job training, job search support, and financial assistance for migrants.

2. Non-profit Organizations

  • New Zealand Newcomers Network: Connect with organizations that offer social and professional networking opportunities for migrants.
  • Settlement Support Services: Find local support services that help migrants adjust to their new communities and access essential resources.

By combining internal efforts with external partnerships, employers can create a comprehensive support system for migrant workers, ensuring their successful integration and long-term success in the New Zealand workforce. This holistic approach will not only benefit the migrant workers themselves but also contribute to the overall growth and success of the organizations that employ them.