Restaurateur frustrated with ‘restrictive’ process to get work visa approved

Long Lunch 06/06/2018
Photo: Facebook.

A restaurateur has grown frustrated with the lengths it’s taking him to employ a suitable chef.

After an unsuccessful search among local candidates, Masterton restaurant owner Travis Clive-Griffin found the perfect fit for his restaurant.

The only hiccup? The Indian-born candidate needed a valid work visa.

Mr Clive-Griffin has criticised Immigration New Zealand for the process for him to transfer the Indian chef’s work visa from another organisation to his own.

“We had to prove that we couldn’t find the right person locally – totally fair enough, totally get that,” he told RadioLIVE.

But after publishing another job advert, Mr Clive-Griffin maintained that the young Indian chef was still the “most appropriate person” for the job.

They wanted to know everything, apart from what I had for breakfast.

His initial application was denied, and so Mr Clive-Griffin applied again. This time, Mr Clive-Owen said Immigration NZ requested even more detail on his business and employees.

“It was honestly so restrictive. They wanted to know everything, apart from what I had for breakfast.”

The business owner’s restaurant and cinema dubbed The Screening Room has been open for some seven months, which Mr Clive-Owen cited as partial cause of his stress.

“I just don’t have time to do this. I honestly have had to just drop the ball on this one.”

Immigration policy permits foreign workers to fill jobs when no New Zealanders are available or for particular skill shortages. For example, the Ministry of Social Development issued a labour shortage for the kiwifruit industry in May, which temporarily loosened the visa restrictions for potential industry workers.

Immigration NZ manager Michael Carley told Stuff that every visa application they receive is assessed against its own individual merits and relevant immigration instructions.

"Robust processes exist to ensure that there are genuinely no other New Zealanders available to do the job," he told Stuff

Listen to the full interview with Travis Clive-Griffin above. 

The Long Lunch with Carly Flynn, in for Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.