23 February 2015

Dairy worker put through immigration wringer

The Southland Times

Socrates Mallari is proud to be a New Zealand resident but describes the hoops he had to jump through to qualify as “crazy”.

The Wreys Bush dairy farm worker, who is “2IC” at his current farm, has been through the immigration wringer and come out successful, but only after two attempts and spending almost $8000.

He said he applied for residency in 2009 and was turned down then applied again in November 2013. When he was declined for a second time he enlisted the help of an immigraton consultant. In May last year he gained residency.

The problem had been inconsistencies between the responsibilities outlined in his application and what his then employer told Immigration when interviewed. Mallari and his consultant met with the employers and corrections were made on the information given. Essentially it confirmed he was involved in the accounting process, training, stock purchases and management and with recruitment of staff, he said.

“I was handling five farms at that time and they were telling me that my job description was not enough to satisfy the criteria. I told them that was crazy. I was saying that I’m above the farm manager because the five farms have their managers and they’re reporting to me.”

The fact Immigration wanted applicants to demonstrate involvement in buying and managing stock, planning and record-keeping, plus capital management, budgeting, taxation and loan management showed how high the bar was being set, Mallari said.

“It also depends on the employers. If the employers will be supportive enough,” he said.

He said he thought these responsibilities were more the domain of a farm owner - or at the least a sharemilker or operations manager - than a farm manager.

“It’s so hard to satisfy the case officer because if you’re just a herd manager and you’ve been here for five or six years you’re not dealing with (the high level responsibilities outlined by Immigration).”

Mallari said while the whole exercise had cost him about $8000, he was single and the expense for a family trying to gain residency would be far more.