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Dreams of becoming a New Zealander

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Eight years ago, Jatin Walia, 26, came to Auckland from a small village in northern India as an international student with dreams of becoming a New Zealander.

He graduated in 2016 with a degree in Applied Management in 2016 from NorthTec and worked several jobs.

But when the rules and requirements were raised for skilled migrant category, Walia bought a cafe business - and is applying for permanent residence as a business entrepreneur.

Walia said changes to the skills category prompted him to "think outside the square".

"Starting my own business I think is a more straightforward way of getting New Zealand residence," he said.

The number of points required for selection under the skilled migrant category was raised from 140 to 160 points in October 2016.

Last April, the Government introduced higher remuneration thresholds as an additional means of defining skilled employment.

In May last year, Walia bought an Esquires Cafe franchise with money his family raised in India. The business has six fulltime employee and three part-time staff.

"All good because it has been a dream come true in many ways for me because I have always thought of being my own boss," Walia said.

"The best part of the dream will of course be when I get my New Zealand residency."

Walia said he intended to bring his wife, and was hopeful that other family members would join him after that happens.

According to Immigration New Zealand, of those whose last student visa ended between 2007 and 2012, 45 per cent immediately transitioned into a work visa.

Five years later, only 3 per cent were still on a work visa while 28 per cent had a resident visa and 68 per cent were not in New Zealand.

Indian students were more likely than Chinese students to transition to residence, and those on family work and work to residence were also more likely than those on essential skills to become residents.

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