Last year, Immigration New Zealand announced that escorts and sex workers would be counted under “skilled employment” checklists. This means that it can be used to apply for visas. Then, within weeks, they announced that foreign nationals could no longer apply for points as an escort. Wait, what?? Within the space of a month, they went to skilled employment and back again. So where does that leave us on the escort skill shortage front? Why did Immigration NZ change their mind about escorts? Basically, if you apply for a visa in New Zealand, you can apply for “points” under certain skill sets. Until Immigraiton NZ changed their minds, people could get skill points as escorts and sex workers. Essentially, it was on the standard list of occupations for Australia and New Zealand and they forgot to take it off. Woops! Even though this kind of seems sketchy, there are a few reasons why this happened. Mostly it was to do with confusing visa criteria. Immigration NZ also issued a statement about migrant exploitation. They explain that it is far more likely employers to take advantage of migrant workers on temporary work visas than people who currently reside in the country. This article on the Imigration NZ website explains it in a lot more detail. Even though it might seem like they are trying to dupe foreign nationals, the laws are usually amended to protect the most amount of people possible. Read More: How to look out for scams
So, ARE sex workers on the skilled employment list in New Zealand? The short answer is no. Escorts are also not on the Skill Shortage list that Immigration New Zealand puts out every year. So, does that mean that it doesn’t count as work in New Zealand? I guess it depends on 1) who you ask and 2) where you come from. In actual fact, New Zealand is one of the best places in the world to be an escort or sex worker. The government has constructed a lot of laws to protect people working in the industry. However, it is still illegal for non-residents and non-citizens to work in New Zealand without the correct visa. In short, people who have the legal right to work in New Zealand count as skilled employees. But this still doesn’t mean that people applying for visas can use it to apply for skilled employment points.