If you’ve been dreaming of moving to the land of Middle Earth, Narnia and fantastic wine, perhaps you should consider putting some of your more basic instincts to work on your visa application.
Would-be migrants to New Zealand can now claim valuable points as skilled sex workers or escorts, according to information on Immigration NZ’s (INZ) website.
The agency confirmed sex work/escort is on the skilled employment list, despite it not being on the skill-shortage list. A sex worker or escort is defined as someone as providing clients with sexual services or social companionship.
“The list itself comes from the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) list and not INZ,” an agency spokeswoman said. According to information on INZ’s website, sex worker or escort is listed as an ANZSCO level 5 skilled employment, and applicants could claim points if they were paid at or above NZ$36.44 (US$25.87) per hour, which is NZ$75,795 (US$53,818) based on a 40-hour week.
The applicant would also have to be qualified in ways that include having a recognized qualification or have at least three years of relevant work experience. How exactly does one document their time as a sex worker and what does that resume look like?
But of course, there is a slight kink in the process (pun intended).
The New Zealand Association of Migration and Investment (NZAMI) said, despite it being on the skilled employment list, it would actually be difficult for would-be applicants to claim the potential points. “Even though prostitution is a lawful occupation, it is not an occupation that an immigrant can undertake on a temporary visa, sex work is specifically excepted,” said NZAMI spokesman Peter Moses.
“An applicant would have to be onshore lawfully and not working, or off-shore while applying for residence. And they would need a formal offer of employment – also not the rule.” Moses said the profession was on the list and falls into policy because it is on the ANZSCO list.
“There would be many other issues that would make it unlikely to succeed,” he said.
Hamilton-based sex worker Lisa Lewis said it was “absurd” for the profession to be listed when it is illegal for temporary migrants to do sex work here. Maybe Lisa just doesn’t want to encourage any more competition coming in from Asia. On a serious note, if it were to become legal, it may only encourage another destination for human trafficking and that would be a tragedy.
New Zealand Prostitutes Collective co-founder Catherine Healy isn’t sold on this as a boon for the NZ sex industry either. She was aware that sex worker is on the skilled employment list, but did not know of anyone who had moved there to be one — yet. Give it time, New Zealand is on a lot of people’s bucket lists.
An INZ spokeswoman said the agency doesn’t grant residence or temporary entry visas to anyone who intends to provide commercial sexual services. She said this was in line with the Prostitution Reform Act 2003, which said no temporary visa or permission may be granted to anyone with intentions to provide, operate or invest in commercial sex.
With all the sexual scandals plaguing Hollywood as of late, perhaps give a whole new spin to the term down under.
Featured image courtesy of By Millylove60 [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons