Skilled Migrant Case Studies

Ramneek - Class Representative | Graduating Class of 2021

Statement from Ramneek:

I came to New Zealand in 2020 just before covid and soon after I got my work visa that year - I immediately started looking for a job. Despite having an MBA degree with a major in Marketing, 15 years of Client Servicing experience in Digital Marketing domain and despite the high demand for digital marketing skills in NZ, I struggled to find a job. 6 months and 130 job applications later, I was only faced with rejection that made me lose my confidence overall and left me wondering what is it I'm doing wrong. I then decided to seek employment support & services and found out about Skilled Migrant Programme at Victoria University.  


Ramneek Kaur- Class Representative | Graduating Class of 2021

Skilled Migrant Programme provided a thorough understanding of the NZ job market, hiring processes and requirements, interview preparations and an insight on workplace communication and techniques. We learnt how to decode every single job description and tweak our CV and cover letter during the 12-week programme. We also learnt a great deal about the workplace communication - both written and oral and practiced it with our teachers and mentors from the Rotary Club of Wellington. The course also helped us familiarise with New Zealand's way of life, its people and culture as a country and equipped us with the right interpersonal skills to come up the settlement curve in New Zealand, easier and sooner.  

The support from The Johnson Group to find the right internship opportunity that is relevant to our chosen field and previous roles was a big boost. To be able to work in a real setting in New Zealand for 6 weeks and implementing all that we learnt during the programme gave us the much needed confidence required to excel in any NZ workplace at any point in our lives.  

A BIG thanks to all the esteemed members of The Rotary Club for backing the Skilled Migrant Programme too. The valuable time they dedicated to being the guest speakers and mentors is a testament to the very ethos of Inclusiveness that Aotearoa stands for. The SMP experience has truly been life-changing for me and I hope it continues helping more and more skilled migrants in future that choose to make New Zealand their home


Smita - Class Representative | Graduating Class of 2019, Intake 2

Graduation Speech:

Good evening everyone. My name is Smita Vyas and I have been selected to make a speech on behalf of my classmates to reflect our thoughts about our experiences on the Skilled Migrant Programme.

I am humbled to address such a wonderful gathering here today and feel privileged to have been given an opportunity to extend our sincere gratitude to those who have supported the Skilled Migrant Programme.



Smita Vyas - Class Representative | Graduating Class of 2019, Intake 2


To give you a glimpse of our journeys and the gains we have made in these 12 weeks, please allow me to start with a short summary of my own long story. It is a story of adapting to a new environment and to new challenges on many occasions. I grew up in Jodhpur, also known as Suncity, situated in the Thar desert of the northwest Indian state of Rajasthan. 

I have a science degree, a law degree and a post-graduate degree in public health. I studied science in my first degree because most of my family were either doctors or scientists and also because some sort of undergraduate degree was necessary, at that time, as an unstated pre-requisite for law school. 

After I graduated in law I married and joined my husband in the UAE. I couldn’t practise law in the UAE, so I had to focus on my transferrable skills, and I eventually ended up training people in the travel and tourism industry for 10 years. 

Because I had the experience of trying to develop a completely new career in the UAE without any guidance, I am well placed to appreciate the value of this course, the Skilled Migrant Programme. And now that I am here in New Zealand, I am going to re-start my career, but this time with lots of training and guidance through this programme.

This programme has given me a multi-dimensional experience of New Zealand life and culture. I have improved a lot as a person after receiving positive feedback and support. I have learned the indirect way of communication and improved my interview skills. This programme has given us an opportunity to meet and interact with distinguished people from all walks of life.

The course has also given us a real-life working opportunity with an internship tailored perfectly to our skills thanks to Pia - it has helped us see how transferable our skills are and to directly check all we have learned in the classroom. It proved to be so helpful, we could finally understand the subtle things and were able to engage in teams fully, to talk to strangers in the kitchen at work, to do small talk in the elevator, and to solve the quizzes together.

My internship was with the Ministry of Health where I developed my skills in the relaxed and positive atmosphere there. One skill that I would say is still developing is my coffee catch-up skill.  I am not a coffee fan, but I have certainly developed a taste for it – and now I can even recommend to others a couple of cafes that have a really good ambiance as well as great coffee. 

When I asked my classmates to mention the ways that the programme has helped them, a common comment was that they have now regained their confidence in their professional skills. This programme has broadened our horizons and has helped us to understand the unique kiwi workplace culture.

To conclude, I would like to thank our teachers, Victoria University, the Rotary Club of Wellington, The Johnson Group, the workplace consultants, guest speakers, guest tutors, job mentors, internship managers and mentors for their very valuable contribution to this 12-week Skilled Migrant Programme and for providing us with the platform to settle well in New Zealand and for making our career journey easier. We would not have come this far in our journey to learn the nuances of workplace and communication styles without your continuous support and encouragement.

I would like to also thank all my classmates for their role in my entire learning process.

My family and I have now been in New Zealand for one year and we are very happy here. My husband who works in IT, and I appreciate the work life balance that is possible to achieve here. Our children are happy and feel safe. 

We are very pleased that we now live in a country where giving back to the community is a shared value that is actively pursued, not just talked about.  I am happy that our decision to leave our established and comfortable life to move to New Zealand was a good decision.

I am looking forward to starting a new career here in the beautiful land of New Zealand, with a lot of “new zeal” for life.

Thank you.




Jaime Olmos

When Jaime arrived in New Zealand in late 2012 realised that it was not that easy to land a job. “I have to learn how to write a CV the New Zealand way with books from the national library. And most of all I needed local work experience,” Jaime recalled.

His wife told him about the Skilled Migrants Programme at Victoria University of Wellington. He learned the programme helped migrants understand the New Zealand workplace culture and communication, gain confidence in competency-based interviews and participate in six-week internship which provided valuable local experience. Jaime was accepted to the programme for the 2014 term.

“The skilled migrants programme helped me a lot regain my confidence, use my skills and interact in the New Zealand work environment,” Jaime declared. 

Jaime had his internship at the Ministry of Social Development Work and Income Wellington Regional Office. By the time he finished his internship, he was offered a fixed term employment of 3 months; his contract was extended for another 3 months.



Yamene Saravanan

SMP is definitely a golden opportunity with a perfect blend of classroom sessions to mold our communication style to suit the kiwi work environment and a job internship to gain practical experience of the cultural differences that we would encounter when we enter a workplace.

I am very glad and lucky to have had shared the classroom space with like-minded souls who were also aspiring to break into the NZ job market and make a mark for themselves.

The class room sessions helped me by kindling my strengths, providing me with platforms to re-affirm my skills and pointing my mistakes which I then rectified by taking examples and techniques from my teachers and classmates. Ultimately this course has enabled me to start a new phase of my life as a finance assistant at Victoria University. I am now able to project a confident personality not only in an interview but also in my day-to-day work environment.

I owe a lot to my teachers and I feel highly responsible to pass the baton on to other skilled migrants who are feeling the same way as I did before joining this course. I wish this course runs forever. Many thanks to Nicky, Angela and the Johnson group who are changing the fates of many in a very good way.

Grace Ni

I moved to Wellington in 2004 with my family. During past 10 years I raised my children while I gained a BCA degree in Accounting major. I started to look for an accounting job last year, however I didn’t have professional working experience in New Zealand, I always get a response after send my cv. It said ‘We are regret to inform you that you are not successful for this role….’. The result of I was losing my confidence in looking for a job.

From this course, I rebuild up my confidence and improved my communication skills to talk to kiwi people. It is amazing for this program which knew what are students needs when they are looking for a job. I learned many skills, it includes CV writing skills, interview skills, job search skills, speaking skills, communicational skills, practical working experience skills so on. I also made friends in class, we build up and encouraged each other because we have same goal and purpose.

I was appreciated that the teachers of SMP are patient and kind to help every students’ needs. Also, there were many volunteers who were professional workers to help students for their practical interview practices during this course.  Thanks for the Johnson Group’s staffs put their effort to  find out a practical workplace for every student.

This course helped me to kick the door of my career, after 12 weeks class study and internship, I have practical working experience in New Zealand that is very useful to help me finding a job. 



Annana Pal

I would like to summarise my experience in three C's that is Confidence, Courage and Clear.

Confidence: I have gained invaluable knowledge and learning from the Skilled Migrant Programme, which provide me confidence to live and work in New Zealand.

Courage: The course provided me enough courage to communicate in English and survive in New Zealand.

Clear: I have realised clear career goals and path after finishing the course. I know where I am heading and where I want to go after 5 years of time. It also helped to identify my own sense of identity."



Hanane says that her biggest challenge before starting the Skilled Migrant Programme “..was losing my confidence. I was worried about where I would fit in and how I would get involved in a kiwi workplace.” After 6 weeks in the classroom Hanane says she already felt her confidence increasing and valued the information and skills she learnt.

When asked about her biggest achievements from the Skilled Migrant programme Hanane believes it was gaining her confidence back, “I improved my listening and communication skills, understood the interview process and made friends.” Hanane also gained back some pride in her work. “After 12 weeks the feeling was the same as the feeling when I finished my first degree – that took 4 years!”




Prior to immigrating to New Zealand Fidela had a rewarding full-time career which offered her both financial independence and high self-esteem.  When she struggled to find such a role in New Zealand Fidela started questioning herself and her skills, “I realised that I had not properly planned or prepared for moving to a new country.”

The fear of the unknown made Fidela anxious but she persevered through the course. “I gained a familiarity with New Zealand way of life, its people, culture and history as a nation but also gained the confidence to deal and interact with people.”



Mr. W.

After the long process to gain the right to live and work in New Zealand this participant was pleased to be included on the skilled migrant programme. He says “It took me a long time to get where I am today and this is something I can be proud of.”

During his 12 weeks on the programme he “made friends who motivated me and helped me grow my confidence. The whole setting, from Victoria University to The Johnson Group and my workplace all helped me to gain my confidence and gave me the chance to get where I am now.”




Like many skilled migrants on the programme Daphne found it hard to find work since arriving in Wellington from the Philippines with her family last year. “I think maybe there is some hesitation on the part of New Zealand employers when they see your name and where you come from which is understandable.”

The internships sometimes provide participants with some unexpected insights into the way New Zealanders work. Daphne was surprised to discover that even interns get to talk to the boss.  “In the Philippines there is a high regard for status and protocol – you only talk to the CEO if you have a management role.”

Daphne is confident that, armed with her skills and with an enthusiastic reference from her Manager, she too will be able to get a foothold in the New Zealand job market.  “It’s been a big encouragement for me because of the positive reception I’ve had here. I feel like I can do anything”

Since talking to Daphne she has secured a permanent Analyst role with IRD.