Skilled Migrant Case Studies

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 Zelaand 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.