The Philippines will place an advisory on its Foreign Affairs Ministry website warning its citizens about the perils of moving to New Zealand on the work-to-residence scheme.

Under the scheme, applicants have nine months to come to New Zealand to seek skilled employment, and those who succeed qualify to apply for permanent residency.

Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman says it is made clear to applicants that there are no guarantees of work, job offers or residence.

But Philippines consul-general Emilie Shi says Immigration New Zealand is not doing enough to warn would-be applicants about the difficulties of finding a job or telling them that Kiwis will be given preference by employers.

"Immigration New Zealand continues to say what a great place this country is to come live and work in, but they cover up the fact that it is very difficult to find a job here, or that they will be treated as second-class workers under the scheme," Ms Shi said.

"The work-to-residence is a myopic policy, because even if these migrants prove their worth in their jobs, employers cannot renew their contracts when their work permits expire, and have to first offer their jobs to Kiwis."

She said this made those who came on the work-to-residence scheme less attractive to local employers because they would not have "smooth continuity" in their business operations if they employed these migrant workers.

Last year, a third of those who came from the Philippines under the policy failed to find skilled employment.

Filipinos form the largest group making use of the scheme - 63 per cent of the 681 applicants.

Many have sold everything to move to New Zealand in the hope of setting up a new life, and Ms Shi says her office in Takapuna on Auckland's North Shore has been seeing at least one new case daily since September.

She said the policy was causing a lot of grief and anguish among Filipinos because many had sold everything to come and now faced a situation where they could not afford to return home or even send their children to school.

Ms Shi said desperate applicants were paying up to $40,000 to unscrupulous agents in her country who sold them hope of New Zealand residency, which was why many were prepared to sell their homes and belongings to come.

"These people hope that once one person can get residency, they will be able to sponsor their family members to also come here under Immigration's family policy," Ms Shi said.

"The embassy will be recommending to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to not allow any more of our citizens to come to New Zealand if they are not qualified, and we will be putting an advisory warning on the website."

Dr Coleman would not comment on the proposed advisory, but defended the work-to-residence scheme and said there were no plans to discontinue it.

He said that each month about 70 work-to-residence permits were issued and research by Immigration New Zealand showed that at least two-thirds of these migrants could be expected to gain permanent residence, despite 44 per cent who came under the scheme failing to find skilled employment last year.


Work-to-residence scheme, 2009

Top source countries for applications approved:
* Philippines: 281 (74 per cent)
* Great Britain: 25 (7 per cent)
* India: 22 (6 per cent)
* China: 11 (3 per cent)
* Malaysia: 11 (3 per cent)

* Total: WTR applicants: 681

Top source countries of migrants who failed to find skilled employment:
* Philippines: 150 (50 per cent)
* Singapore: 43 (14 per cent)
* Malaysia: 22 (7 per cent)
* India: 21 (7 per cent)
* Great Britain: 15 (5 per cent)