Migrant women have been told to not put their full qualification on their CV if they want to get a job in New Zealand.
Instead, confidently-spoken English and networking is how some of these women in Rotorua land a job.
That's what they told Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Saunoamaali'i Karanina Sumeo yesterday. The women spoke to Sumeo about the uphill battle of finding a job.
A law for businesses to prove they have done everything in their power to employ New Zealanders before hiring migrants meant some of them found securing a job nearly impossible, despite their skill level.
Raquel Olslind moved to New Zealand from Sweden, and is originally from Brazil.
She said she applied to work at the same company in Rotorua she was already working at in Sweden but was told "we can't bring you because any local can do it".
Olslind said when she was looking for other jobs she had been told to not put her full qualification on her CV because this could jeopardise her chance of landing a job.
She said she had a Level 8 equivalent qualification.
"Network and language are everything in this society," she said.
Valerie Liaskouskaia worked as a television journalist in Russia and moved to New Zealand with her husband two years ago and said her intelligence was doubted because English was not her first language.
"If you're born here, you can just clearly and easily turn your thoughts into speech and for us, it's quite tricky," she said.
"You think how to say something more professionally and it slows you down."
She now worked in hospitality and in administration for the Multicultural Society and said although it was frustrating to have her intelligence second-guessed, she and her husband wanted to stay in New Zealand.
Rotorua Multicultural Society president Margriet Theron said confident speaking and networking were crucial for migrants in terms of reducing the risk of exploitation.
The society offers two programmes, the Women's Wellbeing programme and Professional Speaking for Migrants.
The wellbeing programme ran once a week for 10 weeks and would take women to key organisations. Equal Employment Opportunities commissioner Saunoamaali'i Karanina Sumeo said migrant employment was a complex issue.
She said although there was "definitely racism and definitely sexism" it was difficult to know the extent of the unconscious bias in Rotorua.
Sumeo was in Rotorua for the day and spoke to other groups, including New Zealanders, and said there was a fear of migrants stealing local jobs.
"This is talent we could benefit from . . . If we're not accessing it, they'll leave and we'll be poorer for it."