High-profile gaming developer Dean Hall was shaking hands with the CEO of Microsoft, just as Immigration New Zealand contacted his company asking if it was financially viable.DayZ is huge.
The creator of DayZ, a zombie survival game that has sold more than 3 million copies and made more than $137.7m, had been planning a $20m gaming studio in Dunedin.
After months of wrangling with Immigration NZ, Hall may now base that business offshore.So Immigration NZ is setting salaries?
The department recommended he pay migrant software developers around $60,000, which he argued was way above what the industry was paying in New Zealand.
Even if Immigration NZ backtracked on its stance, it may have come too late for Hall.But here in NZ?
"I'm still hopeful that in the future I can make my dreams of a Dunedin mecca for graduates – of all countries – come true. But I suspect without a serious change in government attitudes I'll pass."
In comparison, the United Kingdom had been proactive in trying to get his company Rocketwerks to be based in London.
"[The UK Government] is pulling out all stops to attract video game companies because of the tremendous opportunity the industry provides."
To overcome obstacles, such as chronic labour shortages, he was hoping to supplement New Zealand graduates with overseas graduates.So Immigration NZ is blocking a tech company's plan to bring IT workers, not to Auckland where housing is short, but to Dunedin. Read the whole thing and weep.
However, after receiving support from Work and Income, which noted the difficulty in finding local candidates, the search for international candidates reached a stumbling block when Immigration NZ rejected an application because they did not feel a job offer to one of those graduates was genuine.
Hall described the "surreal moment" when attending a Microsoft press conference following the announcement of his new project, ION.
He had just shaken hands with the Microsoft CEO when his company received an email from Immigration New Zealand asking whether his company was financially viable.
"In the end, I got so desperate I asked the bank to provide Immigration with details of all my accounts and the money available to me locally. I felt this was outrageous but by that time we had really run out of options."
A relevant twitter conversation from last week: