Meet the People at New Zealand Immigration Concepts
Find out who we are and why we are qualified to give you the best all-round assistance you can get for your move to New Zealand.
Our team speaks English, German, Sinhalese, Cantonese and Spanish.
We are your key to success:
We are qualified and experienced.
We are upfront, genuine and personal.
We understand what our clients are going through.
We represent a wide range of cultural backgrounds.
Our Visa Team:
Dr Carsten Hallwass
Dr Carsten Hallwass holds a full licence to operate as a Licensed Immigration Adviser under the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007. He is an Associate Member of the New Zealand Law Society as well as a full member of the Hanseatic Law Society of Bremen, Germany.
Carsten specialises in business and investor migration. Since his arrival in New Zealand in 1994, he has assisted clients from all over the world with applying for their visas under Business and Investor policies and successfully establishing their businesses in New Zealand.
Before migrating to New Zealand, Carsten studied Law at the University of Kiel, Germany, where he obtained a PhD in Laws. Following his career at university, he practised law in Bremen, Germany, from 1988 to 1994, where he was a partner in a law firm with a strong focus on business clientele.
Carsten says: "I work closely with the former manager of the Entrepreneur Team at Immigration New Zealand`s Business Migration Branch, who now specialises in market research and incorporating business plans. Together we have a wealth of experience that you will find hard to beat."
Carsten speaks English and German.
"Dr Hallwass handled our application to immigrate professionally, giving us a clear picture of what was required, updating us along the way and providing excellent follow-up service on our arrival in New Zealand. We are delighted with his professionalism and thoroughness. He comes highly recommended."
Dr Carsten Hallwass | Licence Number 200900212
Carsten's Licence History:
License renewed on 06 March 2019
Licence renewed on 06 March 2018
Licence renewed on 06 March 2017
Licence renewed on 06 March 2016
Licence renewed on 06 March 2015
Licence renewed on 06 March 2014
Licence renewed on 06 March 2013
Licence renewed on 06 March 2012
Licence renewed on 06 March 2011
Licence renewed on 06 March 2010
Full licence issued on 06 March 2009
(no licence required before 2009)
Before migrating to New Zealand in 2015, Apekshi obtained a Bachelor of Laws with Honours from the University of Colombo and practised law in Sri Lanka.
Since her arrival in Nelson Apekshi completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Enterprise at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) and joined the academic team as a tutor.
Working with international students for several years enhanced her interest in the area of immigration law, and she decided to study for a Graduate Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice and become a Licensed Immigration Adviser.
Apekshi speaks English and Sinhalese.
"Thank you, Apekshi. That is amazing news! Thanks also Chelsea for all your and NZIC work for that. Cheers!"
"Thanks Apekshi and Carsten for your valuable advises and processing our work visas with maximum results. Appreciate your prompt communication and quality service too."
Apekshi is a provisional license holder and works under the direct supervision of Dr Carsten Hallwass.
Apekshi Jayawardena | Licence Number 201800790
Apekshi's Licence History:
Provisional Licence renewed on 06 September 2019
Provisional Licence issued on 06 September 2018
Katrina Horgan | Immigration Case Manager | Head of Visa Team
Katrina returned to New Zealand with her family in 2016 after living in the UK for 25 years.
In the UK she worked for Walt Disney Company for 22 years, holding various roles, including managing the operations team as Executive Director for 11 years, before deciding to move back to New Zealand for a lifestyle change that would give her more time with her family.
We are very fortunate to have been able to add such a highly experienced professional to our team.
Katrina works closely with our Licensed Immigration Advisers and our Job Search Professionals.
"Hi Katrina, Thank you so much for going the extra mile and helping me acquire the Work Visa. This is awesome news, and I am so privileged to have had you guys help me out!"
"Hi Katrina, I would like to thank you for all your help. I also wanted to thank all the people who worked to help us obtain the visa. We appreciate all your effort and dedication in our process. We are happy because now we can start our life in New Zealand.
Kind regards, C & F."
Leah Shopneck | B.A. | Immigration Case Manager
Leah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography, University of Mary, Washington, as well as a Master of Yachts, IYT Worldwide Canada
Leah originates from the United States and decided to make New Zealand home with her Kiwi husband in 2017.
After ten years sailing the world working onboard yachts as the first mate and also operational director of university education programs, Leah and her husband began looking to move their lives ashore.
New Zealand quickly moved to the top of the list when deciding where to live, with its fantastic scenery, an endless list of tracks and opportunities to be on the water.
Leah has spent years working with clients from around the world and is now a highly valued member of the NZIC team. She is currently studying to become a Licensed Immigration Adviser.
Chelsea Jakobsen | B.A. | Immigration Case Manager
Chelsea has obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology degree at Mount Saint Vincent University, Canada.
Chelsea moved to New Zealand from Canada in 2013. Her experience of going through the immigration process herself gives her a good understanding of our clients' journey and makes her a perfect addition to our team.
Chelsea is currently studying to become a Licensed Immigration Adviser.
Chelsea is a hobby artist. She likes ink work and digital design and enjoys the outdoors.
"Oh, I am so happy I could cry!!!!! Wow - excellent news!!!! Thanks for your support of him and for guiding us. We look forward. We look forward to physically having him here with us.
Emma Robertson | Immigration Case Manager
Emma holds a Diploma in Tourism, Travel and Computing from Career Link College, Christchurch.
She has worked in a wide variety of roles in Christchurch, London and Victoria, Australia, before moving to Nelson with her young family and joining our team at New Zealand Immigration Concepts. Re-settling her family in New Zealand has given her a substantial appreciation of what it takes to move from one country to another.
In her spare time, Emma enjoys spending time with her family and friends, camping, kayaking and other outdoor activities.
Karin Widmer | Immigration Case Manager
Karin completed a commercial degree in Switzerland and holds various certifications in Human Resources and Coaching.
In Switzerland, she worked in the Human Resources departments for various companies. Karin is passionate about helping people and making things as easy and smooth as possible.
Karin moved to New Zealand at the beginning of 2017 on a partnership based visa and knows about the ups and downs of the process from her own experience.
Karin loves the outdoors, hiking, biking, yoga and paddleboarding. She enjoys living in sunny Nelson.
She speaks English and German.
"Hi Karin, I’ve started my work in T. Everything goes smoothly. I really appreciate you guys’ efforts. Thank you very much!
Best wishes, P."
Our Job Search Team:
Anna Fyfe | B.A. | Job Search Coach
Anna holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (English) from Victoria University of Wellington and a Graduate Certificate in Psychosocial Studies (GradCert) from AUT University, Auckland.
She has worked in the migrant/newcomer sector for more than 15 years (both in London and NZ) and joined us from Auckland, where she managed an employment programme for highly-skilled migrants in the region.
Anna is passionate about NZ’s diversity, and close contact with new migrants from a vast variety of countries has given her a good understanding about the highs and lows of the settlement process and of the support required to obtain that quintessential first job in a new country.
Like many New Zealanders, Anna herself spent seven years living overseas in the UK on a very extended "O.E", before returning home at the end of 2005.
"Hi Anna, Wow! Nice work on the CV. If this crossed my desk, I would strongly consider hiring myself."
Laurence Bell | Dip. CG, BSc | Job Search Coach
Laurence has a broad range of qualifications. He holds a Diploma in Career Guidance from NMIT (Nelson, NZ) and a Certificate in Counselling from the College of Ripon & York St John, UK, as well as a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) degree. He is also a Registered Nurse Tutor (RNT) and holds a National Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education, NCALNE.
In addition to his qualifications, Laurence brings many years of experience in the field of education, health and vocational consultancy as well as client/employer networking and work placements to our Job Search Team.
His focus lies in supporting job seekers to identify and reach their vocational goals through counselling, networking, work brokering and employer liaison/support.
Before migrating to New Zealand, Laurence worked as a Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology for the University of York, England. His five children have all grown up and together with his wife, he is now enjoying a new chapter of his life in Nelson, which he thinks is the best place in the world.
"Good afternoon Laurence, I have received two job offers and accepted one! It was a pleasure working with you, Laurence, and I greatly appreciate your professional assistance."
Jannie Allen | LL.B. - B.A. | Job Search Coach & CV Writing Specialist
Jannie holds a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Arts from The University of Auckland.
Judi Lubetzky | B.A. |Careers Coach
Judi holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (Anthropology & History) of the University of Auckland and a Graduate Diploma in Career Development (Grad.Dip. Career Development) for Adult Tertiary Education from Auckland University of Technology. She is a qualified Myer Briggs Practitioner, MBTI.
Judi is a highly qualified & innovative Career Specialist with more than 12 years of experience and a passion for supporting individuals to make well-informed decisions about their future.
She is passionate about one on one career counselling and gives our clients a deciding boost for their job search by applying innovative job search strategies, talking to them about "What worked for our successful clients" and coaching best networking practices in New Zealand.
She helps our clients who are trying to break into the New Zealand job market with identifying their strengths in this market, clarifying their work goals; confidence building; effective interview skills; workplace coaching; and strategies to manage stress concerning job search.
Judi is a professional member of the Career Development Association of New Zealand (CDANZ) and adheres to their Code of Ethics. She is also a member of the New Zealand Association of Psychological Type (NZAPT).
"Thanks Judi. I really feel empowered after our session!"
"Our session was a truly energising experience! Thank you, Judi!"
"Hi Judi, I very much enjoyed speaking to you last night! Anna told me you would have many ideas and you didn't disappoint me:)"
Our Business Development and Marketing Team:
Martina Koennecke | LL.B. | Director
Martina is a qualified Lawyer, LLB. She graduated from the University of Kiel and is a member of the Hanseatic Law Society of Bremen, Germany.
Martina first came to New Zealand as a junior lawyer in 1985 to gain overseas experience in a Nelson law firm. She returned to Germany and obtained her admission to the bar in 1987. While practising as a solicitor in Germany, she particularly enjoyed working closely with her clients on representing their interests and achieving their goals.
In 1994 Martina migrated to New Zealand and established New Zealand Immigration Concepts.
Martina is passionate about constantly developing and improving the fusion of our ever-growing range of services, to help and support people from all over the world with their successful migration to New Zealand.
Martina says: 'Feedback from our clients is the best way to find out what works and what we can do better.'
She is always happy to hear from you if you have any suggestions on how to improve our services!
Feedback from a German couple: "Wir haben von Ihnen in einer halben Stunde einen Weg zur Auswanderung aufgezeigt bekommen, der für uns gut durchführbar sein wird. Ich bin froh über diesen Weg. Neben einem neuen Hochgefühl macht sich auch Erleichterung breit; es ist also möglich. Ganz herzlichen Dank dafür. Da die Informationen in der Muttersprache geführt wurden, sind wir uns sicher, daß keine Mißverständnisse entstanden sind. Wir wissen das zu schätzen. Beste Grüße ans andere Ende der Welt, Dagmar K. und Knut V."
Maj Hallwass | B.Com | Marketing and Business Development Manager
Maj holds a Bachelor of Commerce, BCom degree with majors in International Business, Political Science and Human Resources & Industrial Relations from Victoria University, Wellington, NZ.
Maj began working at New Zealand Immigration Concepts in 2013, before embarking on her Overseas Experience.
She joined our team again in July 2015, then working for New Zealand Immigration Concepts in Milan, Italy.
Maj moved back to New Zealand in early 2018 and established our new branch in Wellington. Having a foot on the ground in New Zealand's capital allows us to connect and network with major players in the job market, including recruiters and employers.
Maj particularly enjoys working with migrants from all over the world, as she has a keen interest in cultural differences and enjoys learning about various cultures, languages and foods.
She has lived in Germany, Italy and Portugal and is passionate about travelling, cooking and camping- especially in the Abel Tasman National Park.
Maj speaks English and German.
'Dear Maj, If the service and courtesy we received from you is anything to go by, I can only be positive to deal and work with the rest of the teams. Again, thank you very much for your contribution and all the advice and efficiency. If anything else comes to mind or if I'm not sure about anything, I will gladly give you a shout. Much appreciated and take care, Andre N.'
'Hello Maj, It has been a pleasure working with you. Thanks! '
'Good day Maj, Thank you for all your support to date, you are amazing to work with.'
"Hi Maj, I am so pleased and impressed with the professional and prompt service and feedback from yourself and New Zealand Immigration Concepts. Thank you for that!"
Leo Martinez | B.Com | Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Leo holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the National University of Technology, Argentina.
He worked as a communications manager for the Argentine government and directed a marketing agency before moving to New Zealand.
Leo decided to live in New Zealand after meeting his partner, a New Zealander, in 2017.
He had to go through the intricate process of applying for two partnership based work visas, before his application for residency in 2018. That experience made him aware of how challenging visa processes can be, and how critical avoiding mistakes and delays is.
Leo works in our Wellington branch.
In his free time, Leo enjoys tramping and morning runs with his wife, as well as learning about different cultures and world views.
He speaks English and Spanish.
Anthony Pan | Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Anthony is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce Degree with majors in Marketing and Management at Victoria University of Wellington and will be graduating next year.
Anthony's family migrated to New Zealand from Guangzhou, China, in the ’80s and has loved the new opportunities and beautiful nature our country has.
Anthony is interested in the dynamics of international business and is excited to work with people from different backgrounds. He is part of our team in our Wellington branch.
He loves food, history, fashion and culture from across the world.
Anthony speaks English and Cantonese.
Find out more about New Zealand Immigration Concepts:
Our Firm - New Zealand Immigration Concepts
Our Services - The best all-round immigration support you can get
Our Job Search Assistance Service for Skilled Migrants
Licensed by the Immigration Advisers Authority
Ask us for a Free Professional Assessment!
Our Licensed Immigration Advisers and Job Search Professionals will assess your chances and let you know how you can start your migration process.