Interested in living or working in NZ as a resident? If you meet the Skilled Migrant Category requirements, this could be a possibility. Learn more here.
December 7, 2021
Are you interested in living or working in NZ as a resident? If you meet the Skilled Migrant Category requirements, this could be a possibility for the future if you want to become a NZ resident. The Skilled Migrant Category is a points-based system that was created to fill ongoing skill shortages in the NZ labour market by creating a pathway to residence. Points are allocated according to a variety of personal attributes such as your qualifications, work experience, age, and employment in NZ. Individuals who have the required number of points may be invited to apply for residency. Read on to learn more about the application process and how the points system works.
How to Apply for Residence Under the Skilled Migrant Category
To apply for the Skilled Migrant Category, you must first submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) outlining your age, qualifications, work experience, and employment details in NZ. A minimum of 100 points is required to submit an EOI. When an EOI is submitted it enters a pool along with all other EOIs ranked by total points score (highest to lowest).
Receive an Invitation to Apply
Every two weeks Immigration NZ select EOIs out of the pool that have enough points to meet the “passmark”. Those people selected normally receive an Invitation to Apply for residence (ITA). Since March 2020 then have not been any selections of EOIs out of the pool. The passmark in March 2020 was 160 but this is expected to change as part of the government review of this category.
Apply for Residence
If you have been invited to apply for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category, there are set requirements you (and any family included) must meet. Most importantly, you must have a job offer regarded as skilled employment in New Zealand that pays the median wage or higher. Your application must also include original or certified copies of your birth certificate, passport, police certificate, and medical certificate.
Dependent children and partners can be included in your resident visa application. Immigration NZ will closely examine a variety of factors when assessing your application, including the health and character requirements of both you and your family.
There is a four month window from the date of invitation to apply that the residence application must be lodged. If you do not apply on time you need to start the process all over including paying a new government fee!
If your resident visa application is accepted, you will be allowed to work and live in NZ indefinitely—and enjoy all the privileges of being a NZ resident. Currently, invitations to apply for residence under this category are not scheduled to reopen until August 2022. As part of the government review, we expect there will be changes to how many points are awarded for certain attributes (qualifications, job offers and the like) and potentially an increase in the passmark. However, it’s never too early to start preparing. For the best chance of success, we recommend contacting an experienced NZ licensed Immigration adviser early on, before you begin the application process.
How Long Does the Application Process Take?
The application process for the Skilled Migrant Category can be quite complex and time-consuming because there are a lot of deciding factors for immigration officers to consider. The average processing times for Skilled Migrant Resident Visas has ranged between 3 months and 24 months in recent times.
The pandemic has also caused further delays in visa application processing—there is currently a huge backlog of applications waiting to be processed and many people are opting to apply for 2021 Resident Visa. We expect in August 2022 queues for the Skilled Migrant Category will be shorter than they currently are but a lot will depend on what direction the government takes on immigration in 2022.
Recent Changes & Updates to the System
The Skilled Migrant Category is currently under review by the Government. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Immigration NZ are not inviting people to apply for residence under this category. Anyone who wants to apply for residence now will need to consider if there are other pathways open. A licensed immigration adviser can help.
It’s also important to note that the median wage changes every year, which could affect your ability to apply for a Skilled Migrant Residence Visa. As of 19th July 2021, the Government increased the median wage to $27 per hour. If you lodged your application before this date, you will not be affected by this change.
Need Assistance with your Application? Get in touch with Malcolm Pacific Immigration Today
Applying for visas under the Skilled Migrant Category can be difficult at the best of times, and it helps to have professionals on board understand the ins and outs of the process, especially during the pandemic. Here at Malcolm Pacific Immigration, we have a wealth of experience in solving difficult immigration cases. Get in touch with our team today for New Zealand visa assistance and more. Plus, stay up to date with the latest Skilled Migrant Category updates here on our website.
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Our highly experienced licensed Immigration team will take away the stress and worry of navigating the complicated world of New Zealand Immigration. All you need to do is get in touch. Our employer team is on standby, ready to help.
Today the government announced a pathway to residence for migrant workers who are living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave who are eligible to apply. The second wave can apply from 1 March 2022. The deadline to lodge an application is 31 July 2022 or else they will miss out on this one off opportunity.
July 8, 2022
Skilled Migrants Opportunity
Today the government announced a pathway to residence for people living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave eligible to apply. The second wave can apply from 1 March 2022. The deadline to lodge an application is 31 July 2022 or else you miss the boat.
July 8, 2022
New Employer Accreditation Process
The government has moved the introduction of the new employer accreditation process across to mid-2022. At the same time, the Minister of Immigration announced new work visa rules for migrant workers who are already in New Zealand and working full time.
July 8, 2022
Skilled Migrant Changes
The government has increased the median wage to $27 per hour from 19 July. Any Skilled Migrant residence application lodged after this date will need to include a skilled job offer that pays at least $27 per hour. For some lower-skilled occupations, the minimum pay rate increases to $40.50 per hour.
Employers of migrant workers must become accredited from 1 November 2021 before work visa applications can be processed. Most employers are not accredited. Those that are accredited will have to roll into the new system when it goes live in late September.
July 8, 2022
Work Visa Rules
From mid-2020 (delayed)
Government to negotiate and introduce Industry Sector agreements setting minimum conditions for industries that heavily rely on overseas workers. Sectors include; residential care, meat processing, dairy, forestry, road freight transport, tourism, and hospitality. Construction, horticulture, and viticulture may also be included.
Skilled occupation "Dairy Cattle Farmer" spilt into three occupations. New occupations are: "Dairy Farm Manager", "Assistant Dairy Farm Manager" and "Dairy Herd Manager". Each sit at different skill levels, therefore, the award of points will depend on pay rates, job tasks and other requirements.
Dairy Cattle Farmer job offers are now assessed by three new occupation descriptions: Dairy Farm Manager, Assistant Dairy Farm Manager and Dairy Herd Manager. Pay rates and job tasks will determine how long a work visa is valid. Take advice.
The government has deferred the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest from the Skilled Migrant pool for six months (to be reviewed in April 2021). Invitations to Apply for Residence remain suspended. The last selection from the Skilled Migrant pool took place on 18/03/2020.
Introduction of "Oversupply" and "Undersupply" occupation lists used to assess Essential Skills Work Visa applications when a job offer pays less than the median wage.
Employers offering jobs to migrant workers where an occupation is on the "Oversupply" list will not get Skill Match reports issued by Work & Income. Solid evidence of genuine attempts to find a local to fill the job will be critical for approval.
Anyone invited by Immigration NZ to apply for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category where their invitation is dated between 1 November 2019 and 15 April 2020 (inclusive) has now been granted an additional six months to lodge their residence application.
Regional Skill Shortage List goes live. 15 regions around New Zealand list occupations reflecting local skill shortages in each region. The labour market test is not mandatory provided the job offer matches the occupation and region plus the visa applicant has qualifications and/or work experience set out on the list.
The government has deferred the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest from the Skilled Migrant pool. This means Invitations to Apply for Residence are also suspended. Malcolm Pacific Immigration does not anticipate selections to resume until after the general election held on 17 October 2020.
Immigration NZ is now prioritising Skilled Migrant Residence applications where the main (principal) applicant meets the criteria:
Has employment paying double the median wage which is currently NZD $51 per hour OR NZD $106,800 per annum; OR Has New Zealand occupational registration and is required to hold valid registration to lawfully carry out their job.
The government recently added more occupations that are now to be regarded as skilled employment and may qualify for job offer points under the Skilled Migrant Category. In order to qualify for points, the job must be paying at least the current median wage (or higher for certain occupations) at the time the residence application is lodged.
From 1 November 2021 anyone who is not a NZ citizen must be fully vaccinated (unless exempt) before travelling to New Zealand. Fully vaccinated means your last dose of vaccine was given at least 14 days before travelling and it was an approved vaccine.
July 8, 2022
Applications for employer accreditation closed at the end of June 2021. Applications lodged before the closure date are still being processed. New applications for accreditation open on 9 May 2022. The process will be quite different to what employers have experienced in the past. Businesses will need to meet minimum standards.
July 26, 2022
2021 Resident Visa
Wednesday, 1 December is fast approaching and it is estimated that around 16,000 individuals and families can apply in the first wave for the 2021 Resident Visa opening next month. It is exciting for the thousands of people who have been waiting patiently to become residents that finally the finish line is in sight.
The first wave of applicants can apply from 1 December 2021. Around 16,000 applications are expected in this first wave. The second wave opens on 1 March 2022. In total, the government expects approximately 110,000 applications that will include about 165,000 people.
The second group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa that opens on 1 March 2022 are those who hold an eligible work visa and either meet "Settled", "Skilled" or "Scarce" as set out above. In total Immigration NZ estimate around 110,000 people will qualify to apply for this visa.
The first group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa that opens on 1 December 2021 are those that on 29/09/2021:
Had lodged a residence application under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) or Residence from Work category; OR Had lodged an SMC Expression of Interest (EOI) in the SMC pool that included at least one dependent child aged 17 or above.
People who were lawfully in NZ (or in Australia when the travel bubble closed between April and July 2021) on 29/09/2021 need to meet the visa eligibility criteria:
Workers in NZ who held an eligible work visa on or before 29/9/2021 and on the day they apply for residence; OR Applied for an eligible work visa on or before 29/9/2021 and the work visa application is subsequently approved and still hold an eligible work visa on the day they apply for residence.
The government has introduced a limited pathway to residence for people who are already living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave of people eligible to apply. The second wave opens on 1 March 2022. The deadline to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa is 31 July 2022.
A small number of critical health workers (taking up jobs for six months or longer) or specialist workers (taking up jobs that are for longer than six months) who were granted border exemptions may also have eligibility for the 2021 Resident Visa. They will need to have arrived in NZ and lodge a 2021 Resident Visa application.
July 4. Applications open for the new Accredited Employer Work Visa.
July 31. Applications for the 2021 Resident Visa close.
August. Skilled Migrant Residence category scheduled to reopen.
August. A new pathway to residence for people earning 200% or more of the median wage.
*Excludes high-risk countries.
July 8, 2022
Policy Decision Key Dates in 2022
February 13. Fully vaccinated Kiwis plus certain other travellers entering NZ from the rest of the world* can skip MIQ.
April 30. The border starts a phased reopen to fully vaccinated foreign nationals.
April 30. The Productivity Commission reports back to the government on immigration settings.
May 9. Applications open for mandatory Employer Accreditation.
*Excludes high-risk countries.
July 8, 2022
Work Visa Categories Closing
The work visa categories set to close are:
Essential Skills Work Visa
Essential Skills Work Visa – approval in principle
Work to Residence (Talent – Accredited Employer)
Work to Residence (Long Term Skills Shortage)
Silver Fern Job Search Work Visa (closed October 2019)
Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa.
July 8, 2022
The Green List
From September 2022 people holding job offers in a small number of occupations may apply for residence. Some occupations are a direct pathway to residence and others require a period of two years or longer before applying.
There are qualification and/or occupational registration requirements to meet. Establishing if an overseas qualification matches the NZ equivalent qualification before applying is paramount for success.