Visa News
December 7, 2021

A Guide to the Skilled Migrant Category

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.
A Guide to the Skilled Migrant Category
A Guide to the Skilled Migrant Category

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

If you want to apply for the Skilled Migrant Residence Visa, there are a few key steps you need to take first. Here’s what you need to do:

Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI)

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.

Get started with a free assessment today

We are New Zealand’s largest and most experienced team of licensed immigration advisers. Our experts take away the stress and worry of navigating the complicated world of immigration. All you need to do is get in touch. Our team is on standby, ready to help.