NZ Immigration Updates: Changes to the Skilled Migrant Category



Interested in applying for NZ residence or waiting for your application to be processed? Applications under the Skilled Migrant Category are experiencing unprecedented delays. Find the latest NZ Immigration Updates below to learn how the Skilled Migrant Category changes may affect you:


Expressions of Interest Remain Suspended: Thousands Waiting in Queue

Expressions of Interest (EOI) have been on hold since March 2020, when the pandemic first took hold in New Zealand. There are over 11,000 EOIs currently sitting in the skilled migrant pool. We anticipate a smaller number of these EOIs will be selected and invited for residence.


Current residence applications for the skilled migrant resident visa nz are moving very slowly with those lodged in November 2019 being looked at now. To date, there are approximately 14,000 applications covering some 30,000 people waiting to be processed. Applications lodged before the pandemic began continue to be processed, but the current volume is simply too much for the 70 immigration officers working on these cases to handle.


Skilled Migrant Category Changes: Is an Official Announcement Expected Soon?

As we previously reported, an official announcement by the government is expected to be made about the Skilled Migrant Category very soon. An advance copy of the updated SMC point calculator was prematurely posted on the Immigration NZ website and has since been taken down. What we learned from this advance copy is that Immigration NZ are likely to reopen Expressions of Interest with modified selection criteria. We reported that it appears more points would be allocated to jobs requiring occupational registrations, such as nurses, plumbers, and teachers. It also detailed that extra points will be allocated to those that have jobs in areas of absolute skills shortages, like engineers and health professionals.


There may be other unexpected changes to residence criteria as the government looks at ways to manage the high number of people already in NZ wanting to become residents and the limited resources of INZ to process all the current and future applications.


Updates to the Median Wage

To be considered a skilled migrant worker in NZ, you must be paid the median wage. The median wage changes every year and has a direct impact on visa applications under the skilled migrant category. On July 19, 2021, the Government increased the median wage to $27 per hour, so anyone who applies for a skilled migrant resident visa will need to have a job offer that pays at least the median wage. This also means that Expressions of Interest with a job pay rate less of less than $27 will not be considered for residency. Residence applications lodged before July 19 will not be affected by this change.

Plan Ahead: Getting Your Application Ready

It’s only a matter of time until Expressions of Interest are officially re-opened and new residence visa applications are processed. When that time comes – you will need to have your application ready to go straight away to prevent further delays.


Check Your Documents

If your Expression of Interest is selected and you are invited for residence, there are important documents you will need for your resident visa application, including:


· Your Birth Certificate (with your parent names on it)

· A Valid Passport

· A Police Certificate

· A Medical Certificate

· Documents to support your points claim

· Documents to verify relationships with anyone included in the application


Your application form will detail whether you need to supply original or certified copies of these documents. It is important to get your application right the first time around. If your application has missing information or inaccuracies, INZ will not hesitate to return your application, causing further delays in the process, or the applicaiton gets declined. Take advice.


Get in Touch for Visa Assistance

The best way to avoid issues with your application is to speak with a licenced immigration adviser. At Malcolm Pacific Immigration, our specialists can handle all visa types, including resident visa applications. Get in touch today to learn everything you need to know about the Skilled Migrant Category.

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