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Skilled Migrant Visa Information.

Here we share some general information about Skilled Migrant policy. This does not replace or constitute immigration advice from a licensed immigration adviser.

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Skilled Migrant Policy.

The "Skilled Migrant Category" is a pathway to residence for people holding skilled job offers from New Zealand employers. It does this by awarding "points" to education, work experience, job offers, and the personal attributes of the applicant. Those "points" are then compared against a fortnightly "Pass Mark".

The Pass Mark can change depending on what annual targets the Government sets. This can be due to how many applicants have already been approved that year and how many applicants are achieving certain "points" in the current draw. This so-called "SMC" or "Points System" is the most often used pathway to residence.

Skilled Employment.

Holding an offer of skilled employment in New Zealand is key to a successful Skilled Migrant application. The job offer has to meet certain minimum standards, including:

  • Pay rate at or above the median wage

  • Full time and permanent

  • Compliance with New Zealand employment law

  • Assessed by Immigration NZ as a skilled job offer.

Useful Information

The Malcolm Pacific Immigration team of advisers and experts help take the stress and worry of navigating the complex world of New Zealand Skilled Migrant visas, policies, and immigration.

First Steps.

To make sure the number of applicants for skilled migrant visas does not exceed available spaces, there is a preliminary filter called the "Expression of Interest" ("EOI").

A fee is paid, and key personal data is entered online without the need for verification and detailed documentation. If that "EOI" meets the pass mark of the fortnightly selection, Immigration New Zealand then issues an "Invitation to Apply" ("ITA").

While receiving an "ITA" is normally grounds for celebration, it is by no means the end of the journey. The applicant still must meet all the small-print requirements and produce documents that validate claims made in the "EOI" by submitting an application for residence.

In many cases, there are misunderstandings when applicants have been "sure they knew what was meant" by certain requirements, only to find that Immigration New Zealand's interpretation of words is quite different from their own.

What To Be Aware Of.

All family members will also be subject to scrutiny over documents of identity and relationship. The medical and character backgrounds of everyone associated with the application will be closely examined.

New Zealand job offers go through very close examination to see if they meet high thresholds set by the government. Failure to meet these strict thresholds is a common reason for applications being declined.

An offer of skilled employment is critical to a successful application under this category. Trying to secure employment while you are overseas is difficult unless a New Zealand employer is looking for particular skills that are not readily available in the local labour market.

General Comments.

It has been calculated that Do-it-Yourself applicants who assume or think they are entitled to points waste over $10 million every year in failed applications. It pays to take proper advice.

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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.

Read more here.

16 May 22

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.
10 Feb 22

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.

16 Dec 21

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