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.
The Skilled Migrant Category is being reviewed by the government and changes are expected around mid-2023.
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:
The Malcolm Pacific Immigration advisers and experts help take the stress and worry of navigating the complex world of New Zealand Skilled Migrant visas, policies, and immigration.
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.
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.
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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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.
The work visa categories set to close are:
*Excludes high-risk countries.
*Excludes high-risk countries.
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.
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.
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:
Is this the only requirement to qualify for residence? No. In addition to the eligible work visa criteria workers also need to be regarded as one of the following:
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:
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
From 1 November 2021
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From 19 July 2021
From 30 June 2021
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.
From mid-2020 (delayed)
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.
From 15 February 2021
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.
From 7 October 2020
The government added four new occupations that are now regarded as skilled employment and may qualify for job offer points under the Skilled Migrant Category. These are:
Aged or disabled carer, Bicycle mechanic, Driller and Nursing Support worker.
From 27 July 2020
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.
From 27 May 2020
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:
From 7 October 2019
From 24 February 2020