Skilled Migrant Visa Information

Here we share some general information about Skilled Migrant Residence policy. This material is for information purposes only. Contact one of our Licensed Immigration Advisers for personal immigration advice.

Skilled Migrant Visa Information

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, New Zealand skilled work experience, occupational registration, and/or the applicants pay rate.

For many people they must have worked in New Zealand for three years before they can apply under this category. If residence is the end goal it pays to get immigration advice sooner rather than later.


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 and in some cases 1.5 to 3 times the median wage (the median wage rate changes each year)
  • Full time and permanent
  • Compliant with New Zealand employment law
  • Assessed by Immigration NZ as a skilled job offer

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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.

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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").

Key personal data is entered online without the need for verification and detailed documentation. If that "EOI" meets the pass mark, 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 within a set deadline.

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

The Skilled Migrant category has a number of pitfalls that the inexperienced can easily fall into. It pays to take proper advice from a trusted and experienced licensed immigration adviser.

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