New Zealand

Skilled Migrant Category

The Skilled Migrant Category has been effectively closed since early 2020. It is expected the category will reopen in the fall of 2022. Detailed requirements and exact timing are unknown.

The Skilled Migrant Category is the visa category that proportionally offers the most people an opportunity to immigrate to New Zealand.

An important element in this visa category is a points table. Elements (education, experience, job, salary) that the NZ government considers important for potential migrants are thus integrated in the application and selection procedure.

Requirements Skilled Migrant Category (pre-2020)

Important conditions for submitting an application for the Skilled Migrant Category are:

  • The main applicant must be able to claim at least 160 points for education, work experience, job offer in New Zealand, age, etc;
  • Good knowledge of the English language: a score of at least 6.5 on an IELTS test for the main applicant, or comparable score on a number of other English tests.
  • 55 years or younger;
  • An offer for “skilled employment” and / or training and work experience in such a position. A job offer is not mandatory, but in practice almost always necessary to reach 160 points;
  • The applicant’s education and work experience are assessed against the job description as described in ANZSCO (Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations);
  • The salary for a job with ANZSCO skill level 1, 2 or 3 must be a minimum of NZ $ 25.50 per hour (or the annual salary corresponding to that). For a job with ANZSCO skill level 4 or 5, the salary must be a minimum of NZ $ 38.25 per hour.

Application procedure

The application procedure consists of two steps:

  • Submit an “Expression of Interest” that summarizes the points claimed by the applicant.
  • Invitation to Apply after the “Expression of Interest” is selected in the biweekly draw.

Expression of Interest (EOI)

In the Expression of Interest you state what you are claiming points for. 160 points are required to submit an Expression of Interest. Most points can be earned through education, work experience, a New Zealand job offer and age. Bonus points can be earned for education and work experience obtained in New Zealand and the partner’s credentials. In addition, bonus points (30) can be earned for job offers outside the Auckland region.

A draw is made every two weeks from the submitted EOIs. If an EOI is not selected for a period of 6 months, it will be deleted.

Invitation to Apply

After an EOI has been selected, an initial assessment takes place. If this assessment is positive, an “Invitation to Apply” (ITA) is then sent, inviting the applicant to submit the application for a residence visa.

This is the complete visa application and all supporting documentation must be included. The complete application is assessed by INZ. After approval of the visa application, the Resident Visa will be issued and you have one year to emigrate to New Zealand. Initially, the applicant will be eligible for a Resident Visa with conditions. After these conditions have been met (often after a period of two years), an application can be made for a Permanent Resident Visa, which is a resident visa without conditions.