Skilled Migration Visas for New Zealand

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Skilled Migrant Category

With a Skilled Migrant Category visa, you get most of the rights of a citizen, including the ability to enter and leave the country, to work for any employer, to vote, to have full access to all health care benefits and educational subsidies for visa holders and their dependents.

Approvals for this Resident Class visa are primarily on a points system. The points levels are reset from time to time, but at present, anyone with a legitimate claim to 6 points or more, with skilled employment and meeting other general criteria such as health, character and English skills is likely to be successful.

Immigration New Zealand have now replaced the Skills Shortage List with the Green List which lists the current occupations in New Zealand that have a nationally identified skill shortage. This list is updated inline with the growing needs of New Zealand employers.

There are now 3 Residence Pathways available.

The Green List

Straight to Residence – Eligible migrants may apply for residence straight away based on meeting the Green List Requirements for their occupation.

There is also a Work to Residence Pathway for some of the Green List Occupations by way of working in a Green List occupation for 24 months, then you will be eligible to apply for residence under the Residence from Work category.

Immigration New Zealand also have Sector Agreement occupations where there are certain occupations that are eligible for the Work to Residence pathway.

Skilled Migrant Points Category

To apply for Skilled Migrant Category visa via the Points pathway, you must first submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). If you have enough points, you will be issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA).

For the Expression of Interest, you must meet a minimum requirement of 6 points. Points are based on income, qualifications, occupational registration, and New Zealand work experience. Further requirements for this visa require that you are 55 years of age or under, meet health and character requirements and meet the minimum English standards.

At present, EOIs of 6 points and more (and meeting all other criteria) are selected from the pool.

Once you have been issued a resident visa, your arrival in New Zealand activates a two-year visa, which allows you to travel and re-enter New Zealand as a resident over this period. After the initial resident visa expires, you will need to apply for a permanent resident visa, which can be granted either indefinitely or for a specific period.

Work to Residence Category

For those who do not immediately meet the requirements for a Skilled Migrant Category visa, or who are unsure of how long they wish to stay in New Zealand and wish to apply for a residency visa at a later date, then they can apply for a Work to Residence visa.

Under the Work to Residence visa, applicants can come to New Zealand on the following visa options:

  • Green List – For people with a job offer from an accredited employer and in a Green List work to residence occupation.
  • Sector Agreement – For people with a job offer from an accredited employer and in a current Sector Agreement Occupation.

The advantages of the Work to Residence visa is that it allows you to work in New Zealand for 30 months, during which time you have the option of applying for a resident visa.

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