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 140 points or more, with skilled employment and meeting other general criteria such as health and English skills is likely to be successful.

To apply for Skilled Migrant Category visa, 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 100 points.  Points are based on age (under 56), experience, employability and qualifications.

At present, EOIs of 140 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.

Although you do not need a job offer for this visa, you will receive 50 additional points with an offer of skilled employment.

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:

  • Talent (Accredited Employers) – For people with a job offer from an accredited employer
  • Long Term Skills Shortage List – For people in occupations on the long-term skills shortage list
  • Talent (Arts, Culture and Sports) – For those with exceptional talent in a recognised field of art, culture or sport
  • If you plan to establish a business in New Zealand, there is a fourth option, the Long Term Business Policy (See Business Visas).
  • 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.

For those who did not meet the requirements of a residency visa to begin with, then they can do so after holding this visa for 24 months.

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