Guide to Applying for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) invites people who have the skills to contribute to New Zealand’s economic growth to apply for a skilled migrant category resident visa. If successfully granted, this visa allows an applicant to live and work in New Zealand indefinitely. Partners and dependent children (aged 24 and under) can be included  in the residence application.

The Application Process

Expression of Interest

In order to be considered for an invitation to apply for residence, an applicant must be able to claim at least 100 points under the NZ Government’s point system. At this point, the applicant does not need to provide evidence to support the claims they have made (for example, relating to work experience or skilled employment). However, supporting evidence must be provided in the application for residence.

Invitation to Apply for Residence

Once invited to apply for residence, the applicant must apply within 4 months of receiving the invitation.

The invitation to apply will advise of the specific evidence one needs to provide to support the claims made in the EOI, which may include:

  • an employment agreement
  • a job description
  • full or provisional occupational registration, if New Zealand law requires a person to have it to do their job
  • original or certified copiesof the applicants qualifications and course transcripts
  • a report from the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) confirming any qualification that isn’t on the government’s list of recognised or exempt qualifications
  • references, payslips, tax records or contracts that confirm work experience
  • birth certificates for any close familywho live in New Zealand that show the applicant is  related
  • proof that any close family claimed points for living in New Zealand.

If the applicant is unable to provide evidence to support the claims made in the EOI, the New Zealand Government may not be able to grant you a visa.

English Language Requirements

You must be able to speak English

You will need to provide one of these with your application:

  • An acceptable English language test result (IELTS, TOEFL iBT, PTE Academic, FCE, OET)
  • Evidence you’re a citizen of Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom (UK) or the United States of America (USA), and you have spent at least five years working or studying in those countries, or in Australia or New Zealand.
  • Evidence you have a recognised qualification that’s comparable to a New Zealand level 7 bachelor’s degree, which you gained in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, the UK, or the USA. You must have also studied for at least two years in any of those countries to get that qualification.
  • Evidence you have a recognised qualification that’s comparable to a postgraduate New Zealand qualification, which you gained in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, the UK, or the USA. You must have also studied for at least one year in any of those countries to get that qualification.

English language test results must be no more than 2 years old.

Regardless of the other evidence you provide, if you don’t provide an acceptable English language test result, INZ may ask for one as evidence you meet the English language requirements.

Age

You must be 55 years or under when you apply for residence

Skilled Employment

A principal applicant’s current skilled employment in New Zealand or offer of skilled employment in New Zealand qualifies for 50 points. Therefore,  applicant’s current employment or offer of employment must be skilled

Skilled employment is employment that meets a minimum remuneration threshold and requires specialist, technical or management expertise obtained through:

    1. the completion of recognised relevant qualifications; or
    2. relevant work experience; or
    3. the completion of recognised relevant qualifications and/or work experience.

Assessment of whether employment is skilled for the purposes of the Skilled Migrant Category is primarily based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) which associates skill levels with each occupation, and the level of remuneration for the employment

For example…

Current employment in New Zealand or an offer of employment in New Zealand will be assessed as skilled if:

  1. the occupation is:
  • a skill level 1, 2 or 3 occupation and the remuneration for that employment is $27.00 per hour or above (or the equivalent annual salary); or
  • a skill level 4 or 5 occupation and the remuneration for that employment is $40.50 per hour or above (or the equivalent annual salary); or
  • listed at Appendix 7 and the remuneration for that employment is $27.00 per hour or above (or the equivalent annual salary); and
  1. the employment substantially matches the description for that occupation set out in ANZCO
  2. the employment is full time (30+ per week)
  3. the employment is genuine, ongoing and sustainable
  4. the applicant is suitably qualified by training and/or experience for that occupation
Evidence of Employment

If invited to apply for residence, the applicant must provide evidence of skilled employment, including having the necessary:

  • work experience
  • qualifications
  • occupational registration.

If the applicant is invited to apply they will be sent an Employer Supplementary Form that they will need to ask the prospective employer to complete.

Work Experience

Skilled work experience qualifies for points as set out below:

Points are calculated on the basis of every two complete years of skilled work experience up to a maximum of ten years e.g. Three years of skilled work experience qualifies for 10 points.

How is Skilled Work Experience Recognised?

An applicants work experience can be in:

In other words, if someone is claiming points for past work experience that “substantially matches” with an occupation that is skill level 1, 2, or 3 according to ANZSCO, then it won’t need to be from the same occupation from which the person is claiming points for their current job/job offer (i.e. Skilled Employment).

All one needs to show is:

  1. The past work experience “substantially matches” a corresponding ANZSCO code under skill level 1,2, or 3 and;
  2. The person was “suitably qualified” before they were employed to do that job

What is a “Substantial Match” to an ANZCO Code?

Essentially, the work experience must display the characteristics of an occupation in terms of the relevant ANZCO ‘Unit Group’ description of tasks for that role. You can view a range of ANZCO occupations and their task descriptions here.

What Does ‘Suitably Qualified’ Mean?

An applicant will be assessed as suitably qualified if they hold a relevant qualification as specified in the ANZSCO for that occupation (i.e. bachelors degree, certificate etc).

Alternatively, if this is not the case, a person may be identified as ‘suitably qualified’ due to prior work experience. The work experience must be relevant and required.

Further details on required qualifications or experience can be viewed on our claiming points for work experience page.

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