Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa

The Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa is targeted at individuals who are seeking to work in a skilled position in New Zealand. Applications are scored using a points system, with points awarded based on factors like time already spent working in New Zealand, academic qualifications, occupational registration in New Zealand and income level.

Individuals who meet the eligibility criteria must have an Expression of Interest accepted by New Zealand Immigration before they will be invited to apply for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa itself.

Please note that the rules for this visa changed on 9 October 2023. If you were invited to apply for this visa before 9 October 2023, you may be permitted to claim points under the previous rules.

How does the new points system work for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa?

The re-opening of applications for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa took place on 9 October 2023, with a number of changes to the eligibilty criteria and application process also coming into force. Chief among these is the new points system, against which all Expressions of Interest and applications will be assessed.

Under the new Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa points system, individuals will need six points in order to be eligible to apply.

Between three and six points can be claimed based on an individual’s academic qualifications, income from the job they hold or intend to take up in New Zealand, or occupational registration.

For qualifications:

  • Doctoral degrees: 6 points
  • Master’s degrees: 5 points
  • Bachelor’s (Honours) degrees or Postgraduate diplomas: 4 points
  • Bachelor’s degrees or Postgraduate certificates: 3 points

For income (as hourly rates):

  • At least 3x median wage (NZD $88.98/hour): 6 points
  • At least 2x median wage (NZD $59.32/hour): 4 points
  • At least 1.5x median wage (NZD $44.49/hour): 3 points

For occupational registration: 3-6 points depending on the occupation, provided that it is listed as an eligible occupational registration by Immigration New Zealand.

Applicants are only permitted to claim points from one of these categories. It is not permitted to combine points from multiple categories to reach the six points required to apply for a Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa e.g. a job paying 1.5x the median wage (3 points) and a postgraduate certificate (3 points).

To make up any shortfall in points from qualifications, income or occupational registration and meet the required threshold of six points, potential applicants are permitted to claim up to three points from skilled work they have already undertaken in New Zealand, at a rate of one point per year worked. For example, a skilled worker with a Master’s degree (5 points) who has already done skilled work in New Zealand for one full year (1 point) would be able to reach the six points required to apply for a Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa.

Who can apply for a Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa?

In addition to being able to score six points in the points test, potential applicants for a Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa must also meet a number of other eligibility criteria in order to be successful in their Expression of Interest (EOI).

All applicants for this visa must demonstrate that they have either a job or job offer in New Zealand with an Accredited Employer. The job must be either:

  • full-time and permanent;
  • for a minimum fixed term of 12 months; or
  • a contract for services of at least six months

In addition to passing the points test and having a qualifying job or job offer, applicants must also:

  • be no older than 55 years old at the time of application
  • meet New Zealand’s good health and character requirements for visa applications
  • prove or demonstrate that they speak and understand English to a sufficient level

If you wish to bring dependants to New Zealand on the basis of your holding this visa, they must also be able to speak English or commit to paying to learn English in New Zealand.

How can I apply for a Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa?

Before you can apply for this visa, you must first submit and have accepted an Expression of Interest (EOI).

Your EOI must be submitted online and will need to contain information relating to your qualifications, income or occupational registration, whichever you intend to use as the basis for achieving the six points required to be eligible for a Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa. If the information you provide suggests that you will be able to meet the points test and other eligibility requirements, you will be invited to submit a full visa application.

Submitting an EOI is free of charge. If you subsequently receive an invitation to apply for a visa, you will have to do so and pay the application fee within four months.

How much an application for a Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa will cost depends on your nationality, with the application fee ranging from zero to NZD $4890.

Once you have submitted your visa application and paid any application fees, 80% of applications usually receive a decision within 12 months.

Related: Points calculator for Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa

Mohamed Anas Sirajur Raheem

BA (Political Studies), LLB (VUW)

Mohamed is an enrolled Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand, specializing in immigration law.

He is a former New Zealand Immigration Officer (Visa Services) and Border Officer at Auckland International Airport. He has several years of experience working in various Government Departments in New Zealand and has also worked as a Licensed Immigration Adviser at a prominent New Zealand Immigration firm.

His areas of expertise and interest are in the fields of General Skilled Migration, Temporary Work (Long and Short Stay), Business visas, Partner, Parent and Child Visa streams.

Mohamed was inspired to pursue a career in immigration by his own migration experiences. Over the years he has assisted individuals, families, large corporations, Professional sportspeople, and Entertainers (singers, speakers, and actors) to come to New Zealand.

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