New Zealand New Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa to Open

On October 9, 2023, New Zealand’s Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa will open, with a simplified points system that sets a clear skills threshold for residence and offers several ways for applicants to demonstrate their skill level. Under the new system, applicants will need six points to be granted residence.

Applicants who wish to apply for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa can claim three to six points from one of the following skill indicators:

  • Occupational registration (where an occupation has a regulated registration, licensing, or certification scheme in New Zealand and full registration requires at least two years of formal training or experience);
  • A bachelor’s degree or higher-level qualification; or
  • A skilled job earning at least 1.5 x median wage in New Zealand.
Key Information
  • If applicants do not gain enough points through one of these skill pathways, they will need to gain additional points through having skilled work experience in New Zealand.
  • All applicants will need a skilled job offer in New Zealand, and most applicants will be required to spend time working in New Zealand before becoming eligible for residence.
  • There will be no cap on the number of people who can gain residence if they meet the skills threshold.

It is expected that applicants can anticipate faster decision times (where complete information is provided to Immigration New Zealand).

Other Immigration Options

Employers can continue to bring skilled workers to New Zealand on a temporary work visa, such as the Accredited Employer Work Visa, or employ migrants on other work visas such as the Working Holiday Visa, even if they do not meet the residence criteria.

Recently, additional changes have also been made:

  • Interim visas now allow for Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa applicants to be on an interim visa while they await the outcome of their application);
  • Interim visa holders who are awaiting the outcome of their Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa application will be able to vary some of the conditions of their interim visa if their circumstances change;
  • Changes to the List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment (LQEA) were made ahead of the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa opening, as well as the Work to Residence (WtR) category opening.
Erickson Insights

Erickson Immigration Group will continue to monitor developments and share updates as more news is available. Please contact your employer or EIG attorney if you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or case-specific questions.