Residence Skilled Migrant Category (SMC)

Skilled Migrant Category

If you are looking to live and work in New Zealand, we can help you identify the right visa option and understand the requirements you need to satisfy in order to apply for New Zealander permanent residence. Engaging our services at the start of the application process will save you time and money.

Process to obtain New Zealand (NZ) residency
and living indefinitely in New Zealand is as follows:

Process to obtain New Zealand (NZ) residency and living indefinitely in New Zealand is as follows:​

What is resident under skilled migrant category?

New Zealand offers a direct pathway to residence for applicants who can demonstrate that they have qualifications and/or work experience that satisfies our countries workforce needs. This visa category is called the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC). This is a points-based system and is the most popular visa application pathway for skilled workers.

The Skilled Migrant Category does not require you to invest money or have any business experience. Instead, it is entirely based on your skills and potential to contribute to New Zealand’s workforce.

Eligibility under this category is reserved for principal applicants who are aged 55 years or younger, and who can meet the required number of “points” when submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI). If an applicant has the required number of points then their EOI will be selected from the “pool”, a process which takes place once every 2 weeks.   

How do you obtain a skilled migrant resident visa?

Occasionally the New Zealand Government reviews the Immigration policy and adjusts the number of points required to have an EOI selected. As of today’s date, only EOI’s that claim 160 points or more are selected from the pool. Upon selection from the pool you will then be invited to submit an application. This is your chance to demonstrate that you are in fact eligible for the points you have claimed.

Points For Employability And Capacity Building Factors

  • Age: Applicants are scored according to which age group they fall into at the time of their application, with those aged from 20 to 39 gaining the most points.
  • Skilled employment: Eligibility is dependent on obtaining an offer of skilled employment from a New Zealand employer. A qualifying offer of skilled employment must be for a minimum of 30 hours per week, for a wage or salary that is equivalent to a minimum hourly rate of $25.00 per hour (subject to change based on New Zealand median income levels), and it must also be within the range of market pay for your position. The employment must be either a normal ongoing employment contract or for a fixed term of at least 12 months. 

To be treated as skilled employment, you must obtain a job offer that is considered by INZ to be a substantial match for occupations listed in the Australia New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) at Levels 1-3. You must also be able to demonstrate that you hold the requisite qualifications and/or work experience for this occupation.

  • Educational qualification: If you claim points for your qualification, you must show it is a recognised qualification. It can be a New Zealand qualification or your overseas qualification. In case that you’re claiming points for your overseas qualifications they need to either be on the List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment or have been assessed by the New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA).
  • Work Experience: If you claim points for work experience, you must show it is skilled and it must be in the same field as your qualification and job/job offer. If you don’t have a job or job offer then this experience also needs to be in a comparable labour market, in an occupation on the Long Term Skill Shortage List or for a multinational company.
  • English language ability: Principal applicants under the SMC category must be able to demonstrate that they meet the minimum standard of English. The minimum standard of English is met if an acceptable English language test result is provided. 
  • Bonus points for partners’ recognised skills and qualifications: Immigration New Zealand acknowledges that if partner of the principal applicant has recognised skills and qualifications, this is seen as a contribution of the whole migrating family and will therefore provide bonus points for the Expression of Interest.
  • Health requirements: applicants must be of good health; and
  • Character requirements: applicants must have good character.

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