Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa

We invite people who have the skills to contribute to New Zealand’s economic growth to apply for this visa. Before we can invite you to apply, we’ll first need you to send us an Expression of Interest (EOI) telling us about your employment in New Zealand, work experience, and qualifications. If your Expression of Interest is successful we’ll offer you the opportunity to apply to live and work in New Zealand indefinitely.

Overview

Indefinitely

55 years or under

With this visa you can

  • Live, work and study in New Zealand.
  • Include your partner, and dependent children aged 24 and under, in your residence application.

Things to note

  • We use a points-based system to assess expressions of interest.
  • Currently, we are only selecting EOIs with 160 points or above.
  • This visa isn’t designed for people who are self-employed. If you want to work in your own business, you may wish to apply for an Entrepreneur Resident Visa instead.

The application process

  1. Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI)
  2. We invite you to apply for residence
  3. You send us your Application for Residence
  4. We make a decision about your application

English language

You must be able to speak English

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

  • An acceptable English language test result.
  • 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, we 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

If you’re invited to apply for residence, we’ll use the documents you provide as proof of your identity to confirm your age.

Skilled employment

Your current employment or offer of employment must be skilled

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

  • work experience
  • qualifications
  • occupational registration.

If you are invited to apply you will be sent an Employer Supplementary Form that you will need to ask your prospective employer to complete.

Qualifications

Your qualification must be recognised to qualify for points.

If you claim points for your qualification, you must show it is a recognised qualification. A qualification can be recognised if:

  • It is on the List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment; or
  • It has been assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA); or
  • It has been assessed by a New Zealand registration authority at the same level as a qualification on the List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment as part of an application for New Zealand occupational registration; or
  • It is a Washington Accord or Sydney Accord accredited undergraduate degree.

If you need an NZQA assessment, you’ll need to include a PAR or IQA reference number with your Expression of Interest.

Visit the NZQA website for more information about how to:

  • Get international qualifications recognised for immigration
  • Apply for a Pre-assessment Result
  • Apply for an International Qualifications Assessment.

Work experience

Your work experience must be skilled to qualify for points

If you claim points for work experience, you must show it is skilled.

You don’t need to provide any evidence with your Expression of Interest (EOI).

Expression of interest

You must send us an Expression of Interest (EOI)

For us to enter your EOI into our Pool, you must be able to claim at least 100 points under our points system.

You can use our Points indicator tool to get an idea of how many points you may be able to claim – scroll down to see the tool.

EOIs are valid for 6 months.

Invitation to apply for residence

You must be invited to apply for residence

If invited to apply for residence, you must apply within 4 months of receiving your invitation.

Your invitation to apply will advise of the specific evidence you need to provide to support the claims you made in your EOI, which may include:

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

If you’re unable to provide evidence to support the claims you made in your EOI, we may not be able to grant you a visa.

Stage 1- Online EOI submission

Immigration costs

Application cost

NZD $ 530

You can pay for your application online by Visa or Mastercard.

Timeframes

EOI selection

every 2 weeks

We select EOIs from the pool every 2 weeks.

Invitation to Apply

within 3 weeks

After selection from the pool we will review your EOI within this time.

Stage 2- Paper SMC application submission

Immigration costs

Application cost

NZD $ 3,310

This is the fee for Immigration New Zealand to process your application.An immigration levy is payable and is included in the total amount above.

Timeframes

Apply

within 4 months

After we issue your invitation to apply for residence, we must receive your complete application and payment within this period.

Processing

within 13 months

90% of applications are currently completed within this time.