Changes to the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa
The Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa re-opened on 9 October 2023 with new criteria.
The changes include:
- a new points system
- skilled job or job offer requirements
- the number of applications that will be accepted and processing times, and
- a Skilled Migrant Category Interim Visa.
Some visa criteria and conditions have not changed. These are summarised in the section ‘Some requirements have not changed’’.
New points system
You need 6 points to apply for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa.
You can claim 3 to 6 points from your:
- New Zealand occupational registration
- qualification (Bachelor’s degree or higher), or
- income from your job or job offer (earning at least 1.5 times the median wage in New Zealand).
You can only claim points from 1 of the above skill categories. You cannot combine points from multiple skill categories. For example you cannot combine points from your qualification with points from your New Zealand occupational registration.
You can also claim 1 point for each year of skilled work in New Zealand, up to a maximum of 3 points.
The points you claim from skilled work in New Zealand can be combined with points from your New Zealand occupational registration, qualification or income.
Skilled job offer
You must have a skilled job or job offer with an accredited employer in New Zealand to apply. This requirement applies even if you are claiming the maximum amount of points available. To be considered a skilled job, the job or job offer must be:
- at least 30 hours a week.
- either in an ANZSCO Level 1 to 3 occupation and paid at or above the median wage, or in an ANZSCO Level 4 to 5 occupation and paid at or above 1.5 times the median wage.
- on a permanent contract or fixed-term contract for at least 12 months.
Some requirements have not changed
Some of the requirements for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa have not changed. These include:
- character requirements
- health requirements
- English language requirements
- age requirements (you must be 55 years old or under to apply).
You can include your partner and any dependent children up to the age of 24 in your application. They also must meet our English language, health and character requirements.
Your standard of English
You (the principal applicant), your partner, and dependent children aged 16 and over must all speak and understand English.
Who does not need English language test results
- You do not need to provide test results if one of the following applies to you.
- You are a citizen of Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom or the United States, and you have spent at least 5 years working or studying in those countries, or in Australia or New Zealand.
- You have a qualification similar to a New Zealand level 7 bachelor's degree gained in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom or the United States, and you studied for at least 2 years in any of those countries to get that qualification.
- You have a qualification gained in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom or the United States, which is comparable to a postgraduate New Zealand qualification. You must have studied for at least 1 year in any of those countries to get that qualification.
If you need test results for your application they must be 2 years old or less at the time you apply.
English language test results for principal applicants
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) — General or Academic ModuleOverall score of 6.5 or more
Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT) Overall score of 79 or more
Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) Overall score of 58 or more
Cambridge English B2 First (FCE )Overall score of 176 or more
B2 First for Schools (FCE for Schools) Overall score of 176 or more
Occupational English Test (OET)
Paper or Computer Based Test (OET) Grade B or higher in all 4 skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking.
You need this score in all 4 skills because there is no overall grade for this test.
Claiming points for qualifications
Points available for occupational registration
Points available for income
If you have a non-degree qualification at NZQF Level 7 or below, you cannot claim points. However if you were invited to apply before 9 October 2023 under the previous visa criteria - you can still use non-degree qualifications at NZQF Level 7 or below to claim points.
Claiming points for skilled work experience in New Zealand
If you are planning to use skilled work experience in New Zealand to claim further points, you must meet the wage threshold throughout the skilled work experience period.
For example, if you are claiming 4 points for being paid 2 times the median wage, you must earn this wage during your 2 years of skilled work experience in New Zealand.
You must provide evidence that you met the wage threshold at both the beginning and end of your skilled work experience period.
Skilled work requirements
The skilled work experience must be:
- in a full-time job (minimum of 30 hours a week), and
- on a permanent contract, a fixed-term contract for at least 12 months or a contract for services for at least 6 months.
There is also a wage threshold depending on the ANZSCO level of your job:
If your job has an ANZSCO level of 1 to 3 you must earn the median wage or above.
If your job has an ANZSCO level of 4 to 5 you must earn 1.5 times the median wage or above.