To migrate to New Zealand, you will need to apply for a Visa or Permit. However, before you consider applying we recommend that you find out about living in New Zealand.
New Zealand aims to grant residence to people who have skills, experience and relevant job offers to fill employment opportunities that the New Zealand government has identified as necessary for growth. New Zealand wants people migrating to settle in New Zealand, feeling they are welcomed and are able to make a positive contribution.
The 'Skilled Migrant' immigration category ensures that both New Zealand and new migrants can experience positive social, cultural and economic outcomes of living and working together. Every year migrants from all over the world make New Zealand their new home.
If you wish to migrate to New Zealand, you need to apply to the New Zealand Immigration Service for resident status. Resident status in New Zealand entitles you to live, study and work indefinitely in New Zealand.
However, certain people do not need to apply for residence to live in New Zealand including:
- New Zealand citizens, who must show valid New Zealand passports on entering New Zealand; and
- Australian citizens, who must show valid Australian passports on entering New Zealand; and
- Australian permanent residents, who must show valid Australian resident return visas on entering New Zealand.
Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents must be of good character.
When you are approved residence, you will be issued a Residence Visa if you apply outside New Zealand or a Residence Permit if you apply in New Zealand.
A Residence Visa is normally valid for one year and is for a single entry. You must use this visa before its expiry in order to activate your resident status. This visa allows you to travel to New Zealand and be granted a Residence Permit on arrival.
A Residence Permit allows you to reside in New Zealand for an indefinite period. However, this permit will expire once you leave New Zealand.
If you wish to leave New Zealand temporarily after taking up residence, you must have a valid Returning Residence Visa in your passport to ensure your re-entry into New Zealand. You will be issued your first Returning Resident's Visa when residence is approved.
There are four main categories for residence applications in New Zealand:
- Refugee Family Quota
- Skilled Migrant Category
The objective of the business immigration policy is to attract migrants who will contribute to economic growth through:
- increasing New Zealand's level of human capital; and
- encouraging enterprise and innovation; and
- fostering external links.
There are currently four business categories available:
The Investor Category
is a points based system. This means you score points based on a number of factors such as age, business experience and investment funds. Your application will only be successful if you score sufficient points to meet the pass mark.
You may apply under the Entrepreneur Category
if you have successfully established a business in New Zealand for a period of at least two years.
Long Term Business Visa/Permit
You may apply for a Long Term Business Visa/Permit
if you are interested in applying for residence under the Entrepreneur Category. You may also apply under this category if you are interested in establishing a business in New Zealand but do not wish to live permanently in New Zealand. This is not a residence policy. You will be granted a work visa or permit for up to three years if your application is successful.
Employees of Relocating Businesses
You may apply under the Employees of Relocating Businesses
category if you are a key employee of a business relocating to New Zealand. This category is set up to assist the promotion of New Zealand as a place in which to invest and locate business, by facilitating the granting of residence to employees of businesses relocating to New Zealand.
The objective of Family Category
Policy is to strengthen families and communities, while reinforcing the Government's overall objectives in immigration policy.
The Family Category is available to you if you:
Family Quota Category
- Are in a genuine and stable relationship (either legally married or in an interdependent partnership akin to a marriage, whether heterosexual or same sex) with a New Zealand citizen or resident who sponsors their application; or
- Have immediate family members who are New Zealand citizens or residents and who live permanently in New Zealand, or
- Are the dependent children of New Zealand citizens or residents.
The Family Quota Category is available to those applicants:
- who are not eligible for residence under any other category of residence policy; and
- who are sponsored by a family member who is a New Zealand citizen or resident living permanently in New Zealand; and
- whose sponsor's registration is drawn from the pool of people who have registered as sponsors under the Family Quota Category.
The Quota size is announced each year.
Refugee Family Quota Category
The Refugee Family Quota Category is available to those applicants:
- who are not eligible for residence under any other category of residence policy with the exception of the Family Quota Category; and
- who are sponsored by a family member who was granted New Zealand residence on the basis of their status as a refugee and is living permanently in New Zealand; and
- whose sponsor's registration is drawn from the pool of people who have registered as sponsors under the Refugee Family Quota Category.
Sponsors wishing to lodge a registration for 2003 should fill in a Registration Form for Refugee Family Quota Sponsor and send it to:
NZIS, Refugee Family Quota,
PO Box 5347,
There are also some special residence categories that include the Samoan Quota Scheme, the Pacific Access Category and the Pitcairn Islanders scheme.
Skilled Migrant Category
The Skilled Migrant Category
is designed to match the skills that migrants bring, with the skills New Zealand needs. Specifically New Zealand is looking to build it's capacity. New Zealand is looking for people with skills that will help the Country achieve sustainable growth and feed innovation in New Zealand. New Zealand is looking for people who will build global connections and at the same time enrich the communities in which they live.
How the Skilled Migrant Category works
Applying for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category involves you submitting an Expression of Interest in applying for residence. In this Expression of Interest you determine the points you may claim as skilled migrant. To be considered under this category you need to be of good health, good character, have a reasonable standard of English and be under 56 years of age. You will also need to meet the threshold of 100 points to register an Expression of Interest.
The points system
is designed to allow Expressions of Interest to be ranked so that New Zealand can extend invitations to apply for residence to people who have the most to offer New Zealand. Points are available for skilled employment in New Zealand, work experience, qualifications and age. Bonus points are available for employment in areas of identified future growth or absolute skills shortage or within identified clusters. Bonus points are also available for employment outside Auckland and for New Zealand qualifications gained in New Zealand over at least two years.
Expressions of Interest that meet the prerequisites and the minimum points score go into the Expression of Interest Pool, where they are ranked from highest to lowest according to their point scores. The government then makes regular selections of the highest ranked Expressions of Interest from the Pool.