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Skilled Migration

New Zealand has very similar aims with regard to its migration program to Australia. New Zealand has identified specific employment opportunities that it regards as necessary for continued economic growth as a nation.

New Zealand is looking for people who have skills, experience and relevant job offers to fill available positions. The Skilled Migrant Category offers you the opportunity to move to New Zealand to work and live permanently.

The New Zealand economy is growing and is stronger now than it has been for several years. There is a high level of employment, however New Zealand still has a competitive job market. The employment market is changing because of technology and differences in the New Zealand workforce, including the ageing of the workforce and the relative difference in size of many businesses in New Zealand as compared to the rest of the world.


Skilled Migration - Overview


New Zealand is constantly reviewing its skill needs so that applications for migration can be considered from people who will best fill these needs. New Zealand, similarly to Australia, uses a points system to select people who can apply for residence as a skilled migrant.


How the Skilled Migrant Category works


Applying for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category involves you submitting an Expression of Interest to apply for residence. In the 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 55 years of age or under. You will also need to meet the current threshold of 100 points to register an Expression of Interest.


Expression of Interest


The Expression of Interest Pool is the collection of Expressions of Interest of people who have scored at least 100 points against specific criteria. Submissions are pooled over a number of weeks and ranked from lowest to highest points scored. It is from this pool that people are selected to apply for permanent residence in New Zealand by the New Zealand Government.

You may qualify for points if you have an offer of a job, or are currently employed in New Zealand in work that the New Zealand Government considers skilled employment. Work experience, recognised qualifications and age also qualify for points. You can qualify for bonus points for employment in specific industry areas, employment outside Auckland and qualifications gained in New Zealand. The total points you qualify for determines whether New Zealand will invite you to apply for residence. You currently need to qualify for at least 100 points to submit an Expression of Interest. People who score highest under the points system may be invited to apply for residence.

You will also need to meet a number of other conditions before you can apply for residence as a skilled migrant. These include age, health, character and English language requirements.


Points Table


When you complete your Expression of Interest, you need to determine the number of points you qualify for. The more points you qualify for, the greater your chance of being invited to apply for residence in New Zealand.

You will have a better chance of being invited to apply as a skilled migrant if you already have a job offer from a New Zealand employer in a field that the New Zealand Government considers to be skilled employment. These jobs range from professional and medical positions to people working in trades. You will need to hold a relevant qualification or have relevant work experience.


Bonus Points


You can also qualify for bonus points for employment in specific industry areas, employment outside Auckland and qualifications gained in New Zealand.

You will have a better chance of qualifying for residence if you have skills that New Zealand employers are finding hard to source within New Zealand. Bonus points are available for employment, work experience and qualifications in identified areas of growth or absolute skill shortage or within identified clusters. Bonus points are also available for employment outside Auckland and for qualifications gained in New Zealand over at least two years.


Visit the Migration Matters points calculator to see what your points score is


Further Requirements


You will also need to meet a number of other requirements to gain residence under the Skilled Migrant Category. The New Zealand Government will need to be assured that you and any family members included in your application:
  • are healthy - If you are invited to apply for residence you need to have a doctor assess your health and fill in New Zealand Immigration Service (NZIS) medical and chest x-ray certificates for each member of your family coming to New Zealand;
  • are of good character - If you are invited to apply for residence you will have to provide police certificates as evidence of good character for everyone 17 years and over included in your application; and
  • meet a minimum standard of English - Our requirements apply differently depending on whether you're the principal applicant - the person completing the form - or a non-principal applicant. Non-principal applicants include the partner and dependent children of the person completing the form.
Once you meet these requirements, whether the New Zealand Government invite you to apply for residence will depend upon the number of points you qualify for when you complete your Expression of Interest.


Invitation to Apply


If you are invited to apply for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category the New Zealand Government make another assessment of how well you are likely to settle into life in New Zealand and make a contribution to the country. This may involve a face-to-face interview.

If you qualified for points for particular factors the New Zealand Government will assess you as having the ability to settle and contribute. If this assessment is made, your application will be approved-in-principle.

To be assessed with the ability to settle and contribute, you will need to have:
  • an offer of, or already be working in, ongoing skilled employment in New Zealand;

    or

  • undertaken full time study for at least two years in New Zealand and as a result have earned:

    a Doctorate or Masters degree

    or

    a qualification in areas of identified future growth or absolute skill shortage.

Identified Future Growth Area


An industry area that offers New Zealand, considerable opportunity to increase its prosperity. Currently, New Zealand recognises three broad areas - Biotechnology, Information Communications Technology and Creative Industries. You may qualify for extra points if you can prove that the work you will be conducting will be in one of the these identified future growth areas.


Absolute Skill Shortage


These areas are occupations in which New Zealand has a significant shortage of skilled workers. These are listed on the Priority Occupation List. You may qualify for points if you can prove that your current employment or offer of employment meets the specifications of the List and you are suitably qualified and experienced for both.

Update: 13 December 2004
The Priority Occupations List (POL) has been renamed the Long Term Skill Shortage List and the Occupational Shortage List (OSL) has been renamed the Immediate Skill Shortage List. The names have been changed to better reflect the purpose of each list.


Long Term Skill Shortage List


The Long Term Skill Shortage List outlines the occupations considered a direct priority for New Zealand's current and continued economic development.

This list can be viewed at: http://www.immigration.govt.nz/


Immediate Skill Shortage List


The Immediate Skill Shortage List outlines the most current, relevant and required occupational abilities with regard to New Zealand's economy.

The purpose of this list is to enhance and streamline the processing of:
  • work permits and visas; and
  • approvals in principle for work permits or visas where there is a known regional labour market skills shortage.
The New Zealand Immigration Service will still expect you to meet all other aspects of relevant work policy and:
  • will establish whether the offer of employment is genuine; and
  • will determine whether the offer of employment is sustainable; and
  • will determine whether the business offering employment is able to meet its obligations under New Zealand employment law.
The Immediate Skill Shortage List can be viewed on the following link: http://www.immigration.govt.nz/

Occupational Registration In New Zealand registration is required by law to undertake employment as one of the following:

Architect Medical laboratory technician
Barrister or solicitor Medical practitioner
Chiropractor Medical radiation technologist
Clinical dental technician Nurses and midwives
Clinical dental therapist Occupational therapist
Dental hygienist Optometrist
Dental technician Osteopath
Dental therapist Pharmacist
Dentist Physiotherapist
Dietitian Plumber, gasfitter and drainlayer
Dispensing optician Podiatrist
Electrician Psychologist (see note below)
Electrical service technician Real estate agent
Enrolled nurse Cadastral (Land Title) Surveyor
Line mechanic Teacher
Medical laboratory scientist/technologist Veterinarian

Note: Psychologist - (registration is required only if you will be working in a government organisation or an institution licensed under the Mental Health Act 1992).


The Process for Skilled Migration



Step one: You complete an initial self-assessment


You can complete the Skilled Migrant Quick Check to help you decide whether or not it is worth submitting an Expression of Interest. Then try the Points Indicator to see if you are likely to meet the minimum points threshold.


Step two: You submit an Expression of Interest


You can complete and submit an Expression of Interest online (you will need to register first). In the Expression of Interest you will tell the government about your health, character, and English language ability, as well as factors that will earn you points. The government recommends you submit your Expression of Interest online because of the flexibility provided, and you'll know immediately whether your Expression of Interest has been accepted into the Expression of Interest Pool.

Advantages of submitting your Expression of Interest online include being able to:
  • reach a higher level of confidence that you have calculated your points correctly;
  • get an instant electronic indication of whether you meet the prerequisites;
  • remotely track and view the status of your Expression of Interest online;
  • save time by inputting data via a computer, which many people find is easier and quicker than manually writing it on a paper form;
  • update your details even after your Expression of Interest has been submitted to the Pool;
  • get instant online help.
If you are unable to submit your Expression of Interest online, you can print the pdf version of the form to complete manually and post the details to the New Zealand Immigration Service.


Step three: Ranking Expressions of Interest and inviting those with the top points to apply for residence


Expressions of Interest will be entered into a Pool. The government ranks Expressions of Interest in the Pool from highest to lowest points claimed. The government will make regular selections from the Pool and, following some checking, those with the top points will be invited to lodge an application for residence in New Zealand. It is not a case of first in, first served.

If your Expression of Interest is not selected from the Pool the first time, it will remain in the Pool for three months. If it is still unsuccessful, the government will tell you that your Expression of Interest has been withdrawn from the Pool. You can lodge another Expression of Interest if you wish to, and pay the appropriate fee. If the government have not selected any Expressions of Interest over a three-month period, all Expressions of Interest will remain in the Pool until the next selection is made.


Step four: The government invites you to apply for residence


If you have been successful, the government will send you an Invitation to Apply for residence. After you have been invited to apply you will need to send all the requested documents and information to support the claims you made in your Expression of Interest - such as passports, qualifications and relevant certificates.


Step five: Decision-making


The government will assess your application for residence against residence policy and look at your ability to settle successfully and make a real contribution to New Zealand's social and economic development. The government will also undertake further verification of some of the information you gave in your Expression of Interest.

Depending on how you are able to demonstrate your ability, or potential, to successfully settle in New Zealand:
  • your application may be approved and you will be granted a Residence Visa or Permit; or
  • you may instead be granted a Work Visa or Permit, which will enable you to establish yourself in skilled employment in New Zealand and help you gain residence; or
  • your application may be declined.

Step six: Welcome to New Zealand


If you are not already in New Zealand, the government will arrange a Welcome Pack on your arrival, as well as providing you with a contact person who can help you access information you need to help you settle in. On a more formal basis, the government will follow up with a questionnaire after three months, so that it can be used for feedback to help future skilled migrants.


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