The Skilled Migrant Category

What is the Skilled Migrant Category?

The Skilled Migrant Category is a points-based system, providing an opportunity for skilled individuals to gain permanent residency in New Zealand. 

A resident visa under the Skilled Migrant Category will allow you to live, work and study in New Zealand and you can include your partner and your dependent children aged 24 and under.

This policy is based on a points system that factors in multiple elements considered to be employability and settlement indicators. 

Points are awarded for qualifications, work experience, age, skilled employment, partner qualifications etc. 

Additional minimum requirements include being aged 55 or under, having good English language ability, good health and a good character.  


Please use our Points Calculator to check for yourself whether you might fulfil the requirements of the Skilled Migrant Category and find out how many points you currently need to have a chance to obtain a resident visa under this policy. 


The Application Process

The resident visa application process under the Skilled Migrant Category is complex. It consists of two main stages, the Expression of Interest and the actual Resident Visa Application.

In some cases, a third stage, an assessment of the applicant`s qualifications, will be necessary. Our licensed immigration advisers will be able to determine, whether you will have to apply for an external qualification assessment.

Some professions require registration with the professional board in charge.


Stage 1 - The Expression of Interest, EOI

The first step of the process is to complete an online application, showing an interest in applying for residence in New Zealand.

In your online Expression of Interest, you will claim points for your qualifications, work experience, age etc. before submitting it to Immigration New Zealand.

All Expressions of Interest received will be ranked from highest to lowest points and placed into a Pool.

Every fortnight Immigration New Zealand selects the Expressions of Interest with the highest point scores from the Pool. This process is called Selection. 

The number of Expressions of Interest selected from the Pool is determined each time a Selection takes place. It varies every fortnight and is based on the number of immigrants New Zealand is aiming to gain during each financial year. Only the best applicants will be successful.

So how many points will you really need?

The number of points you will need for your Expression of Interest to be selected from the pool depends on the quality of the competing candidates, who have entered their Expression of Interest at the same time as you.

In most cases, you will need a job offer in New Zealand to claim the 50-70 additional points that will make the deciding difference for the successful outcome of your Expression of Interest.

Look up the latest Selection results to find out how many points were required for recent EOIs to be successful.  


Expressions of Interest that have been successfully selected from the Pool will undergo a preliminary assessment.

Immigration New Zealand will check the credibility of the information provided by you in your Expression of Interest and only applicants who have successfully passed this stage, will then receive an Invitation to Apply for a Resident Visa.


Stage 2 - The Residence Application

At the start of this second stage of the application process, your application for a Resident Visa will be submitted to Immigration New Zealand, including all documents proving the point claims made in the Expression of Interest.  

Once your resident visa application has been lodged, Immigration New Zealand will assess it against Government residence policy. They will also look at your potential to settle successfully and make a real contribution to New Zealand's social and economic development.

The assessment against settlement and contribution requirements will take into consideration the application as a whole, including information gained at interview, if an interview is conducted.

Depending on how well 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 Resident Visa, or
  • you may instead be granted a Work Visa, which will enable you to establish yourself in skilled employment in New Zealand, or
  • your application may be declined. 


Are you eligible for a resident visa under the Skilled Migrant Category?

Find out by using our Points Calculator or talk to our Job Search Professionals about finding a job that suits your professional background and ask our Licensed Immigration Advisers whether that job will entitle you to 50-70 points for your Expression of Interest.


Please note: If you are planning to run your own business and be self-employed in New Zealand this policy is not suitable for you. 

Read more on our Business in New Zealand pages.

Read more about becoming a New Zealand resident through the Skilled Migrant Category:


Ask our Licensed Immigration Advisers

If you want to find out what it takes to migrate to New Zealand ask our Licensed Immigration Adviser Dr.Carsten Hallwass for a Free Assessment.

Free Assessment