Skilled Migrant Category Points Guide

Would you like to know if you can apply for a Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa?

Our Points Guide will help you assess if you should apply for a Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa.


Minimum Requirements of the Skilled Migrant Category

To qualify for a resident visa under this policy, you must meet all of the following minimum requirements:


Can you reach the minimum points score?

Calculate your points score for your Expression of Interest.


Points for skilled employment

Current skilled employment or offer of skilled employment in New Zealand 


Bonus points for a skilled job or offer of skilled employment

Area of absolute skill shortage


A region outside of Auckland


Partner's skilled employment or offer of skilled employment in New Zealand


High remuneration (introduced under the new policy)


Skilled Work experience

Two years


Four years


Six years


Eight years


Ten years or more


Bonus points for skilled work experience gained in New Zealand 

One year or more


Bonus points for work experience in an area of absolute skills shortage

2 to 5 years


Six years or more


Recognised Qualifications

Recognised level 3 qualification (if included in the List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment) introduced under the new policy


Recognised level 4-6 qualification


Recognised level 7 or 8 qualification


Recognised level 9 or 10 qualification


Bonus points for qualifications

Two years of full-time study in New Zealand completing a recognised New Zealand Bachelor degree (level 7) 


One year of full-time study in New Zealand completing a recognised post-graduate New Zealand qualification


Two years of full-time study in New Zealand completing a recognised post-graduate New Zealand qualification


Partner qualification - recognised level 7 or 8


Partner qualification - recognised level 9+



20 - 39 years


40 - 44 years


45 - 49 years


50 - 55 years


Please note that our Points Guide can only give you a very first overview. 


In the following video, we explain how the points system works and what you need to know:


What happens if you reach the minimum points score of 100? 

If you score 100 points or more and meet health, character, language and age requirements, you can submit your Expression of Interest (EOI) and might subsequently be eligible to apply for a Resident Visa under the Skilled Migrant Category.

However, since 2016 Immigration New Zealand has been only considering applications with a minimum point score of 160, given the high competition for EOIs. 

If you submit your Expression of Interest and your points calculation is incorrect, it can be complicated to remedy. This is why it is essential to ensure you have an accurate application before proceeding. 

We strongly advise our clients not to submit an Expression of Interest unless we can be confident that they have an excellent chance of being selected. 


What happens if you do not reach the point score of 160 yet? 

In most cases, you will need a job offer in New Zealand to have enough points for your Expression of Interest to be selected.

Once you have an offer of skilled employment, your chances of applying for a Resident Visa under the Skilled Migrant Category are likely to increase.

You may also be eligible for other immigration policies in New Zealand. 


Most applicants will need a Job Offer for their EOIs to be successful

In the latest Immigration New Zealand EOI results, 9 out of 10 successful applicants had a job offer already. This underlined how crucial it is to secure the offer of employment before your EOI is submitted.

The situation, however, presents a challenge, as employers prefer to hire applicants already holding a visa. This is what we call the Catch 22 Dilemma (You need a job offer to obtain your visa, but you need a visa to secure a job offer). 


How can I find a job in New Zealand?

To secure a job offer, you will need to understand the local labour market, have a competitive CV and Cover letter tailored to the New Zealand market. It will be crucial to know how to successfully network, as well as being able to assure employers that your work visa processing will be fast and frictionless. 

All this might sound daunting. However, our Job Search Coaches have been assisting migrants like you for years, and they have proven that this is possible. 


Tips to search for a job as a migrant in New Zealand

If you are looking for help tailored to your specific situation, you can read more about our Job Search Program or fill in our Free Assessment form for our Licensed Immigration Advisers' feedback on your case. 


Free Immigration Assessment 


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