The Skilled Migrant Pathway to Residence

The Skilled Migrant Category is the most popular visa pathway to residence in New Zealand for migrants and their families.

Live, work, study in New Zealand, indefinitely.

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

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

Applicants submit an online Expression of Interest to start the process of becoming a New Zealand resident.

A job offer is usually required to meet the points threshold and to proceed to the next step of the visa application process, the actual Resident Visa Application.

Our Fusion Service will provide you with the support you will need to successfully complete this process.

be 56 years or under


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be 56 years or under


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The pathway to permanent residence under the Skilled Migrant Category is complex.

The resident visa application process formally consists of two main stages, the Expression of Interest and the actual Residence Visa Application.

In some cases an external assessment of the applicant's qualifications by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority will be necessary as well, and for certain professions registration with the professional body in charge might be required.

However, in practice the process of becoming a permanent resident under the SMC policy is a lot more complicated than that.

"NZIC guided me all the way through getting my first work visa to permanent residency. Their job seeking support was key when I first arrived in NZ, communication was always easy and clear. I'm very thankful for their help and definitely recommend their services."

The Residence Visa Application Process under the Skilled Migrant Category policy:

Stage 1: Expression of Interest (EOI)

The Expression of Interest is an online process.
In your online Expression of Interest, you will claim points for your qualifications, work experience, age etc. 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.

While the SMC policy states that the minimum requirement for submitting an EOI is at 100 points, the points score that is actually necessary for an Expression of Interest to be selected from the Pool has been set at 160.

This means that currently all Expressions of Interest with a points score of 160 or more will automatically be selected.

Expressions of Interest that have been successfully selected from the Pool will undergo a preliminary assessment, where Immigration New Zealand will check the credibility of the information provided by you in your EOI.

Only applicants who have successfully passed this stage, will then receive an Invitation to Apply for a Resident Visa.

Stage 2: Residence Application

All your documents and supporting evidence are submitted.
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.  
You will need a job in New Zealand:

Unless you can claim at least 160 points in your EOI, you will not be able to move to the next stage of your residence process, your Resident Visa Application. Most migrants will depend on finding a job in New Zealand to reach the 160 points threshold.

A job offer will entitle you to 50-110 points for your Expression on Interest, and probably lift you over the minimum points mark.

Again you are facing the Catch 22 dilemma: you need a job to apply for a visa - a job offer is a vital component of your immigration process.

You will need a work visa:

Once you have found a job, your New Zealand employer will expect you to be available to start working as soon as possible.

Your actual resident visa process will probably be in its very early stages at this point and you will therefore need to apply for a work visa to bridge the time until you will have obtained your resident visa.

A work visa will give you the legal right to start working in your new job while you are waiting for your residence process to be completed.  

Our Fusion Service:
A Holistic Approach to your Migration Journey

How NZIC can help you navigate the pathway to becoming a skilled migrant under the SMC policy?

Our Licensed Immigration Advisers and Job Search Professionals will manage this complex process together with you.

How our Licensed Immigration Advisers will manage your visa application process for you:

Your visa team will take care of the whole process, from start to finish, in most cases this follows a four step process:


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Our Fusion Service Strategy:

As migrant under the Skilled Migrant Category you will not only need a visa and a job, but you will also face the Catch 22 dilemma.

To empower you to reach your goal, a comprehensive job search strategy will become an integral part of your overall immigration strategy.

Our team of Licensed Immigration Advisers and Job Search Professionals will work hand in hand to align your visa process with your job hunt, based on your professional

Our Fusion Service strategy will include your job search, your resident visa and a work visa application.

Your immigration strategy will be your guideline for the coming months, and it will be important to follow each step in the prescribed manner.

We will refer back to it throughout the process to ensure that you will stay on track with making the desired progress towards your goal of becoming a New Zealand resident.


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Documents and Guidelines:

Meticulous preparation will ensure that all necessary paperwork is complete and all documents are available in the required format.

In order to optimise your visa process and work for you as efficiently as possible, we will collate and prepare all necessary documentation for your visa application right at the beginning of your migration journey.

A lot of this work can be done before you arrive in New Zealand, and we recommend that you commence working with our team well ahead of your arrival in New Zealand.  

This will put us in a position where we are able to submit your visa application to Immigration New Zealand as soon as you fulfil all visa eligibility requirements.

Your New Zealand employer will expect you to be available to start working with them as soon as possible.

To achieve this, it is important to be document ready and avoid any delays caused by queries coming back from INZ.


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Your Job Hunt in New Zealand:

Most migrants will need to be able to claim points for skilled employment in New Zealand in their EOI in order to reach the current points threshold of 160.

The consequence of this points requirement is that you will not be able to proceed with your residence application unless you have found a job and are in a position to successfully complete this step of the process!

Working with our Job Search Professionals will vastly improve your chances of finding a job and moving on to the next step of your immigration process.

Our Job Search Program is designed to prepare you for your job hunt and actively support you throughout your job hunt.

It helps you understand the NZ workplace, access New Zealand's Hidden Job Market, teaches interview skills and provides CV training, tailoring and preparation.

An important component of our Fusion Service: Your Job Search Professional will not only actively work with you on finding a job, but also liaise closely with your Licensed Immigration Adviser to ensure that positions you apply for will meet complex visa requirements.


Employer Liaising and Work Visa:

Working with a Licensed Immigration Adviser during your job search can lower potential employer resistance.

While our Job Search Professionals will support you with finding a job that suits your professional background, our Licensed Immigration Advisers will support your job hunt by offering to assist your potential New Zealand employer with the necessary work visa requirements.

Your Licensed Immigration Adviser will endorse your visa eligibility and communicate with potential employers to discuss visa requirements, including advice on Labour Market Testing.

Once the job offer is attained, the employer will likely expect you to start working as soon as possible.

As the residence application will take several months to complete, we can arrange to apply for a temporary work visa to enable you to work in New Zealand during the residence process.

By the end of this step you will be able to live and work in New Zealand temporarily.


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Expression of Interest:

You are now ready to continue on your pathway to permanent residence.

In line with your immigration strategy your Licensed Immigration Adviser is now confident that you will reach the necessary points score for your Expression of Interest, and have a realistic chance for your EOI to be selected.  

We will submit your Expression of Interest, EOI.

A successful outcome of this step can be expected within two weeks after submission: Your Expression of Interest will be selected!

We strongly advise clients not to submit an EOI until absolutely confident that it will be selected in the subsequent selection, as it will lead to disappointment and frustration if it will eventually be removed from the pool.

Check our Points Guide for an initial assessment, or ask us for a Free Assessment of your chances to confirm that you will qualify before you submit your EOI.


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The Verification Process:

Once your EOI has been selected from the pool, Immigration New Zealand undertakes a first verification of the points claimed by you in your EOI.

Any inconsistencies with your points claims, i.e. points claimed for non-relevant work experience or lack of qualification recognition, will result in queries from Immigration New Zealand and will then have to be rectified.

This can be quite stressful and your process might end here if your points claim does not add up with Skilled Migrant Category policy requirements.

It is essential to check your points eligibility well ahead of submitting your EOI to avoid being rejected at this stage of the process.

If Immigration New Zealand can be convinced that you are eligible for the points claimed in your Expression of Interest, you will receive your Invitation to Apply for Residence.


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Your Residence Visa Process:

Once you have received your Invitation to Apply for Residence, you can finally apply for your Permanent Resident Visa!

All your documents and other supporting evidence are in place well ahead of time, and ready to be submitted to Immigration New Zealand to provide the necessary evidence for all points claimed in your Expression of Interest.

Your Licensed Immigration Adviser will complete your residence application, ensure that all formalities are observed, and submit your application to Immigration New Zealand for you and all family members included.

Your Licensed Immigration Adviser will liaise with Immigration New Zealand on your behalf and take care of any queries and correspondence for you.  

On approval of your application, your residence visa is granted!


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You are now the holder of a Permanent Resident Visa for New Zealand!
You have made it through this long and multi-layered process of becoming a permanent resident!

Getting here was a huge effort and we congratulate you on staying with it and not giving up!

We hope that our support has helped you reaching your goal of living in New Zealand, and that you will enjoy our beautiful country as much as we do!

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Very pleased and satisfied with the service we received from NZIC. They assisted me and my family from start to finish. Always willing to assist, and communicated our progress every step of the way. With their assistance we managed to obtain permanent resident visa status.

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“In contrast to another Immigration consultancy that we contacted, your company offered a free webinar and an assessment, warm, approachable staff that communicates openly with potential customers. I found your website and it was very detailed and informative. I understand that your company is a fee for services provider, but that has not been conveyed as a prerequisite during the decision making process.”

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At first, Maj kindly explained the whole process and what to expect. I was coached and introduced to New Zealand job market by their Job Search team, and getting assistance until I got a job in the country. The Visa team would also follow me up on my pending documents, so I never felt left out. Truly recommended for those seeking out an option to live in New Zealand. Big thanks from me and my whole family for things NZIC did for us..!

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NZIC helped me in my way to get a Visa and job search. They were always available to talk to and were open to all sorts of questions. No matter how random they were. Very friendly staff. And even when they had changes in employee and advisors, they always stayed professional and up to date. I can only say good things and recommend them highly.