Self-Assessment | Points Guide

Can you apply for a Resident Visa under the Skilled Migrant Category?

Our Self-Assessment tool will give you all the information you need for a quick first check of your chances of migrating under this policy.

Do you qualify for a Skilled Migrant Resident Visa for New Zealand?

- Do you meet the minimum requirements of this policy?
- Use our Points Guide to calculate your maximum points score.
- How many points you will really need for your Expression of Interest?
- Ask our Licensed Immigration Advisers for a professional assessment to confirm your self-assessment result.
be 55 years or under
be of good character
acceptable standard of health
have english language capabilities
reach a minimum of 100 points

The minimum requirements of the SMC

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

  • You must be under the age limit of 56 years
  • You must be of good character
  • You must have an acceptable standard of health
  • You must have proven English language capabilities
  • You must reach a minimum points score of 100

How many points can you claim in your EOI?

Points Guide:

Points for Skilled Employment

>
Current skilled employment or offer of skilled employment in New Zealand
50

Bonus points for skilled employment or offer of skilled employment

In a region outside of Auckland
+30
Partner's skilled employment or offer of skilled employment in New Zealand
+20
High remuneration
+20

Points for Skilled Work Experience

>
2 years
10
4 years
20
6 years
30
8 years
40
10 years or more
50

Bonus points for skilled work experience

1 year or more of work experience gained in New Zealand
+10
2 to 5 years of work experience in an area of absolute skills shortage
+10
6 years or more of work experience in an area of absolute skills shortage
+15

Points for Recognised Qualifications

>
Level 3 qualification (if included in the List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment)
40
Level 4-6 qualification
40
Level 7-8 qualification
50
Level 9-10 qualification
70

Bonus points for Qualifications

Two years of full-time study in New Zealand completing a recognised New Zealand Bachelor degree (level 7)
+10
One year of full-time study in New Zealand completing a recognised post-graduate New Zealand qualification
+10
Two years of full-time study in New Zealand completing a recognised post-graduate New Zealand qualification
+15
Partner's level 7-8 qualification
+10
Partner's level 9-10 qualification
+20

Points for Age

20-39 years
30
40-44 years
20
45-49 years
10
50-55 years
5

If you have already reached the age limit of the Skilled Migrant Category, you might still be able to apply for a resident visa for New Zealand. Let us know if you would like to find out more.

Do you reach the minimum points score of 100?

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

However, will this guarantee you that your EOI will be selected and you will be able to move to the next stage of the visa application process?

Unfortunately not. The interest in migration to New Zealand exceeds New Zealand's capacities for accepting migrants by far and the competition among skilled migrants is strong.  

The reality is that you now need at least 160 points for your Expression of Interest to be selected from the pool of competing EOIs.

Gif showing the need for a job offer and animation of EOI selection pool with most successful cases needing a job offer

What will it really take for your EOI to be successful?

As a result of the growing interest in New Zealand Immigration New Zealand has determined that only candidates who can demonstrate a high level of settlement capacity will now qualify to become permanent residents.

Rather than the minimum of 100 points stipulated in the SMC policy, you now need 160 points.

But what does this mean in practice? What will it typically take for you to be eligible for a points score of at least 160?

To gain a better understanding, you might want to take a closer look at the most recent selection of Expressions of Interest under the Skilled Migrant Category, published by Immigration New Zealand on 18 March 2020:  

"684 Expressions of Interest with a total of 160 or more points have been selected.
These Expressions of Interest will undergo preliminary verification to determine if an invitation to apply for residency will be issued."

Latest selection details show that of those 684 successfully selected Expressions of Interest, 615 candidates had a job offer in New Zealand, and only 69 candidates were able to reach the necessary points score of 160 points without having to claim points for a job offer in New Zealand.

These numbers confirm what we experience in our practice: Most candidates will need a job offer for their EOI to be successful.

Candidates who did not claim at least 160 points in their EOI will remain in the pool for 6 months before their EOI will ultimately be rejected.

615

Successful EOIs with a Job Offer in New Zealand

69

Successful EOIs without a Job Offer in New Zealand

The typical consistency of the pool on selection day

Another way of looking at this is by looking at all EOIs that are in the pool on the day of a selection:

- Only about half of all Expressions of Interest in the pool were successfully selected;
- The vast majority of successful candidates had claimed points for a job in New Zealand;
- Only 5% of all EOI candidates where successful without claiming points for a job;
- Nearly half of all EOIs in the pool were not be successful. 

While the numbers of EOIs in the pool can change from one fortnight to another, the proportions of the outcome generally remain the same.

graphic of need for job offer, with most successful EOIs in the latest selection needing a job offer

Do you calculate 160 points or more for your EOI?

Great! You might be able to claim enough points for your Expression of Interest and have a realistic chance to be selected.

However, the Points System is a lot more complicated than it might appear at first sight.

Nearly half of all EOIs in the pool will not be successful.

The Points System is complicated

The points system of the Skilled Migrant Category is more complicated than it might appear at first glance and far reaching errors occur when it comes to establishing whether qualifications, work experience and job offers really match up and qualify for the necessary points.

The skill shortage lists give you a good indication if you want to find out whether: you can claim bonus points for your Expression of Interest, you can fast-track your work visa, or your profession is in high demand in the New Zealand job market

What happens if you claim too many points in your EOI?

If you accidentally claim more points than you are actually entitled to, your migration process will come to an early end. This might happen at any stage of the process:

Any of these setbacks will throw you back many month, as you will have to submit a new Expression of Interest and start your migration process again from the beginning.

Our advice is very clear: Ask our Licensed Immigration Adviser to double check that your points claim is correct, before submitting your Expression of Interest.

Claiming too many points in your EOI is just as detrimental to your residence process as not reaching the 160 points mark.

A strong argument: You can claim 50-110 points if you have a job offer in New Zealand!

As we have shown, the majority of successful EOIs were claiming points for a job offer in New Zealand.

A job in New Zealand will be one of the most powerful tools for the success of your residence process:

An offer of skilled employment will entitle you to 50 points. This could already lift you over the 160 points threshold for your EOI.

If your job is located outside of Auckland, in an area of absolute skill shortage and/or providing a high salary, you can claim up to 60 additional points.

A skilled job in New Zealand will entitle you to up to 110 points in addition to your points for your qualification and skilled work experience, with a potential of 20 additional points if your partner has a job too.

It is realistic to assume that a job offer will very likely catapult you way over the 160 points minimum score.

So what can you actually do to improve your chances?

While our Licensed Immigration Advisers will ensure that we will claim the maximum point score achievable for you in your EOI, a job offer in New Zealand will most probably make the deciding difference for you.

Our Job Search Professionals will provide you with their knowledge of the local job market, of job search techniques used and job search etiquette appropriate in New Zealand.

Partnering with our Job Search Professionals will give you the necessary tools and empower you to approach the job market in New Zealand in the best possible manner.

Working with them will ultimately enable you to claim those important extra points in your Expression of Interest.

Together our Licensed Immigration Advisers and our Job Search Professionals will make the deciding difference for your chances of successfully getting through the Expression of Interest stage on your way to your residence visa.

Read more about our Fusion Service and how it will improve your chances of becoming a resident.

covid icon

Due to the current Covid-19 epidemic Immigration New Zealand is deferring all selections of Expressions of Interests until further notice.  
Please note: Do not let this deter you from starting your migration process now.
Find out more: Covid-19 and your visa.

Our advice to you: Start working with our visa and job search teams now to make the most of the time before your arrival!

A lot of work can be done before the borders open.

  • Attend our Immigration and Job Hunt Webinar to get started
  • Develop your immigration strategy
  • Get document ready
  • Attend our pre-arrival Job Search Webinars
  • Get to know the job market
  • Work actively on becoming the best candidate you can be in the NZ job market
  • Start your job search process
  • Start networking with key players in your industry


We constantly monitor any changes in New Zealand's visa regulations and update our clients as we become aware of any updates that might affect the opening of the borders.

Ask us how you can get ready for your move now. We work with our clients on being ready for their move as soon as that will be feasible.

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INTERESTED IN MIGRATING to New Zealand?

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