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Your Skilled Migrant Visa and the Catch 22

Find out why your skilled migrant visa will depend on you having a job offer from a New Zealand employer, what that means for you, and how our powerful Fusion Service will help you solve the Catch 22 dilemma.

The Challenge

Most individuals looking to migrate long-term will need a NZ job offer

Whether applying for a work visa or a residence visa under the Skilled Migrant Policy, most migrants are required to obtain an offer of skilled employment in New Zealand.

Job advertisements however state; “only candidates who have the legal right to work in New Zealand may apply.”

Combating this ‘catch 22 dilemma’ is at the core of the entire immigration process and the success of the migration process will depend on the individual ability to overcome this hurdle.

Why a job offer in New Zealand is the key to your Work and Resident Visas:

Catch 22 Icon: You will need a job offer to secure both your work visa, and your residence visa

Work Visa Requirements (Essential Skills)

If you want to work in New Zealand, you will need a work visa.

In your visa application you have to prove to Immigration New Zealand that all of the following requirements are met:

Skills and Experience

You have the necessary skills and experience to work in the position offered to you.



If professional registration is required for you to work in your profession in New Zealand.


Labour Market Test

Your employer must demonstrate that no New Zealander can be found to do the job, before offering it to you.


New Zealand Job Offer

You have a job offer for full-time employment from a New Zealand employer.

If any of these requirements are not fulfilled, your work visa application will be declined by Immigration New Zealand.

For you this means that you cannot even lodge your work visa application unless you have a job offer from a New Zealand employer.

Your visa application will be rejected by Immigration New Zealand, before a visa officer will even assess your skills and professional background.

Residence Visa Requirements (Skilled Migrant Category)

To be eligible for a Skilled Migrant Category Residence Visa you must meet the following minimum requirements:


You must have an acceptable standard of health



You must be of good character.



You must have proven English language capabilities.



You must be under the age limit of 56 years.


Minimum Points

You must have a minimum points score

However, even if you meet all of the above minimum requirements and reach the minimum points score of 6 points, this will unfortunately not automatically allow you to even start your residence visa process under the Skilled Migrant Category policy.

Why does a points score of 6 not guarantee you a visa?

The visa application process under the Skilled Migrant Category consists of two stages: The Expression of Interest followed by the Resident Visa application.

The Expression of Interest, EOI, stage is based on a points system, which is managed depending on New Zealand's projected demand for skilled migrants.

As the interest in New Zealand usually outweighs the demand for migrants, only applicants with the highest points scores can expect for their EOI to be selected and to subsequently be allowed to submit their Resident Visa application.

How many points do you really need for your EOI to be selected?

The latest selections have shown that the number of Expressions of Interest in the pool on the day of the selection surpassed New Zealand's projected capacity for SMC resident visa applications by far.

As a consequence only EOIs with a points score of 160 or more were selected, and only those candidates were invited to apply for a Resident Visa for New Zealand.

After all it is realistic to assume that you will need at least 160 points in order for your Expression of Interest to be successfully selected, once the current Covid related halt in Selections is being lifted and regular two-weekly selections are back.

Your Expression of Interest

For your Expression of Interested to be selected from the Pool you need at least 160 points.

Unless you can claim points for a job offer, your EOI will not be successful.

Check out how many points you will be able to score in your EOI: Look up our Self-Assessment/Points Guide

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

What does this mean for you?

Unfortunately the reality is that hardly anybody can claim 160 points in their Expression of Interest right at the start.

A New Zealand job offer will get you through!

An offer of skilled employment in New Zealand will entitle you to 50-110 points!

If your partner has a job offer too, that will give you 20 additional points for your Expression of Interest.

It is absolutely realistic to assume that a job offer will lift you well over the 160 points threshold for your Expression of Interest once you have found a job in New Zealand.

But how can you find a job if you do not have a visa?

You will probably find it difficult to get a job offer as long as you do not have a visa yet.

As you have seen, you cannot obtain a visa unless you have a job, but on the other side you will also find it very difficult to get a job as long as you do not have your visa yet.

Employer hesitation, job board formalities, electronic filtering systems and other hurdles will make your job search difficult.

Whether you are responding to job listings on the internet or talking to employers or recruiters, you will come across comments like: "Only visa holders may apply" or "Please come back once you have obtained your work visa".

You find yourself in a classical Catch 22:

"A dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions."

Feedback from our Licensed Immigration Advisers:

"It is highly unlikely that anybody can reach the current minimum score of 160 unless points can be claimed for an offer of skilled employment.

As long as you do not have an offer of employment, your Expression of Interest will not be selected from the Pool, and you will not receive an Invitation to Apply for a Residence Visa.

You are caught in the Catch 22 Dilemma."

The Solution:

Our Fusion Service - A holistic approach to your immigration process.

Visa and Job Search Service from under one umbrella.

At NZIC we look at the full picture when approaching your migration to New Zealand. Together our Visa Service and our Job Search Service will provide you with a powerful tool that will allow you to break through the Catch 22 wall: Our Fusion Service.

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NZIC was a great help in getting my family and I to New Zealand.  Anna was worth her weight in gold. In the end, I got a great job in a great city.  Carsten and his team were very thorough and helpful when it came time to apply for and get our visas. They are now helping us with our resident visas, and I'm certain that the process will be the same.  I'd recommend them highly.

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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.

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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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