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New Zealand Skilled Migrant Category

New Zealand Skilled Migrant Category allows all foreigners with essential skills to migrate and settle in New Zealand permanently.

This program is a points based scheme that allows you to work in New Zealand with access to complete Labour market. The SMC residence visa is granted for 24 months initially and can be converted to a PR with ease after successfully settling in New Zealand. This is a family visa where you are eligible to apply for your spouse and dependent children for a residence along with your application. You can get your Citizenship after 5 years following your New Zealand residence status.


New Zealand has a modern, prosperous and developed market economy. New Zealand was ranked the 3rd “most developed” country in 2010 according to the United Nations Development Programme. New Zealand is heavily dependent on international trade

New Zealand is a predominantly urban country, with 72 percent of the population living in 16 main urban areas and 53 percent living in the four largest cities of Wellington (capital city), Auckland, Christchurch, and Hamilton. New Zealand cities generally rank highly on international liveability measures.

Skilled migrant category Residence visa

Skilled migrant category visa is the residence visa granted for skilled professionals with intent to settle permanently in New Zealand.

To apply under the Skilled Migrant Category New Zealand, you must meet the basic requirements. You need to be aged 55 or under. You also have to meet the NZ standards of health, character, and English language proficiency before you start the process.

Resident visas and Job Search visas

If they feel that the applicant has the ability to settle in NZ successfully contributes to New Zealand, and they will offer you a resident visa.

If they feel you have the potential, but want to see how you settle, they can give you a job search visa, based on which you can use to help obtain an offer of skilled employment in New Zealand for up to nine months. If you obtain skilled employment in this time you will have shown your ability to settle and contribute, and your residence application will be approved by the department. The applicants who meet the requirements of skilled employment or Job offer or studies from New Zealand will be considered as meeting the ability to settle in NZ successfully, all other applications will be assessed to check if they meet the ability to settle and can be decided accordingly whether to grant a residence visa or job search visa.

The SMC Job Search visa is an opportunity to seek skilled employment in New Zealand. It is not a guarantee of work, a job offer, or of residence. Immigration New Zealand advises against the sale of assets, the termination of children’s schooling, and the shipping of household items to New Zealand until an applicant’s residence status is fully approved.You must also carry enough funds while travelling to New Zealand towards your stay and other expenses, if you were granted a Job search visa.

Residence visa granted will allow you work and settle in NZ for at least 24 months and travel indefinitely. After completing 24 months you will be eligible to apply for a Permanent resident visa considering you were a resident for a total of 184 days or more in each of the two 12-month portions of the 24 months immediately preceding the permanent resident visa application. You do not have to provide any extra evidence, other than your passport(s).

Citizenship: You need to have, lived in legally in New Zealand for five years (formerly three years) before applying for citizenship, depending on when you were granted residence.


An applicant must meet at least 100 points to get automatically selected from the pool , where the selection process will be held every fortnight.

Points can be granted on various factors like Age, skilled employment or Job offer from NZ, recent work experience in an occupation as per Long-term skills shortage list, Spouse Job offer, Spouse qualifications, Family or close relatives in New Zealand.

Application process:

Basic Requirements to apply

To apply under the Skilled Migrant Category New Zealand, you must meet the basic requirements. You need to be aged 55 or under. You also have to meet the NZ standards of health, character, and English language proficiency before you start the process.

Expression of Interest

This is the first step towards making an application. If you qualify and meet the required threshold points of 100-140, you can submit an Expression of Interest (EOI), in which you claim points for skills, experience, and other factors.

EOI pool and the pool draw

If you have claimed 100 points or more on your EOI, it goes into the Pool. Every fortnight, all EOIs over 140 points are automatically selected for an invitation to apply. After this, lower scoring EOIs with certain factors, such as skilled employment in New Zealand, are selected.

All non selected application can still remain in the pool for at least 6 months and can be sent invitations based on the requirement. If you are not receiving a response within the 6 months of application made date your application is considered as ceased.

Invitation to Apply

Once your EOI is drawn from the pool, NZ will examine it and if they find it credible, you will be send an Invitation to Apply (ITA). You will have to show proof of the claims made on your EOI. This means medical and police certificates, proof of English language ability, and documentation regarding your skills, experience, and other factors.

The application form sent along with the invitation contains the information that you provided in your EOI. You will check the information and return back with the documents in support of the claims made in the application.

The SMC residence application will be assessed based on the date the application is made towards residence visa. So, one must ensure that though the EOI is approved the same criteria remains and you are eligible for all the claimed points even at the time of visa application made.

Full assessment

The application for a residence visa must be made anytime within the 4 months from the date of invitation received in response to the EOI submitted.

Once they receive your application and documents towards the residence visa, they will start assessing your application for residence.

They shall assess you on your ability to settle in New Zealand successfully and they can also interview you if required.


Stages Online Application Paper Application
EOI NZ$ 510 NZ$ 650
Qualification Assessment (if required)*    
Pre Assessment NZ$ 138  
Full Assessment NZ$746  
Fee towards Application for Residence   USD 1970
Migrant Levy**    
For applicants aged five and over   NZ$310
For Applicants below the age of five   NZ$155

* New Zealand Qualification Assessment (if required):

If your qualifications are not listed in the recognized institutes exempted from assessment, you need a Pre-assessment result to file your EOI application and upon approval must get the International qualifications assessment completed.

** If there are more than four people included in a single application, the migrant levy is only payable by the four oldest family members.

Process Time:

Evaluation: 48 hours

New Zealand Authorities Process Time(EOI application) : 20-30 days after EOI pool draw.

New Zealand Authorities Process Time(Residence visa application-SMC) :12 -24 months

NZQA Pre Assessment: NZ$138, Process time will be 20-30 days.

NZQA Full Assessment: NZ$746, Process time: 35 to 40 days.

Benefits for NZ Permanent residents:

Most permanent residents are eligible to become citizens after a waiting period of 5 years residence. Permanent residents enjoy many of the rights and privileges of citizens, including voting and access to free or subsidized legal and health services and education.

  • Benefits of permanent resident status include:
  • Unrestricted rights to live, work and study in New Zealand.
  • Right to apply for New Zealand citizenship after fulfilling normal residence requirements.
  • Domestic fees for education.
  • Right to sponsor relatives for permanent residence, subject to fulfilling residence criteria and assurance of support requirements.
  • Children born inside New Zealand will be New Zealand citizens by birth.
  • Right to access medical and social security benefit.


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For further details, please Contact Us or you can e-mail us on consult@y-axis.com. One of our representatives will get back to you at the earliest.