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Obtaining the Skilled Migrant Visa for New Zealand


Aaron Martin


September 29, 2021


03:44 AM

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Skilled Migrant Residence Visa Applications

If you have skills, qualifications or experience that New Zealand needs you may be able to apply for a resident visa under the Skilled Migrant Category.

The Skilled Migrant Category is a points system based on factors such as age, work experience, your qualifications, and an offer of skilled employment. You must also be aged 56 or under, and meet English language, health, and character requirements.

  • Check you meet the requirements and calculate your points
Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI)
  • Note the fees and offices information
  • Submit an EOI online
Receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA)
  • If you have 160 points or more you’ll be selected from the Expression of Interest pool and may be sent an Invitation to Apply
Submit a resident application
  • Note the fees and offices information
  • Submit your resident application
Receive your visa
  • If successful, you will be issued a resident visa, provided your application includes a job offer from a New Zealand employer.
  • If your application does not have a job offer you will be invited to seek a 9 month open work visa to be able to enter New Zealand to find a skilled job offer. You will need to find a skilled job in that time frame to conclude your residence application and have a resident visa issued.

Can I include my family in this application?

Yes, for this visa, you can include your partner, and dependent children aged 24 and under, in your residence application at no further cost.

How much will it cost?

The EOI process costs $530 for the online form.

On the EOI form you provide lots of information about yourself, and your family, including occupation, qualifications and English language skills, which you are then awarded points for.

If your EOI is successful, then the application for the Skilled migrant visa is between $1890 to $2480 depending on what country of origin you are applying from.

INZ also charges a $830 levy to every skilled Migrant visa application.

In summary:

If you are already based in New Zealand the fees including the Levy would be:

  • Online EOI application: $530
  • Visa application (including levy): $2710

If you are applying from the Pacific, the fee cost is:

  • Online EOI application: $530
  • Visa application (including levy): $2440

For an application from anywhere else in the world the fee cost is:

  • Online EOI application: $530
  • Visa application (including levy): $3310

With the fees at these rates it makes sense to get your application checked for eligibility by a professional to ensure you have the best chance of success!

How long does the process take?

Once you submit your EOI it goes into a pool of applications awaiting processing. The time it takes to be assessed depends on the caseload of (INZ) but on average should be no more than 2 weeks.

If your EOI is selected, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will complete a preliminary assessment of the information you provided and they may invite you to apply for residence. You will be given four months to lodge the residency application from the date you receive your Invitation to Apply (ITA). You send Immigration New Zealand your application and supporting documents along with the INZ application fee. Then the processing of the application starts. The length of time this takes depends on many factors but on average will take 8-13 months.

In general, if an application has no errors or incomplete information and provides all documentation in a manner that fits the INZ requirements then this application is more likely to be processed faster.

So, when would you need our help?

In our experience the Skilled Migrant Category produces a significant number of unsuccessful EOIs simply due to applicants not fully understanding and completing the paperwork. We know that inexperience and incomplete information will lead to a failed application. One common mistake we find is that many clients provide a generic job description that doesn’t adequately explain what your role is in a context that INZ can accept. Another common problem is people calculate themselves as having bonus points which they do not qualify for.

With so much at stake, why risk getting it wrong doing it on your own? Our immigration law experts can offer you a clear pathway to make the right decisions and apply under the correct criteria. We provide assistance in building a case to supplement your application and can also help you clarify your application to make it easy for Immigration New Zealand to make a decision about your suitability. Your visa application to realise your dream of moving to New Zealand is too important to risk making mistakes. Let us make sure it’s all correct and take away the stress of the process.

Learn more about the Skilled Migrant Visa and living and working in New Zealand.

Aaron Martin is one of New Zealand’s most highly regarded practitioners in immigration law, with decades of experience in assisting private individuals, business, and corporate clients. Skilled in evaluating complex cases, ministerial intervention, appeals, and character or medical waivers.

Connect with Aaron today and dig-deeper into relevant topics for relocating to New Zealand.

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