New Zealand - Skilled Migration


New Zealand consists of two large islands, North Island and South Island.  It is situated some 900 miles or 1500Km south east, from Australia. The Maori were the first people to occupy New Zealand.  As an indigenous population, they still have a strong presence in modern New Zealand. The British took over New Zealand and it became part of the British Empire.  As in Australia, the Queen of Great Britain is still the official head of state in New Zealand, but power really lies with the New Zealand Prime Minister and Parliament.

  • What you should know about New Zealand Skilled Migration?

  • Point System

    New Zealand Skilled Migration

New Zealand consists of two large islands, North Island and South Island.  It is situated some 900 miles or 1500Km south east, from Australia. The Maori were the first people to occupy New Zealand.  As an indigenous population, they still have a strong presence in modern New Zealand. The British took over New Zealand and it became part of the British Empire.  As in Australia, the Queen of Great Britain is still the official head of state in New Zealand, but power really lies with the New Zealand Prime Minister and Parliament.

The climate in New Zealand is temperate. There are neither extremes of hot nor cold weather.

New Zealand is a very developed society. You usually find it has a high ranking in International league tables. An example of this is that New Zealand is currently third in the Index of Economic Freedom.

Agriculture has been an important part of the New Zealand economy.  This is especially true of dairy farming and sheep rearing. Exports are agricultural products are still a major element of the economy.

Tourism has been increasingly grown over the years. The movie series Lord of The Rings was filmed in New Zealand.

Now the service sector, along with mineral extraction and manufacturing, are growing sectors in the New Zealand economy.

Two British sports predominant in New Zealand, Rugby Union football and Cricket.  The “All Blacks”, the famous New Zealand Rugby Union team always starts a match with a Maori “haka,” or war dance. Both New Zealand Maori and Europeans and others of New Zealand extraction, play together in this formidable side.

This is an amazing and beautiful country full of a variety of different landscapes, along with birds and animals which are unique to New Zealand.

With the right help, combined with a good set of skills and qualifications, there is no reason why you should not find employment and become a resident in New Zealand.

The two largest cities in New Zealand are Auckland at the top of North Island and Christchurch in South Island. Wellington is the capital, which is found at the tip of North Island.  There are a number a number of other urban centers as well as extensive farmland and a range of beautiful mountains.


Skilled Migrant Category

This scheme is designed for anyone with the necessary experience, skills and qualifications who are interested in applying for a resident’s visa, using the Skilled Migrant Category.

The New Zealand Skilled Migration is based on a point system.  This looks at the following criteria:

  • age

  • work experience

  • offer of skilled employment

  • education


  • You must be 55 years old or younger.

You will need to meet the following requirements for:

  • English language

  • health

  • character (police checks etc)

There are 5 stages in getting a New Zealand Skilled Migration Category.   These are:

  • Self-Assessment: This means looking carefully at what is covered in the points tables. To start with, see if you are eligible over all. Evaluate your short comings and see what you can do about these. Then calculate your current points.

  • Submit Your Expression of Interest (EOI): This has to be filled out online. Be aware of the fees you will have to pay for this, and the offices you will have to deal with.

  • ITA Invitation to Apply: If you have gained 160 points or more overall, then you will be sent your invitation by the NZ Immigration. You will also have been selected from the EOI pool.

  • Submit a Residence Application:  A form will be sent to you.  This will have to be submitted and returned within 6 months. Again, be aware of the offices you will have to deal with and the fees you will have to pay.

  • You Receive the Visa: This could either be a Residence Visa or a Job Search Visa


Where Things Can Go Wrong
  • Qualifications that are not Recognized: You must have your international education qualifications recognized by the New Zealand International Qualifications Assessment (IQA)

  • You work Experience is not Comparable: This means that your work experience must match your qualifications and the work you are applying for in New Zealand.  If you do not have a job or a pending job offer, then your work experience should match work which could be available on the Long Term Skills Shortage List or for possibly an International Company.

  • Bonus Point Requirements are not always met: You have to look very carefully at the demanding requirements that are found on the Long Term Skill Shortage List. Bonus points can be missed for either or both, work experience and qualifications.

 To look now at the specific details:

Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa

Expression of Interest

You start the whole process by filling out an Expression of Interest (EOI). This will provide New Zealand immigration with information about your qualifications, work experience and how you will adapt to living in New Zealand. If you pass this stage, you will be given the chance to apply for work in New Zealand and work there permanently.  You need to be 55 or younger. You can also include your partner, as well any dependent children who are 24 or younger.


Expression of Interest (EOI) Points

This is a summary of the points you can gain from the New Zealand Expression of Interest application:


Skilled Employment

  • Currently employed and working in New Zealand for 12 months or more: 60 points.

  • Either an offer or skilled employment or you have been working in New Zealand for less than 12 months: 50 points.


Employment offer in:

  • An area of New Zealand identified for future growth: 10 points.

  • An area where there is an absolute shortage of skills: 10 points.

  • A region other than Auckland: 10 points.

  • Your partner of spouse is employed or has an employment offer: 20 points.


Work experience:

  • Maximum Points,10 years work experience: 30 points

  • Minimum Points, 2 years work experience: 10 points.


Bonus Points Gained from Work Experience

New Zealand Work Experience

  • One year 5 points.

  • Two years: 10 points.

  • Three years plus: 15 points.


Work Experience in a Future Growth Area

  • Two to Five years: 10 points.

  • Six years or more: 15 points.


Work Experience in an area of Real Skill Shortages

  • Two to five years: 10 points.

  • Six years or more:



  • A degree with honors, along with recognized trade and  apprenticeship qualifications:           50 points.

  • A Master’s degree or a Doctorate: 50 points.


Additional Qualification Bonus Points

  • Working towards a qualification for two years in New Zealand: 5 points.

  • Studying in New Zealand for two years for a recognized qualification: 5 points.

  • Have a recognized New Zealand post graduate qualification:   10 points.

  • Gained a qualification in a skilled shortage area: 10 points.

  • Gained a qualification in an area identified for future growth: 10 points.

  • Your spouse or partner qualifications: 20 points.


Close Family in New Zealand

  • Close Family in New Zealand: 10 points.


Taking the maximum points and minimum points:

  • Maximum points 20 – 29: 30 points.

  • Minimum points 50 – 55: 5 points .


Finding a Job

Looking through the points scores it is clear that it would be a very good idea to get your online job offer tentatively lined up, before stating your Expression of Interest EOI.

Employees are being encouraged to actively recruit abroad in New Zealand.   There are already strong links set up between New Zealand and the Philippines.  A careful check and review of what is potentially out there, would be a very good idea.

A quick tour around various web sites will show there are a lot of job opportunities going. However, it might be a better idea to take a more organized approach that will go a long way in guaranteeing finding permanent work in New Zealand.  This would be to find an experienced and trustworthy agency that can guide you through the New Zealand Skilled Migration visa process. This is especially the case is you have a specific set of skills and educational background.  Then you can get the “ball rolling” and you may well find a company or enterprise that is very interested in you.  This would make getting through the Expression of Interest EOI, a lot easier. Plus, this will also help you to get the necessary points score for eligibility and entry.

Official Online job links


Going to New Zealand first:

It would be an idea and an advantage, especially if you are keen to want to move to New Zealand permanently and find employment there, to visit the country first.  It would be wise to investigate and look into this. You can legally apply for employment in New Zealand to start with, but you will not be allowed to go and work in New Zealand, until your visa has been approved.

There are three short term options that can be looked at, temporary visas and holiday visas. Both of these might suit younger people, who have just graduated or completed a specific skills training course.

Temporary Visa.

This is designed for a short stay in New Zealand. If this goes well however, this could be a stepping stone for a permanent visa.

Working Holiday Visa.

This is an international visa system which enables young people, 18 – 30 or 18 -35, depending upon your home country, to spend a set period of time working in New Zealand.

Study Visas.

There are a number of different options available.  This way you will help improve your Expression of Interest EOI point score, and if successful, with the right course, line yourself up with the right qualifications and make contacts, that will go some way in helping you find skilled employed in New Zealand.


Visa Choices for New Zealand Skilled Migration

Long Term Skilled Shortage List

New Zealand, along with other countries, is especially concerned about two principal areas. skills shortages and moving skilled workers to certain key areas in the country, where they are needed.  A good employment agency would guide you through the available opportunities. There is a lot of information on line to help you with this as well.

For example, because of the recent major major earth quake in Canterbury, there are a lot of skilled job opportunities, especially in construction work. This would definitely help you getting a permanent work visa.

This is certainly something that would be worthwhile looking at in detail. If you meet this criteria plus of course all the other conditions, then there could be a good chance of finding long term employment and for you plus your family, to have permanent residency in New Zealand.

With a permanent New Zealand Skilled Migration Visa, you can work and live in New Zealand as well as study. You can also bring your spouse or partner with you, along with any dependent children, up to the age of 24.

Please Note:

For anyone who is self-employed or wants to set up a business in New Zealand, there is an Entrepreneur Visa.


Conditions for the New Zealand Skilled Migration visa.

There are a number of specific detailed conditions. Here are some examples:

  • You must be 55 or younger.

  • If you were give EOL points for working in Auckland, the job must be undertaken in the first 3 months, and you must stay in that job for at least 3 months.


There are a whole range of specialist employment visas available.  Again, a detailed look at the official New Zealand web sites will show you there are a very wide range of job opportunities that are there. Also, a good employment agency can steer you logically through all the different alternatives.



To go through the four important stages in obtaining your New Zealand Skilled Migration/Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa:


There is a selection pool.  From this, if you have s strong application, you will be invited to proceed further with your application.  The minimum Expression of Interest IOL points needed for this was 100, but now this has been set at 160 points.  It would have if you have at least made enquirers, better still made contact with a potential employer, and secured a possible job offer.  The EOL can either be sent as a paper document or online. Payment will be needed for this process.


Selection is made every two weeks. Based on your experience, education, age and qualifications, with the correct number of IOL points.  If you meet all the criteria, you will move onto the next stage.

3 Sending off the Application Form.

All the documentation that you used for the EOI would  be required for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa.  In addition, there is the need for checks made on the following:

  • Your health

  • Your general employability

  • Your character

  • Your ability to speak English.

Note: processing the visa can take up to 4 months. You will also need to pay a levy along with an immigration fee.

4 Final Decision.

This can take 6 months. There may be the need for further documentation and an interview in this time.

Additional Notes

English Test

The English test is an integral part of the Canadian and Australian points scheme. The New Zealand system is different, and a measure of your competency in the English Language comes at the end of the visa application process.

You need to have been taught English for a number of years at both Junior school and Secondary school.

There are a number of different educational systems that are acceptable. You need to check and see how the system in your country compares, by either using a competent Visa Immigration company of by getting in touch direct with New Zealand immigration. Alternatively contact a New Zealand Consulate or Embassy in your home country.  These are qualifications usually gained at the end of Secondary School of High School.

The qualification that is looked for will be the equivalent of one of the following examples:

  • General Certificate of Education G.C.S.E: minimum pass C in English (England)

  • International Baccalaureate:  Full diploma in the English medium

  • Cambridge Certificate of proficiency in English: minimum pass C

  • STMP 920 (Malaysia):  A or B pass in English Literature.


Failing this, if you have none of these qualifications, you need to show you have undertaken and got a qualification in an English as a Foreign Language Course.  The tests must have been taken within the last two years prior to the visa applications

There are a number of different courses that are acceptable.  These are some of the examples:



  • FCE

This must cover reading writing, listening and speaking.

Any dependent children, partner or spouse coming to New Zealand, will be expected to undertake special English classes when they arrive in New Zealand.


Medical Check

You may need an X ray.  This is primarily to check for TB (Tuberculosis) as well as certified medical documents.


Police Check

Official police check from each country you have resided in will also be needed. This will apply to your spouse or partner if they are coming to New Zealand.  Finger prints may also be needed.

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