From 9 October 2023, there will be changes to the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa. These changes will see a simplified points system coming into effect that sets a clear skills threshold for residence and offers several ways for people to demonstrate their skill level. Under the new system, applicants will need six points to be granted residence.
What is changing?
From 9 October, applicants who wish to apply for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa will need to meet one of the following:
If applicants do not gain enough points through one of these skill pathways, they will need to gain additional points through having skilled work experience in New Zealand. All applicants will need a skilled job offer in New Zealand, and most applicants will be required to spend time working in New Zealand before becoming eligible for residence.
Under the new settings, there will be no cap on the number of people who can gain residence if they meet the skills threshold. This, along with simpler settings, means applicants can expect faster decision times (where complete information is provided to Immigration New Zealand). Employers can continue to bring skilled workers to New Zealand on a temporary work visa, such as the Accredited Employer Work Visa, or employ migrants on other work visas such as the Working Holiday Visa, even if they do not meet the residence criteria.
In addition to the above changes, INZ has also recently confirmed further changes to other policy settings that are impacted with the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa opening on 9 October 2023, such as changes to interim visas and variations of conditions.
Changes to the List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment
Changes to the List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment (LQEA) were made ahead of the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa opening, as well as the Work to Residence (WtR) category opening. The update was part of a wider review of the LQEA to ensure it is fit for purpose for use with the new Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa.
The review is being carried out in phases, and includes:
The first phase of the review was implemented on 29 September and includes the following 7 countries: