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  • January 27, 2016

What is a Skilled Migrant Category Visa?

New Zealand Skilled Migrant Category Visas are residency visa, which may be used to eventually attain a Permanent Residency in New Zealand.

The Skilled Migrant Visa is one of the most sought-after New Zealand visas, and is often recognised for the “points system” used during the application.


All applicants for the Skilled Migrant Category Visa must be 55 or under, meet all necessary character requirements, speak English, and be of sound health.

If granted, the Skilled Migrant Category Visa can allow an applicant to live and work in New Zealand permanently, and grants to them benefits not available to holders of temporary visas, such as freedom to travel to and from New Zealand without further visas, eligibility to study in New Zealand, the ability to vote, and to receive state-funded health care and welfare.


The eligibility of an applicant to obtain a Skilled Migrant Category Visa in New Zealand is based on a points system, which awards applicants a “score” for their age, family already in New Zealand, skilled employment in New Zealand, job offers, work in skilled r future growth areas, qualifications, qualifications of their partners, and for settling in a region outside of Auckland.

The minimum points required for an application is 100 points, although exceeding the threshold does not guarantee acceptance.

Bonus Points

Applicants may be granted bonus points for meeting certain desirable thresholds and requirements, mainly around holding qualifications from New Zealand, or for qualifications in areas identified as having great value to New Zealand. However, if claimed, these bonus points will need to be backed with documentary evidence, and, in some cases, supported by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.


The process of applying and receiving a Skilled Migrant Category Visa consists of submitting an Expression of Interest with an estimated points score, waiting to be selected from a pool of applicants, examination of the Expression of Interest by Immigration New Zealand, issuance of an Invitation to Apply, and submission and processing of the Residence Application.

Next Step

As the Skilled Migrant Category Visa entails a time-consuming and closely scrutinised process, we advise any potential applicant to make an appointment with our Wellington immigration adviser to discuss their case. The recommendation is doubled for any applicants who wish to claim bonus points or points for qualifications in bonus sectors. We will help guide applicants to perfecting an application which balances the points score processing time, to help clients settle in New Zealand as quickly and easily as possible.


None of the above is intended or offered as personalized immigration advice.

If you require any immigration advice or consultation, please contact our Wellington immigration adviser as soon as possible.

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