For many applicants, the Skilled MIgrant Residency Visa will be the way to gain permanent residency in New Zealand. However, for those who may have applied for a student or work visa, it can be a complicated process. It is an application which will often require legal assistance, even if it is to help make sure that all of the steps are correctly met. However, to give you an idea of what is required, here are the basic steps.

Expression of Interest (EOI)

  • The first step is the application of an EOI. This is completed online through the Immigraiton New Zealand website.
  • The EOI is based on a point scale, with points awarded for various items, such as age (there is an age limit), work experience, qualifications etc. The applicant needs 160 points. Anything less than 160 points will not be drawn.
  • Previously we have discouraged including additional items over 160 points, as they would provide no benefit (unless such items were easily proved). However, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) are now prioritising processing of application with higher points, so there is a benefit.
  • It is important to know that, should you need to provide an english language certificate, it needs to have been obtained BEFORE the EOI application is made.
  • EOI applications are drawn every second Wednesday.
  • Once drawn, applicants will receive an email starting the next step, the ITA, in anything from one to four weeks later.

Invitation to Apply (ITA)

  • The ITA will arive from INZ once the EOI has been drawn and processed.
  • The ITA begins the start of the actual application. This is done in paper form, not online. Therefore any documents that need to be provided need to be originals or certified copies of the originals.
  • You will have four months from the ITA email being received to make the actual application. There is no extensions allowed. If the application is not received in that four months then the ITA to expire.
  • During the ITA process, either before the applicaiton is made or while it is being processed, you will be able to apply for a one year Essential Skills Work Visa. The purpose of this is to allow you to remain in New Zealand while the ITA is being processed.
  • As at the date of this article, we are looking at a six month time before applications are being processed.
  • As with all residency visas, INZ will be looking at the application carefully. It is highly likely that they will discuss the applicaiton and your employment with your employer. For that reason, it is important that your employment agreement correctly shows the tasks you undertake at work. It is also important that these substantially match those in ANZSCO, the definition of roles that INZ uses.
  • As with all long term visas, there are requirements for health and character.
  • Applications can also include partners and dependant children. They will also have health requirements, and, for the adults, will need to meet character and english level requirements.
  • Once granted, permanent residency can be obtained in two years, and citizenship three years after that.

A Skilled Migrant Residency Application may be the best application to help you remain in New Zealand permanently. For that reason it is an application that we recommend people obtain assistance with. We can also provide you with other options if you are not eligible for this visa type, or if there is an easier option.