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.
Over the last month, we have been confirming further policy products and settings that will be impacted once the new Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa comes into effect. With a week to go before Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa applications open, we wanted to take the time to remind you of everything that is changing, and what this means for you if you wish to apply.
What is changing?
Come 9 October, applicants who wish to apply for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa will need to meet one of the following:
Occupational registration (where an occupation has a regulated registration, licensing, or certification scheme in NZ and full registration requires at least 2 years of formal training or experience)
A Bachelor’s degree or higher level qualification, or
A skilled job earning at least 1.5 x median wage in New Zealand
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, we have also recently confirmed further changes to other policy settings that are impacted with the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa opening on 9 October 2023.
An overview of these changes is outlined in the next section.
Changes to interim visas and variations of conditions
A new interim visa for Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa resident visa applications will be implemented on 9 October 2023. This is an additional offering to visa holders on the path to residence, removing the requirement for Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa resident visa applicants to renew their temporary visa while they are awaiting the outcome of their application. These changes also apply to dependents and partners of Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa applicants.
Applicants who transfer onto a Skilled Migrant Category Interim Visa will also receive multiple entry travel conditions, allowing them to leave New Zealand and return on the same interim visa while it is valid.
There will also be a pathway to allow Skilled Migrant Category Interim Visa holders to vary some conditions of their interim visa conditions. These changes have been made to provide more certainty for applicants and will allow them to vary the conditions of their interim visa if their circumstances change.
Eligibility for Skilled Migrant Category Interim Visa variation of conditions (VOCs) will be based on the conditions of the interim visa held and the situation of the applicants. This means that not all people with the same interim visa conditions will have the same VOC pathway. The cost to vary the conditions of a visa is $210.
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:
a review of the existing list
removal of qualifications which do not meet the requirements of the new Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa
compiling quality assured, approved, accredited and relevant qualifications that meet the requirements, and
the addition of ‘qualification type’ to all qualifications on the list.
The first phase of the review was implemented on 29 September and includes the following 7 countries:
United States of America
Further phases of the review will see more countries and qualification types added to the list. Source: Immigration New Zealand