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Skilled Migrant Information

The following information provides a general overview of Skilled Migrant Category policy. Please note that this information does not replace or constitute immigration advice from a licensed immigration adviser.

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Skilled Migrant Policy


For people with skilled job offers from New Zealand employers, the "Skilled Migrant Category" is a pathway to residence. Applicants are given points based on their education, work experience, job offers, and personal characteristics. Those "points" are then compared against a fortnightly "Pass Mark".

Depending on what annual targets the government sets, the Pass Mark can change. There could be several reasons for this, including how many applicants have already been approved that year and how many applicants are achieving certain "points" in the current draw. 

Skilled Employment

A successful Skilled Migrant application requires an offer of skilled employment in New Zealand.


It is crucial that the job offer meets certain minimum requirements, including:

  • Pay rate at or above the median wage

  • Full-time and permanent

  • Compliance with New Zealand employment law

  • Assessed by Immigration NZ as a skilled job offer.

First Steps

The "Expression of Interest" ("EOI") is a preliminary filter used to ensure the number of skilled migrant visa applicants does not exceed available spaces.

Payment of a fee and entry of key personal data are completed online without the need for verification or detailed documentation. An "Invitation to Apply" ("ITA") is issued if an "EOI" meets the pass mark of the fortnightly selection.

Even though receiving an "ITA" is normally cause for celebration, it is not the end of the journey. It is still the applicant's responsibility to comply with all the small-print requirements and provide documents that support the claims in the EOI and the application for residence.

Many applicants believe they understand what certain requirements mean, only to find Immigration New Zealand's interpretation of those words differs greatly from their own.

What To Be Aware Of

All family members will also be required to submit documents verifying their identity and relationship. Each person associated with the application will have their medical and character histories closely examined.

Job offers in New Zealand are carefully examined to ensure that they meet the government's high standards. Many applications are declined because they fail to meet these strict thresholds.

A skilled employment offer is critical to a successful application under this category. Employment is difficult to secure while overseas unless a New Zealand employer needs a particular skill that is not readily available here.

General Comments

Over $10 million dollars is wasted every year in failed applications by DIY applicants who believe or assume they are entitled to points.


Taking proper advice pays off.

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