PATHWAYS TO RESIDENCE FOR SKILLED MIGRANTS
To be eligible for residence, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- be 55 years old or younger.
- meet the English language requirements,
- meet standard health and character requirements for residence, and
- have a skilled job or job offer with an accredited employer.
There are now 3 main pathways to residence for skilled migrants to New Zealand:
- The Green List pathway is open to those in specialised, difficult-to-fill roles who meet specific eligibility criteria.
- The Skilled Migrant Category is open to those in skilled roles who are qualified or highly paid.
- The Sector Agreement Pathway allows transport sector and care workforce employees to gain residence.
The Green List pathway
The Green List contains a limited number of highly skilled roles that are in high demand globally and for which there is a shortage in New Zealand. These roles have registration, qualification, or experience requirements.
The list aims to fill the gaps in the NZ labour market and to better assist skilled migrants to gain permanent residence. The Green List also makes it easier for employers to hire and attract migrants for specified high-skilled, hard-to-fill occupations, with clear residence pathways for eligible people.
Depending on the role, a migrant may be eligible to apply for a Straight to Residence visa immediately or may need to work in a Green List role for 24 months before applying for a Work to Residence visa.
Green List, Straight to Residence
- Eligible roles include selected roles in Construction, Engineering, Health and Social Services, Primary Industries and Science and ICT, electronics and telecommunications.
- Applicants must have employment or an offer of employment from an accredited employer in an occupation on Tier 1 of the Green List and meet the specified requirements for the occupation.
- Offers must also be full-time (at least 30 hours per week), genuine, and permanent, or for a 12-month fixed-term contract. Under certain circumstances, independent contractors are also eligible.
- Straight to Residence applications can be made as soon as you receive an eligible job offer and you meet the Green List requirements.
Green List, Work to Residence
- Eligible roles include selected roles in Health and Social Services, Agriculture, and Trades
- Applicants must have employment or an offer of employment in an occupation in Tier 2 of the Green List and meet the specified requirements on the list for the occupation
- Applicants must have worked for 24 months in New Zealand in an occupation (and meet the specified requirements) in Tier 2 of the Green List.
- Work to Residence applications can be made after 24 months in a Green List role
Skilled Migrant Visa Category
Changes to the SMC points system was introduced in October 2023.
The Skilled Migrant residence category is a points-based system.
To be eligible, you need a skilled job or job offer with an accredited employer in NZ, and must meet English, character and health requirements.
Applicants will also need to show they qualify for 6 points in two categories:
- 3-6 points for qualifications at Bachelor degree or higher, NZ occupational registration or salaries at least 1.5 times above the median wage.
- 1-3 points for 1-3 years of skilled work experience in New Zealand.
|Qualification, occupational registration, high pay
|Skilled NZ experience
|Recognised PhD – 6 points
|2x median wage – 4 points
|2 years work experience in NZ paid at 2x median wage – 2 points
|Occupational registration as EWRB Cable Jointer – 3 points
|3 years NZ skilled experience after registration – 3 points
This category is not capped, so you will be able to apply as long as you meet the visa eligibility criteria.
The new SMC is meant to complement the Green List and Sector Agreement residence pathways. Note that many blue-collar occupations in the trades and skilled hospitality roles appear to have been left out of these pathways to residence.
If you want to explore whether you qualify under the existing Skilled Migrant Residence category, contact us now for a detailed assessment.
Skilled Migrant Application Process
To get a comprehensive analysis of your particular situation, please contact us.
We will provide you with a written initial assessment that will act as a roadmap for your pathway to residence. You will know upfront the steps required to obtain residence and the likely cost of the whole process. We will also assist with obtaining the correct documentation for the process.
Once you are ready to apply, our advisers will take all the guesswork out of the process – you will be regularly updated on the progress of your application, and we will act as your advocate with Immigration New Zealand in all aspects until such time as your application is finalised. Get in touch with us today to start your application for New Zealand residency.
Already applying as a Skilled Migrant or received a declined application?
If your visa application is being held up by Immigration New Zealand, please do not hesitate to reach out to us for assistance. We have a history of helping applicants in such predicaments and are experienced in navigating policy and appeal cases to ensure a successful outcome. Our team is highly proficient at substantiating claims with INZ.
The Sector Agreement Pathway
Under the government’s sector agreements, specific employment sectors and positions are permitted to offer wages below the median to migrant workers holding an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV), and selected sectors are also offering a pathway to residence for eligible workers. In return, employers within these sectors commit to making strides in enhancing their industries, thereby reducing their dependence on migrant workers.
The AEWV sector agreements offering Work to Residence visas are:
- Care Workforce
Applying for residence through one of these sectors requires working for 24 months in an eligible role before applying for a Work to Residence visa.
Care Workforce Work to Residence requirements
To be eligible, you need a skilled care workforce job or job offer such as aged or disabled carer, nursing support worker, or personal care assistant with an accredited employer in NZ, and must meet English, character and health requirements.
- The role must be an eligible Care Workforce role.
- The role must be paid at or above the level 4 support workers’ minimum wage per hour rate for 24 months.
Transport Work to Residence requirements
To be eligible, you need a skilled transport job or job offer such as truck driver, bus driver or ship’s master with an accredited employer in NZ, and must meet English, character and health requirements.
- The role must be an eligible Transport sector role.
- The role must be paid at or above the NZ median wage per hour rate for 24 months ($28 per hour for bus drivers).
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