Want to Migrate to New Zealand?  Express Yourself!


Before Australia changed the way it accepts applicants for permanent residency through a selection system called SkillSelect, New Zealand already has its own selection system in place.

It was akin to a kid brother showing up the elder sibling on how things are done.


In December 2005, the first batch of applicants with 140 points and above was selected under New Zealand’ Expression of Interest scheme.  Candidates with less than 140 points but have job offers, currently employed or have worked in New Zealand were also invited.


This year, another member of the Commonwealth Nations – Canada – put its own selection system into motion: the Express Entry,


From 7 January to 1 April 2015 alone, New Zealand selected 4,526 candidates with qualifying score. While the minimum points needed is 100 (to submit an Expression of Interest) only those obtaining 140 points or candidates with less than 140 but has an accompanying job offer or evidence of employment are invited.


For the benefit of our Friends and families, here is the overview of New Zealand’s selection system.  Please note that this information is available on the NZIS website and should not be construed as legal advice or a substitute to immigration recommendations.


Overview of the Skilled Migrant Category


1. Requirements

To apply under the Skilled Migrant Category, you must meet our requirements. You need to be aged 55 or under. You also have to meet our standards of health, character, and English language ability before you start the process.

2. The Expression of Interest

This is the first step towards making an application. If you qualify, you can submit an Expression of Interest (EOI), in which you claim points for skills, experience, and other factors.

3. The EOI pool and the pool draw

If you have claimed 100 points or more on your EOI, you can submit it into the pool. Every fortnight, all EOIs over 140 points are automatically selected and the validity of the information is assessed. Providing the information submitted is deemed credible, the applicant is issued an invitation to apply (ITA). After this, lower scoring EOIs with certain factors, such as skilled employment in New Zealand, are selected.

4. Invitation to Apply

Once your EOI is drawn from the pool, we examine it and if we find it credible, we send you an ITA. You will have to show proof of the claims made on your EOI. This means medical and police certificates, proof of English language ability, and documentation regarding your skills, experience, and other factors.

The application form contains the information that you provided in your EOI. You will check the information and return it to us with your documentation.

The date that you make your SMC residence application with Immigration New Zealand determines the criteria that your application will be assessed against. The criteria that was current when you submitted your EOI, or current when your EOI was selected from the pool, is not necessarily the criteria that your SMC residence application will be assessed against.

5. Full assessment

Once we receive your application and documents, we start assessing you for residence. We make sure that you meet all our requirements, and that your points claims are valid.

We will also assess you on your ability to settle in New Zealand successfully. We may consider you able based on your application, or we may wish to interview you.

6. Resident visas and Job Search visas

If you meet our criteria, and we believe you will settle successfully and contribute to New Zealand, we will offer you a resident visa.

If we think you have potential, but want to see how you settle, we will give you a job search visa, which you can use to help obtain an offer of skilled employment in New Zealand for up to nine months. If you obtain skilled employment in this time you will have shown your ability to settle and contribute, and your residence application will be approved.

Please remember that an SMC Job Search visa is an opportunity to seek skilled employment in New Zealand. It is not a guarantee of work, a job offer, or of residence. Immigration New Zealand advises against the sale of assets, the termination of children’s schooling, and the shipping of household items to New Zealand until an applicant’s residence status is fully approved.

Got a question? Let us know - we're here to help.


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