August 15

New Zealand revamps Skilled Migrant visa, introduces point-based system


The New Zealand government revamped its Skilled Migrant visa by implementing a streamlined point-based system.

The modifications are intended to improve the visa's lucidity and aid in attracting skilled talent to the country.

The new six-point Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa, which will be implemented on 9 October 2023, places an emphasis on occupations requiring New Zealand professional registration, qualifications of a bachelor's degree or higher, and a high income. The new system will attract well-educated and well-compensated professionals, citing the system's preference for advanced degrees and high incomes.

What modifications have been made to New Zealand's qualified migrant visa? 

The new point-based system uses a six-point scale to assess applicants. To qualify for the Skilled Migrant visa, applicants must earn six points.

Those with a PhD and a job offer that pays three times the New Zealand minimal wage are higher on the scale. These two conditions earn the required six points to qualify.

Those with master's degrees would need one year of experience in their field and a job offer to qualify, while those with post-graduate degrees would need two years of experience and a job offer with a salary that is twice the median compensation.

Those with a bachelor's degree can earn six points if they have at least three years of experience and a job offer that pays at least 1.5 times the median wage.

"The most significant change is that points are no longer awarded directly for international work experience," says Qiu.  "Under the existing Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa policy, migrants can claim points for their overseas work experience if the work experience is from a comparable labour market or if the migrant holds a compliant New Zealand skilled job offer."

In addition, the government announced that there would be no annual limit on the number of visas issued to skilled immigrants.

"The changes announced today to ensure there is no cap on skilled migrants remove an artificial constraint in the old system that set an indicative number of residence places available each year and prevented skilled migrants from settling in New Zealand even when there was a demonstrable need," said Michael Wood, New Zealand's Minister of Immigration, to local media when announcing the changes.


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