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Changes to General Skills Category passmark

11 June 2002

The General Skills Category passmark will increase from 25 to 28 points from Tuesday, 18 June 2002, Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel announced today.

The passmark sets the number of points required to gain New Zealand residence under the General Skills Category of the New Zealand Immigration Programme.

The change is being made in order to manage the 2002-2003 New Zealand Immigration Programme which has been set at 45,000 approvals (with a tolerance of 5000).

The 2002-03 NZ Immigration Programme is as follows:

- Skilled/Business 60% (27,000 places +/- 3000 places)

- Family Sponsored 30% (13,500 +/- 1500 places)

- International/Humanitarian 10% (4,500 +/- 500 places)

Lianne Dalziel said she informed Cabinet yesterday of the need to increase the passmark to manage approvals for the 2002-03 year due to a significant increase in the Skilled/Business stream which now accounted for 66% of total approvals for the current financial year.

“The number of applications on hand has increased sharply in the last 12 months.

Without measures to reduce the inflow of applications, the level of on-hand applications will continue to rise creating queues which are frustrating for applicants and inefficient for the New Zealand Immigration Service.

“We are anticipating completing 53,000 residence approvals in this financial year, which is up from 45,000 approvals in the previous year. Demand is highest in the Skilled/Business Stream and there is nothing to suggest that the inflow of residence applications has peaked.

“Clearly New Zealand is an attractive migrant destination and the decision announced today tilts the residency approval in favour of the migrant who will settle well given the fact that it will not affect those with skilled job offers relevant to their qualifications or work experience.

“To reflect this decision, the maximum points awarded to applicants with relevant job offers, will rise from 5 to 8 points from 1 July 2002.

“These changes will not affect applicants who apply on or before 18 June 2002 - their applications will be assessed under the existing 25 points passmark.”

The Minister also announced that the passmark would in future be reviewed monthly with the next review scheduled for 1 August 2002. Notification of any changes to the passmark also changes from 20 days’ to 5 days’ notice.

“The last passmark change provided a month’s notice which created a massive influx of applications before the change took effect. In practical terms, this meant that the increase in the passmark on 1 January 2002 was ineffective in managing the programme for the year. I am not prepared to have that situation arise again,” Lianne Dalziel said.

For immigration inquiries: 0508 558 855

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