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Immigration policy attracts skilled migrants

Immigration policy attracts skilled migrants

The Immigration Minister Paul Swain says highly qualified professionals are being actively recruited in areas of skill shortages across the whole country as a result of the first full month's operation of the new Skilled Migrant Category.

"A key government objective is a return to the top half of the OECD, and this world-leading immigration programme gives New Zealand more control over increasing the level of skilled workers in the economy," says Mr Swain.

Highly qualified ICT professionals, a microbiologist, a psychiatrist, other scientists, doctors, nurses, secondary school teachers, and tradespeople such as mechanics and electricians are among those being invited to apply for residence.

The Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) was created by a law change last year, and is aimed at shifting the focus from the passive acceptance of residence applications, to the active recruitment of people with the skills that New Zealand needs.

The government has an annual programme of 45,000 places under its Immigration Programme, with around 60% of that – 27,000 places, allocated to the skilled/business stream.

Under the SMC, prospective migrants submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) which goes into a selection pool, and selected migrants are then invited to apply for residence.

“There have been four draws from this pooI, and the results so far illustrate that the Skilled Migrant Category is on track,” says Mr Swain.

Today’s draw had a selection point of 180. This means 330 Expressions of Interest (representing 879 people) were selected.

After verification checks, the NZ Immigration Service will formally invite those drawn from the pool to apply for residence.

Since the SMC has been in operation, 479 (excluding today's draw) Expressions of Interest have been selected and from these, a total of 144 Invitations to Apply have been issued.

“Interest in the new SMC has been high, with more than 3,000 EOI in the pool. The calibre of the EOI have exceeded expectations. Many applicants have achieved well over the 100 points minimum score. This allows us to select the very best migrants for New Zealand,” said Paul Swain.

“Under the SMC, the NZIS will select only as many Expressions of Interest that match the places available in the programme. It also has the flexibility to increase or lower the selection point accordingly.”

"Processing residence applications under the SMC is a priority for the NZIS, and processing times will depend on the level of checks and other verification procedures needed before a decision can be made to grant residence."

"This new programme is an important part of the government's drive to achieve sustainable growth for New Zealand."

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