Skilled Migrant Category open for business
17 December 2003 Media Statement
Skilled Migrant Category open for business
The Skilled Migrant Category promoting the active recruitment of skilled migrants to New Zealand is officially open for business, Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel announced today.
Changes to skilled immigration policy were announced by the government in July after a comprehensive review of the General Skills component of the Skilled/Business stream of the New Zealand Immigration Programme.
"The new Skilled Migrant Category shifts the focus from the passive acceptance of residence applications to the active recruitment of the skilled migrants that New Zealand needs," Lianne Dalziel said.
"From today, prospective migrants can submit expressions of interest based on an enhanced points system. Points are allocated for skilled employment, work experience and qualifications, with a particular emphasis on identified areas of growth or skill shortages. Bonus points will be awarded to those who, for example, have a skilled job offer outside Auckland or who have a recognised New Zealand qualification gained after at least two years' study in New Zealand.
"This enables us to prioritise applicants who best meet New Zealand's needs.
"Once they have been invited to apply for residence, it is expected that the application will lead to residence, either:
- Directly, where there is a demonstrated ability to settle here, or
- Indirectly, through a two-year work-to-residence programme where the applicant has good settlement prospects despite not having a relevant job offer, or history of studying or working successfully in New Zealand.
"This policy is designed to end the "professional-driving-taxi' scenario, which resulted from a flawed policy focussed solely on migrants gaining residence by meeting the set points, regardless of whether or not their skills were needed here.
"The new Skilled Migrant Category is a win-win for skilled migrants and for New Zealand," Lianne Dalziel said.
For more information about the Skilled Migrant Category view online: www.immigration.govt.nz/Migrate/AbouttheSkilledMigrantCategory.htm or
SKILLED MIGRANT CATEGORY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
17 December 2003
What is the Skilled Migrant Category?
The Skilled Migrant Category replaces the General Skills Category, and is one of the residence categories under the Skilled/Business Stream of the New Zealand Immigration Programme.
Under the Skilled Migrant Category, people must first submit an Expression of Interest in applying for residence, using the official Expression of Interest form (NZIS 1100). Only those invited by the New Zealand Immigration Service (NZIS) to apply for residence may do so.
Where can I get more information on the Skilled Migrant Category?
The NZIS website www.immigration.govt.nz has detailed information on the Skilled Migrant Category, along with the Self-Assessment Guide for Residence in New Zealand and Expression of Interest Guide. Alternatively, copies can be obtained by contacting your nearest NZIS branch (in New Zealand but outside Auckland, freephone 0508 55 88 55 or from Auckland, 914 4100), or offshore by contacting the nearest New Zealand diplomatic and consular offices.
How can I find out whether I am eligible under the new Category?
The Self-Assessment Guide for Residence in New Zealand gives a broad overview of applying for residence in New Zealand and contains the Skilled Migrant Quick Check, which will give some idea of whether you should proceed to complete an Expression of Interest. The Quick Check is available online at www.immigration.govt.nz.
You need to be of good health, good character, have a reasonable standard of English and be aged 55 years or younger. If you meet these requirements and score a minimum of 100 points you will be eligible to submit an Expression of Interest.
How does the points system work?
The Skilled Migrant Category points system will rank Expressions of Interest from highest to lowest points, allowing NZIS to select the highest scoring Expressions of Interest from the Pool. Points can be awarded for skilled employment in New Zealand, work experience, qualifications and age, with bonus points available across several areas.
Do I need to have a job to be eligible?
Although a skilled job offer is not a prerequisite, it is important to consider whether your skills are needed in New Zealand before you sell your home, leave your job and move to New Zealand. You must meet the 100 points threshold, including points for either work experience or qualifications, before your Expression of Interest can be accepted.
How many points will I need to get my Expression of Interest into the Pool?
You need to score the minimum 100 points and meet the prerequisites of health, character, and English language to enter the Pool. You must also be aged 55 years or younger. Acceptance into the Pool does not guarantee an Invitation to Apply for residence.
The selection point (ie, the point at which Expressions of Interest will be selected from the Pool) will fluctuate depending on the number of places available in the Skilled/Business stream of the New Zealand Immigration Programme, the quality of Expressions of Interest in the Pool (as indicated by the points scored) and the total number of Expressions of Interest in the Pool at selection time.
Will the minimum points requirement fluctuate? What sets the points level and how can I find out how many points I need?
A 100 points minimum is required for entry into the Pool. This threshold is fixed, although the selection point will fluctuate depending on the number of places available in the Skilled/Business stream of the New Zealand Immigration Programme, the quality of Expressions of Interest in the Pool (as indicated by points scored) and the total number of Expressions of Interest in the Pool at the time the selection is made. The latest selection points and a history of selection points can be viewed online at www.immigration.govt.nz from April 2004.
What English language requirements apply under the new category?
Principal applicants (and their partners if that person is claiming points for a job, job offer or qualification) must meet a minimum standard of English. To meet the required minimum standard of English language, principal applicants must have:
- an English speaking background, or
- an average IELTS score of 6.5, or
- completed their recognised qualification entirely in English, or
- had skilled employment in New Zealand for at least 12 months, or
- can otherwise demonstrate to NZIS' satisfaction that they are a competent user of English.
Other secondary applicants 16 years and over must meet a minimum standard of English for non-principal applicants. In order to meet the required minimum standard of English, secondary applicants must have:
- an English speaking background or,
- an average IELTS score of 5 or,
- completed a recognised qualification entirely in English or,
- completed other specified qualifications or,
- had skilled employment in New Zealand for at least 12 months or,
- the ability to demonstrate to NZIS' satisfaction that they are a competent user of English meet the minimum standard.
Non-principal applicants who fail to meet the minimum standard must pre-purchase a specified amount of ESOL tuition.
What does "good health' mean? How will I know whether I am eligible?
You and your partner and any children need to be of good health. An acceptable standard of health is where you are free of any serious or long-term illness or incapacity - physical or mental - that may require full-time care. Medical and X-ray Certificates must be submitted as proof of your standard of health when lodging a New Zealand residence application.
How does NZIS assess whether I am of "good character'?
You and your partner and any children will need to complete a series of questions about your character, such as whether you have ever been convicted of any offence, deported from any country, or been investigated by any law enforcement agency.
How do I submit an Expression of Interest?
Download the Expression of Interest form (NZIS 1100) from our website - www.immigration.govt.nz - or contact NZIS to request that a copy be sent to you. Forms are also available from any NZIS branch and New Zealand diplomatic and consular offices. Send the completed form to the Wellington, New Zealand address specified on the form.
From early 2004 online facilities will make it easier to complete and submit an Expression of Interest.
The Expression of Interest Guide (NZIS 1101) has detailed information on submitting an Expression of Interest. This is available online at www.immigration.govt.nz or from NZIS branches and New Zealand diplomatic and consular offices.
Do I have to pay to submit an Expression of Interest?
Yes. Up to and including 31 January 2004 submitting an Expression of Interest will incur a NZ$315 fee.
From 1 February 2004 the following fees apply:
- NZ$315 for Expressions of Interest submitted online
- NZ$465 for Expressions of Interest submitted on paper.
NZIS accepts Visa and MasterCard for payment of fees. If you are submitting your Expression of Interest within New Zealand you may use a personal cheque drawn against a New Zealand bank account. If submitting an Expression of Interest from outside New Zealand payments must be made using either Visa or MasterCard, or by a bank cheque/draft in New Zealand or US currency.
What if my circumstances change after I submit an Expression of Interest (ie, receive a job offer, gain a new qualification, lose my job, leave my partner etc)?
Advise NZIS if your circumstances change, or if the information you supplied in your Expression of Interest changes. Failure to do so could result in your application being declined or your visa/permit being revoked.
At what stage does NZIS consider my points score - is it when I lodge my Expression of Interest, or later?
Your points score will be considered when NZIS receives your Expression of Interest. If your Expression of Interest meets the minimum 100 points, it will go directly into the Pool. Your points score can be modified up until your Expression of Interest is selected from the Pool, meaning you can update it if your circumstances change, without additional cost.
The points required for selection from the Pool will fluctuate depending on the number of places available in the Skilled/Business stream of the New Zealand Immigration Programme, the quality of Expressions of Interest in the Pool (as indicated by points scored) and the total number of Expressions of Interest in the Pool at the time the selection is made.
How long will it take to process my application (from submitting EOI to approval for residence)?
Expressions of Interest that meet the health, character, and English language prerequisites and the threshold of 100 points for employability and capacity building factors, will go directly into the Pool. Expressions of Interest will then be selected from the Pool periodically, rather than as they are submitted. It is not a case of first in, first served.
The length of time from submitting an Expression of Interest to knowing whether you have been invited to apply will vary, depending on such things as when the Expression of Interest is selected from the Pool through to the level of verification of your details that is required. If your Expression of Interest is not selected from the Pool within three months it will be withdrawn and you will be notified. However, if no selection of Expressions of Interest from the Pool has occurred within the three-month period, your Expression of Interest will remain in the Pool until a selection occurs.
An advantage of the new category is that applications will only be invited from the number of people required to meet the New Zealand Immigration Programme at that time.
At what stage does NZIS verify all my details? What does that involve?
If your Expression of Interest is selected from the Pool your key details will be checked and verified by NZIS to ensure the claims made in your Expression of Interest can be verified as being legitimate in order to be considered for an Invitation to Apply for residence. If you are invited to apply your application will be assessed against government residence policy with further verification of any outstanding details in your Expression of Interest and evidence in support of your application.
If my Expression of Interest is not selected from the Pool after three months, will my fee be refunded? If not, what work has been done that justifies being charged?
Your fee will not be refunded if your Expression of Interest is not selected from the Pool. The fee structure has been designed to cover the costs of administering the Expression of Interest process, including receipt of Expressions of Interest, data entry, ranking and selection from the Pool.
If we determine that your Expression of Interest does not meet minimum criteria for submission, your fee will only be refunded if it is lodged manually before the online lodgement facilities become available. When the online facility for registering Expressions of Interest is introduced, it will not accept submissions that do not meet the minimum criteria. The online function will be available early in 2004.
I have an Invitation to Apply for residence - what do I have to do to lodge an application? Do I have to resubmit all my details?
If invited to apply for residence you will need to provide documentation to support the claims made in your Expression of Interest. This is likely to include:
- Passport/s (for all applicants, if available)
- Birth certificate/s (for all applicants)
- Marriage certificate (if applicable) or other evidence of a relationship with your spouse or partner
- Custody documentation (for any children, where applicable)
- Police certificates for all applicants aged 17 and over from your country of citizenship and each country you have resided in for 12 months or more over the last 10 years. Lodged certificates must be no more than six months old
- Medical and X-ray Certificates (for all applicants, which are no more than three months old when lodged)
- Evidence of English language ability (for all applicants aged 16 and over)
- Evidence of a recognised qualification (for you and/or your partner, if applicable)
- Evidence of skilled work experience (for you, if applicable)
- Evidence of a skilled job offer or current skilled employment in New Zealand (for you and/or your partner, if applicable)
- Other documentation as specified by the NZIS in your Invitation to Apply.
You will also need to tell us if your circumstances have changed since your Expression of Interest was selected, if that change of circumstances may affect your application for residence in any way.