Public Justice and Law
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New Zealand Permanent Residence Visa Policy
Family Law

New Zealand Permanent Residence Visa Policy

New Zealand Permanent Residence Visa policies are complex, and cover Skilled Migrant, Partnership and Parent categories. For those wishing to immigrate to New Zealand, this page provides an outline of some of the current Immigration NZ Permanent Residence Categories. For detailed information and advice, contact us directly:
Skilled Migrant Category:

The Skilled Migrant Category is a points based system of assessment for eligibility for permanent residence to New Zealand.

Applicants under this category are entitled to score points for factors including age, qualification, work experience and job offer. For an indication of the points assessment please refer to the Skilled Migrant Category Points System Schedule.

The Skilled Migrant Category is now a two step process. Applicants will first submit an Expression of Interest Form indicating their points assessment. In order to qualify to submit an Expression of Interest, applicants must reach a minimum of 100 points. Once the Expression of Interest is duly lodged with Immigration New Zealand, the application is retained in the “pool” of applications for a maximum period of three months. Every two weeks, the top point scorers of the pool are selected and subsequently invited to apply for permanent residence. Applications that have not been selected will remain in the pool until either they are selected or until they have remained unsuccessfully in the pool for the maximum of six months. After this period, unsuccessful applicants may resubmit a new Expression of Interest if so desired. There is no limit to the number of applications an individual can make.

Due to the fact that selections are made on a bi-weekly basis, the pass mark may be subject to change at these intervals.

Under the Skilled Migrant Category, applicants must meet the mandatory requirements of good health, good character, appropriate English language (IELTS of 6.5 or a recognized English language background), and be no older than 55 years of age. Whilst qualifications and New Zealand job offers are not requirements for this category, applicants are unlikely to be successful without having first secured an offer of employment. For this reason, it is advisable to initially secure a job offer and work visa in New Zealand. This not only demonstrates settlement ability but also can lead to the entitlement to Bonus Points under the Skilled Migrant Category.

It is important to note that in an attempt to attract migrants with skills that have been identified as advantageous to New Zealand or otherwise in short supply, Immigration New Zealand have limited eligibility only to those migrants that are deemed to be “skilled” in respect to the list of recognized occupations. In order to be deemed as skilled the occupation must be recognised by INZ and the applicant must meet the specified experience or qualification requirements. Therefore, some occupations and industries will not be recognized and excluded from eligibility under the Skilled Migrant Category. Consequently, it is important to ensure that you are fully aware of these restrictions prior to lodging an Expression of Interest with the Immigration New Zealand.

Family Category:

The objective of Family Category policy is to allow individuals to maintain and be part of a family unit, while reinforcing the governments overall objectives in immigration policy. The category is therefore broken up into a number of sub-categories including Partnership policy, Parent policy, and Dependent Child policy.

Partnership Category:

Applicants seeking approval under the Partnership policy will only be eligible for the grant of residence once the Principal Applicant has been living with the New Zealand citizen or resident partner for a minimum of 12 months. However, an application for residence may be lodged with the INZ prior to the 12 month qualifying period and a decision will then be deferred until the couple have met the requisite 12 month period.

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