Public Justice and Law
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.

Business Law

New Zealand Temporary Entry Visa Policies

New Zealand has a range of Temporary Visa options to provide for short-term stays in the country. These include Visitor Visa, Student Visa, Limited Purpose Visa, Work Visa and Parent/Granparent Visa.

If you wish to Migrate to New Zealand, the following are some of the current INZ Temporary Entry Categories:

New Zealand Visitors Visa

If you wish to visit New Zealand, the maximum stay that a visitor may enjoy in New Zealand varies according to whether or not they are financially supporting themselves, have previously worked or studied in New Zealand, or whether they have been previously sponsored in New Zealand. The general rule, is that visitors may stay in New Zealand for a total of nine months in an eighteen month period. However some visitors may qualify for an additional three months if they are financially supporting themselves, have not previously worked or studied and were not previously sponsored in New Zealand. Twelve months in a twenty four month period is the maximum stay that a visitor may enjoy. Subsequent to this maximum time spent in New Zealand, visitors are required to spend an equal amount of time outside of New Zealand before being eligible to return as a visitor.

New Zealand Student Visa

New Zealand is a popular destination for students around the world due to the quality of educational facilities and the international recognition of New Zealand qualifications.  To study in New Zealand, students are permitted entry to undertake studies of both short and long term courses at approved educational institutes throughout New Zealand. Students are permitted to remain in New Zealand for a period of time commensurate with the length of the course which they are undertaking or the period of time for which tuition fees have been paid (whichever is the lesser). In order to maintain the right to hold a student visa, students are required, among other things, to make satisfactory progress in their course of study.

For those students wishing to undertake part time work during the course of their study, special conditions apply. Spouses, partners and dependent children of student visa holders are entitled to visitor visas for a period of time commensurate with that of the student permit.

Limited Purpose Visa

The Limited Purpose Visa has been set up to help facilitate the entry of visitors and students who might not otherwise be accepted for temporary entry to New Zealand due to a perceived risk by the INZ that they will remain in New Zealand beyond the length of their permitted stay. Alternatively, it may simply be used as a preferred method of entry. The Limited Purpose Visa is intended for those who wish to enter New Zealand for an “express purpose” for example a particular event such as a wedding, funeral, graduation, medical treatment, sports tournament, religious event, short term course of study etc. The Limited Purpose Visa has a number of restrictions including that it cannot be extended beyond the original term, the holder cannot change their status whilst in New Zealand, cannot apply for permanent residence, cannot appeal against removal or deportation and must leave upon expiry of the permit.

New Zealand Work Visa Policies

The objective of New Zealand’s work visa is to protect employment opportunities for New Zealand citizens and residents, while still allowing:

  1. New Zealand employers to recruit temporary workers from overseas to meet particular or seasonal skill needs that cannot be met from within New Zealand; and
  2. New Zealand to meet its obligations, under bi-lateral agreements negotiated with the governments of neighbouring countries in the South Pacific, to provide opportunities for citizens of these countries to undertake temporary employment in New Zealand; and
  3. Visitors to New Zealand to lawfully work while on holiday; and
  4. People who enter New Zealand under approved working holiday schemes to be granted permission to work on a reciprocal basis; and
  5. To recruit overseas workers to fill the skilled labour shortages in New Zealand.

In areas where there is a recognised skill shortage in New Zealand, the occupation may be listed on one of the Occupation Shortage Lists. If an occupation is not included on these lists it does not mean that a work visa can not be issued for that occupation. Rather, the application must be considered under a separate category- Work Visa- Essential Skills Category. Under this policy there is a requirement to provide proof that the position has been advertised and a labour market test conducted, specific to the area in which the employment is being offered. In most cases, except those areas where there is a known and recognised skill shortage in a particular region, a labour market test will usually be required (unless the application is considered under one of the Work to Residence Policies).