The New Zealand Government has announced changes to the Skilled Migrant Category and will extend the duration of the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) from three to five years in November 2023.
- No cap on highly skilled workers
- New six-point system to give certainty to migrants on their eligibility
- Clearer criteria and faster pathway to residence for highly skilled people
- Extension of Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) to five years and introduction of five-year maximum continuous stay AEWV
The Government is making changes to the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) as part of the immigration rebalance, to help businesses attract workers to fill skill shortages, Minister of Immigration Michael Wood announced.
“We know many industries are calling for workers as the global labour shortage bites. The new skilled migrant settings will help attract and retain skilled migrants to fill medium-to-long-term skills needs that would take time to fill by workers already in New Zealand,” says New Zealand Immigration Minister Michael Wood.
“The changes announced today to ensure there is no cap on skilled migrants removes an artificial constraint in the old system that set an indicative number of residence places available each year and prevented skilled migrants settling in New Zealand even when there was a demonstrable need.
“From early October, a simplified points system will be introduced to set a clear skills threshold based on New Zealand occupational registration, recognised qualifications, or income,” says New Zealand Immigration Minister Michael Wood.
“Highly skilled people will have a faster route to residence, and others will have a clear route to residence if they work for a period in New Zealand. The clear requirements will provide temporary workers with clarity about their status, addressing a long-standing issue where some people with no pathway to residence were given false hope.
“The Government has heard from businesses that giving certainty that skilled migrants and their families will be able to gain residence in New Zealand will be a big draw card for attracting skilled workers,” says New Zealand Immigration Minister Michael Wood.
“The new SMC complements other pathways to residence, such as the Green List, which is a narrower, occupation-specific pathway for those working in specified nationally significant and globally in-demand roles.
“This, along with simpler settings, means Immigration New Zealand will be able to process more applications faster,” says New Zealand Immigration Minister Michael Wood.
“There will also be an extension to the maximum duration of an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) from three to five years from November, to align with the introduction of a five-year maximum continuous stay on an AEWV for people who are not on a pathway to residence. The duration is longer than the three years initially indicated, in response to feedback from businesses.
“The AEWV is New Zealand’s main temporary work visa, which gives businesses access to skills to plug short-term gaps. Providing a five-year maximum continuous stay means people who don’t qualify for a pathway to residence will have clarity about how long they can work and stay in New Zealand and provides longer term certainty for business,” says New Zealand Immigration Minister Michael Wood.
“We recognise the important role the immigration system plays in our nation’s economic future. We are committed to working with businesses to ensure we are striking the right balance”, says New Zealand Immigration Minister Michael Wood.
Source: Crown copyright
Key dates in 2023
Check this page for updates on visa application dates.
|Visa name||Application status|
|Straight to Residence Visa||Open now|
|Work to Residence Visa||Opens 29 September 2023|
|Care Workforce Work to Residence Visa||Opens 29 September 2023|
|Transport Sector Work to Residence Visa||Opens 29 September 2023|
|Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa (current points system)||Open now. EOIs must be submitted by 23:59, Tuesday 15 August 2023 (NZST).|
|Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa (new points system)||Opens 9 October 2023|
Changes to the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa
From 9 October 2023, the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa will use a new points system. You will need 6 points to apply for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa. This can be made up from:
- 3 to 6 points based on New Zealand occupational registration, qualifications, or income, and
- 1 point for each year of work in New Zealand in a skilled job, up to a maximum of 3 points.
Finding an Australian employer to sponsor you can be very difficult so we recommend obtaining a visa that gives you full working rights.
The male-dominated construction industry in Australia and New Zealand has high rates of mental health issues and suicide.