The Skilled Migrant Visa Category reopens to help New Zealand’s businesses attract international talent


new zealand, skilled migrants, visa,


New Zealand Government has announced the reopening of the Skilled Migrant visa categories, helping businesses attract talent during global worker shortages.

Immigration Minister Michael Wood announced the changes at a speech today to business and migrant community leaders in Auckland.

“As the world recovers from COVID-19, labour shortages continue to be a global symptom,” says Michael Wood.

 “We are listening closely to the concerns of businesses, many of whom have the approval to hire migrants but are finding it challenging to recruit internationally in a constrained labour market. Today’s changes work in tandem with the immigration changes already made and will help further relieve labour shortages and ensure a competitive edge to attract talent to New Zealand.

From the 9th of November 2022, selections of Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the Skilled Migrant Residence Category Visa will resume. The New Zealand Government will select the first EOIs with at least 160 points from the 9th of November 2022 and EOIs with at least 180 points from the 18th of January 2023. After the 18th of January 2023, selections will be monthly, where EOIs must have at least 180 points to be chosen.

EOIs submitted before the 9th of May 2022, which do not result in an invitation to progress, will automatically expire and not be reselected. EOIs will be checked to ensure the correct number of experience, employment, qualifications, and age limit.

Once an invitation is sent to apply for a Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa, four months will be given for migrants to apply. Documents include a photo, a copy of your passport with details, and police certificates. Every person included in the application must have a copy of these documents. 

Find out more about the Skilled Migrant Category reopening

 “Over 12,000 international migrants have applied for 511 different occupations across New Zealand since the Accredited Employer Work Visa opened. The Skilled Migrant Category provides a pathway for retaining most of these much-needed skills in New Zealand permanently, strengthening our nation’s resilience to global shocks and economic security.

 “Getting the long-term settings of the category right is essential for New Zealand’s future economic security and ensuring we can attract and retain highly skilled talent. At the same time as resuming selections, we are commencing consultation on a proposed new system that will future-proof the category and further complement the new Green List and Highly Paid residence pathways.

 “The previous system restricted the number of applications that were progressed through a planning range; this meant that only 40% of SMC applications were processed in 2019.

“Our proposed changes include removing the planning range, so all applications that meet the criteria will be processed. It will also have a more simplified points system, set a clear, fair and transparent eligibility threshold and offer several ways for people to demonstrate their skill level.

“The proposed changes will also see a faster route to residence for highly skilled migrants, such as university lecturers or scientists who hold a PhD, while other professionals such as teachers and registered tradespeople will have a clear route if they work for a period in New Zealand. The new system will improve processing times, and there will be no cap on the number of people who can gain residence each year if they meet the skills threshold,” says Michael Wood.

 “We know it is tough for many businesses at the moment, but there are positive signs. We are seeing strong demand for the Working Holiday Scheme, with more than 30,437 applications approved since March, with arrivals expected to pick up in the coming months.


Source: View the full media release here: New Zealand Government | © 2022 Immigration New Zealand | Crown Copyright

^ Back to top