Skilled Migrant Resident Visa NZ – Your Pathway to Residency



We suggest you get an eligibility assessment as soon as possible to allow certainty of a residency outcome and guidance on what is required to apply for the skilled migrant resident visa. Our team is ready to help.

Book an in-depth consultation – this includes a 45 minute consultation and a written summary of the options available to you.

OR register for one of our upcoming webinars.

Skilled Migrant Category (SMC)

Obtain permanent residency in New Zealand through the Skilled Migrant Resident Visa, a pathway for individuals with sought-after skills.

With the Skilled Migrant Visa NZ, you can live and work in New Zealand on a long-term basis.

Here’s what you should know about the new 6 point system.


The new Skilled Migrant Visa NZ 6 point system

new simplified points system, recognized by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, will be introduced for the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) Resident Visa on 9 October 2023, to replace the current 180-point system.

If you have skilled employment or a job offer in New Zealand, you might be eligible for the Skilled Migrant Visa.

The points system sets a clear skill threshold for residence, but offers several ways for people to demonstrate their skill level. Applicants must have at least 6 points to be eligible. You can claim points based on your qualifications, occupation, and income.

This can be made up from:

•  3 to 6 points based on either professional registration, qualifications or income. People can choose the skill category that offers the most points based on their circumstances; and
• 1 point per year of working in New Zealand in a skilled job, up to a maximum of 3 points.

All applicants must have a job or a job offer in New Zealand and be paid at least median wage.

This system aims to set a clear skill threshold for residence and encourages those with recognized qualifications and occupational registration to apply. Applicants with dependent children can earn bonus points towards the Skilled Migrant Residence Visa.

skilled migrant new 6 point system NZ

Final Expression of Interest selection of current SMC

INZ will continue to conduct monthly draws of all expressions of interest (EOIs) that meet the current 180 points threshold, until the final selection on 16 August 2023. This means people have until 11:59pm on 15 August to submit their EOI.  Those who are invited to apply for residence from this draw will have four months to apply under the current SMC settings.


Straight to Residence: Green List Tier 1

If you have employment or an offer of employment from an accredited employer in an occupation on Tier 1 of the Green List and meet the specified requirements on the list for the occupation, you could apply for residence under Straight to Residence category from 5 September 2022. You’ll need to meet the age, health and character requirements.

Find out if your role is in the Green List Tier 1 occupations list and explore the skilled migrant visa NZ opportunities.

Work to Residence: Green List Tier 2

The Green List tier 2 residence pathways have replaced the previous Talent (Accredited Employer) Residence from Work Category (Talent Visa).

Green List Tier 2

If you have worked for 2 years in a Green List Tier 2 occupation and meet the specified requirements on the list for the occupation, you could apply for the skilled migrant resident visa under the work to Residence category from September 2022.

Find out if your role is in the Green List Tier 2 occupations list 

Work to Residence: Transport sector and care workforce

Certain industries in New Zealand benefit from a Sector Agreement which facilitates a 2-year work to residence pathway:

Transport sector residence pathway

A Work to residence pathway for transport sectors will be available to apply from 29 September 2023. This pathway will allow the bus drivers, truck drivers, ship’s masters and deck hands to gain residence after 24 months. Please note the requirements for each of the roles vary.

Bus drivers hired under the sector agreement will be eligible for Accredited Employer Work Visas (AEWV) for 3 years, if they earn at least $28 an hour. This will ensure that they have enough time to complete their 2 years of work in NZ required to apply for residence. Other roles covered by the transport sector agreement are not exempt from the median wage threshold.


Care Workforce residence pathway

A work to residence pathway for care workers will be available to apply for from 29 September 2023. This pathway will allow care workers who are paid NZD $28.25 an hour (level 4) of the Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlements Act 2017 to gain residence after 24 months.

bus drivers residence NZ


1. What is the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) in New Zealand, and how does it work in terms of obtaining a skilled migrant visa?

The SMC is a pathway for skilled migrants to New Zealand. To get a skilled migrant visa, you start by submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) where you claim points based on factors like age, work experience, qualifications, and job offers. If you meet the criteria, you may be invited to apply for the skilled migrant residence visa, with a skilled job offer being a significant contributor to your points.

2. Can you explain the process for obtaining New Zealand occupational registration, and how does it affect my chances of securing a skilled job offer?

Certain professions and industries in New Zealand require occupational registration to work legally. Having this registration can boost your chances of securing a skilled job offer, showing you’re eligible for your chosen field. The process varies by profession but usually involves proving your qualifications, experience, and meeting English language requirements set by authorities.

3. What are the key factors that contribute to earning points in the points system for a Skilled Migrant Residence Visa, and how can I ensure my application meets the points threshold for success?

Accumulating points in the system is vital for a successful Skilled Migrant Residence Visa application. Points come from factors like age, work experience, qualifications, and job offers. To meet the points threshold, document and claim points for all eligible criteria. A job offer in a skilled occupation, especially one aligning with ANZSCO skill levels, earns extra points. Ensure you have a recognized qualification and meet English language requirements. Seek advice from a licensed immigration adviser to avoid common application mistakes, and if successful, you can settle in New Zealand indefinitely.