Immigration Law Advocates

We help people emigrate to New Zealand. Our goal is to ensure that your migration experience is not only successful, but stress free.

Phone ILA + 64 3 313 0570

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Fax ILA+ 64 3 313 3949

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New Zealand's Permanent Residence Visa Policy

New Zealand Permanent Residence Visa policies are complex, and cover Skilled Migrant, Partnership and Parent categories. For those wishing to emigrate 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:

Permanent Residence Categories:

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 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 submitted to Immigration New Zealand, the application is retained in the "pool" of applications for a maximum period of six months. Every two weeks, selections are made from the pool for consideration and subsequently, successful EOI's will result in an invitation 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. If an EOI is selected but not invited to apply it is not returned to the pool.

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 recognised English language background), and be no older than 55 years of age. Whilst qualifications and New Zealand job offers are not requirements for submitting an EOI, 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 (for residency) 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 Recognised 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 recognised 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 submitting 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 Government's overall objectives in immigration policy. The category is therefore broken up into a number of sub-categories being 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.

INZ Partnership policy does not discriminate between Marriage, Civil Union, Same Sex and De Facto partnerships. All partnerships must meet the 12 month requirement.

Residence from Work Visa Policy

In recognition of the contribution of individuals to particular industries, "Work to Residence" polices have been implemented to "fill the gaps" and allow individuals to eventually gain residence after two years of employment (in accordance with Policy criteria) through their employment.

Please note: Where applicants hold a work to Residence Visa which will facilitate a Residence from Work application in two years time, but would also be eligible immediately under the Skilled Migrant category, we encourage them to apply under the Skilled Migrant category.

Click here to read about the Work to Residence Visa Policy.