Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa
Live and Work with your family in New Zealand if your occupation is on the Skills Shortage List
Updated as of December 2022
Please refer to the Immigration NZ website for the most updated information.
The skilled residency visa option
The Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) is a visa option for people who have skills and qualifications that are in demand in New Zealand. It allows you to live and work in New Zealand indefinitely and access publicly-funded healthcare and education.
To be eligible for the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) visa, you must:
Score at least 100 points on the SMC points scale. Points are awarded based on factors such as your age, work experience, education, and ability to speak English.
Have a job offer or an occupation on the Long-Term Skill Shortage List, which is a list of occupations that are in shortage in New Zealand.
Meet the health and character requirements for New Zealand.
In addition to these requirements, you must also be able to show that you have the skills and qualifications needed to fill a job that is in demand in New Zealand. You must also be able to demonstrate that you have the funds to support yourself and any dependent family members while you are in New Zealand.
It's important to note that the SMC visa is a points-based visa, which means that the New Zealand government will consider your application based on how many points you score. The higher your score, the more likely it is that your application will be successful. However, even if you score the minimum number of points, your application may still be declined if you do not meet the other eligibility requirements for the visa.
To apply for the SMC visa, you must first create an online account on the New Zealand Immigration website and complete the online Expression of Interest (EOI) form. In the EOI, you will need to provide information about your personal and professional background, and you will be required to upload supporting documents. If you score at least 100 points, your EOI will be accepted and placed in a pool of candidates. From time to time, the New Zealand government will select EOIs from the pool and invite those candidates to apply for the SMC visa.
Received an Invitation to Apply?
If you are invited to apply for a Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa you will have four months to submit your application online. You should have all your information and documents ready when you submit your application. Check the file size requirements in the form when you are making your application and make sure the files you have are not too big to upload.
If you apply for a Skilled Migrant Category Resident visa on or after 24 October 2022, you must meet the 2021 median wage of NZD $27.76.
If you have previously submitted an EOI, you can choose to continue or withdraw it. If you withdraw your EOI before it is selected you can request a refund with Immigration NZ. If you want to continue, you should check your details are correct and add any new information before 13:00 on 11 November 2022 (NZDT). You must ensure your EOI is up to date before selection begins.
Selections of EOIs for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa will resume at 13:00 on 11 November 2022 (NZDT). Immigration NZ will select all EOIs with at least 160 points. From 18 January 2023, EOIs will need to have at least 180 points to be selected.
You will need to supply these documents:
a photo of yourself and of each person included in your application
a copy of your passport and a copy for each person included in this application. Include the page with the photo and details on it.
police certificates for you and any family member 17 years or older. Include certificates for any country you or your family member have lived in for more than 12 months and any country where you hold citizenship.
You may also need to supply:
evidence of your qualifications or your partner's qualifications
skilled work experience documentation for you and your partner
a timeline and supporting evidence of your relationship with your partner
proof of relationship, such as a birth certificate, for any dependent children you have included in this application.
a completed Employer Supplementary form (INZ1235).
a completed Resident Visa Declaration form (INZ1242) if someone helped you complete this form or if you are including a partner or children who are over 18 years old in your application.
a completed Additional Dependents for Residence in New Zealand form (INZ1001).
You may need to upload evidence of your English language background or English language test results. If you submitted your EOI on or before 13:00 on 11 November 2022 (NZDT) and you are invited to apply, you can upload English test results that are more than 2 years old. If you submitted your EOI after 13:00 on 11 November 2022 (NZDT), your test results must be less than 2 years old.
Application Fees and Processing Time
You are not required to pay any fees while preparing your EOI. Application fees (NZD4,000 - NZD 4,850) must be paid directly to Immigration NZ when you submit the EOI online.
Processing time for a SMC usually takes up to six months.
Points to Note
After 18 January 2023, selections will be monthly, occurring on the third Wednesday of each month. All EOIs with at least 180 points will be selected.