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If you are looking to apply for residence – hurry up! The Government has announced a package of changes designed to reduce the number of migrants. The changes come into effect 14 August 2017.

Two remuneration thresholds are being introduced for applicants applying for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC). One will be set at the New Zealand median income of $48,859 a year for jobs that are currently considered skilled (ANZSCO 1,2,3). The other threshold will be set at 1.5 times the New Zealand median income of $73,299 a year for jobs that are not currently considered skilled but are well paid (ANZSCO 4,5).

The points allocation will also change. More points will be available for skilled work experience and some recognised post graduate qualifications, and points for age will increase for applicants aged 30-39.

Points will no longer be available for qualifications in areas of absolute skills shortage, for employment, work experience and qualifications in Identified Future Growth Areas and for close family in New Zealand.

Read the Minister of Immigration’s media release


Questions and answers

What are the specific changes in each policy area?

Skilled employment

  • The same number of points will be awarded for both an offer of skilled employment and current skilled employment in New Zealand.
  • Remuneration thresholds are being introduced as an additional means of defining skilled employment.
  • Applicants with jobs at ANZSCO skill levels 1, 2 and 3 will only be awarded points for their employment if they are paid at or above NZ$48,859 per year (or NZ$23.49 per hour).
  • Applicants with jobs that are not in ANZSCO skill level 1, 2 or 3 occupations may be assessed as being in skilled employment if they are paid at or above NZ$73,299 per year (or NZ$35.24 per hour).
  • Bonus points will be awarded for remuneration at or above NZ$97,718.00 per year (or NZ$46.98 per hour)
  • Remuneration thresholds will be updated annually based on New Zealand income data.

Work experience

  • More points will be available for work experience.
  • Points will be awarded for skilled work experience in ANZSCO skill level 1, 2 and 3 occupations.
  • Points will be awarded for skilled New Zealand work experience of 12 months or more. There will be no additional points for work experience of two years or more.

Qualifications, age and partner’s qualifications

  • Points available for recognised level 9 or 10 post-graduate qualifications (Master’s degrees and Doctorates) will increase.
  • Points for people aged 30 – 39 years will increase.
  • Partner’s qualifications will only be awarded points if they are a recognised Bachelor’s level degree or higher or a recognised post-graduate (level 9 or higher) qualification.

Which factors will applicants no longer be able to gain points for?

Points for the following factors will be removed:

  • qualifications in an area of absolute skills shortage
  • skilled employment, work experience and qualifications in Identified Future Growth Areas
  • close family support in New Zealand

Are there any changes to the health, character or English language requirements?

No there are no changes to these aspects of the SMC instructions.

Why is the SMC changing?

The Government is committed to ensuring our immigration settings best support the economy and the labour market. These changes are designed to improve the skill composition of the SMC and ensure that it prioritises higher-paid and higher-skilled migrants.

Will the selection point change when the new SMC comes into effect?

The selection point is able to be adjusted by the Minister of Immigration as necessary for the overall planning range of the New Zealand Residence Programme, so the selection point may change from time to time. There is no information at the present time concerning where the selection point will be set when the adjusted Skilled Migrant Category is implemented.

Will the salary thresholds change?

The salary thresholds are based on information from New Zealand income data and will be reviewed annually.

What will happen to my Expression of Interest if it is in the Pool when the policy changes?

More detail will be available soon on how applicants at various stages of the Skilled Migrant Category process will be affected.

My SMC Expression of Interest (EOI) has been selected from the SMC Pool but I have not yet been invited to apply: if I obtain an invitation to apply before 14 August but do not submit my SMC residence application until after 14 August, can I be assessed under the current SMC instructions?

More detail will be available soon on how applicants at various stages of the Skilled Migrant Category process will be affected.

If my EOI is selected from the SMC Pool before 14 August but is then returned to the Pool, what will happen to my EoI?

More detail will be available soon on how applicants at various stages of the Skilled Migrant Category process will be affected.

When will more detailed information be available about the changes to the SMC?

We hope to have more information available in June 2017.

Kind regards,

Immigration Centre Team