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The recent immigration policy changes to the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) have largely targeted foreign workers who wish to settle in NZ. Two major changes to the SMC category have been announced:

  • The points threshold for selection has been increased from 100 to 160. This is an attempt from INZ to shift migrants away from Auckland to other parts of NZ.
  • The minimum English language requirement is an IELTS overall score of 6.5.

This means that the SMC path to residency is currently restricted to those who have reached 160 points AND achieved an IELTS overall score of 6.5 among other requirements.

What about chefs?

Luckily, chefs do not have to choose the SMC path to residency. There are six paths to residency and SMC is just one of them. Chefs are in luck because they are listed in the Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL), which means that there is high demand for highly skilled chefs both globally and throughout New Zealand.

To meet the requirements of Work to Residence visa, you must hold one of the qualifications or one equivalent to the New Zealand standards:

  • New Zealand Certificate in Cookery (NZQF Level 4)
  • National Certificate in Hospitality (Cookery) (NZQF Level 4)
  • New Zealand Diploma in Cookery (Advanced) (NZQF Level 5)
  • Diploma in Professional Cookery (NZQF Level 5)


  • A minimum of five years’ combined experience in establishments offering a la carte/banqueting or commercial catering with a minimum of two years at Chef de Partie (Section leader or higher).

If you satisfy these requirements, then you need to give us a call NOW to further discuss your options of getting the residency.

Remember, if you have received a letter from INZ about your visa application or think your visa may be declined soon – the time to act is NOW. Call us on 0800 967 584 to your FREE consultation. Our service is strictly confidential and we can guide you to take the right steps to avoid mistakes and put forward a strong case.

We will be writing more helpful articles in the future. Like our Facebook Page to be up to date with recent changes!

Kind regards,
Jig Patel