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  • Bernhard Kreber

New 6 Point System For NZ Skilled Migrant Resident Visa

Starting on 9 October 2023, a new 6-point system will come into force for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa (SMC). The new SMC sets out skill indicators and provides options how an applicant can achieve the 6 points, which is the threshold for eligibility to apply for the SMC resident visa. You must also have a skilled, full-time job or job offer with an accredited employer in New Zealand when you apply for this visa.

You can claim 3-6 points from one of the three skill indicators, income, qualification, or occupational registration.

1. Income

Your New Zealand income for your job or offered job may give you 3 to 6 points for your resident visa application. To claim points from your income, your job or job offer must be full-time (minimum of 30 hours per week) and with an accredited employer. Whether you can claim points depends on how much your income is above the median wage, which currently is $29.66 per hour. For example, you can claim:

  • 3 points, if you earn 1.5 above the median wage (currently $44.49 per hour).

  • 4 points, if you earn twice the median wage (currently $59.32 per hour).

  • 6 points, if you earn three times the median wage (currently $88.98 per hour).

2. Qualification

You can get between 3-6 points depending on your highest qualification providing your degree is equivalent to the New Zealand qualification level and type of qualification.

For example, you can claim the following points if you have a:

  • Level 10 Doctorate Degree - 6 points

  • Level 9 Master’s degree - 5 points

  • Level 8 Bachelor’s degree or Post Graduate Diploma - 4 points

  • Level 8 Post Graduate Certificate or Level 7 Bachelor’s degree – 3 points

If you have a qualification from overseas, you may need to have it assessed by New Zealand Qualification Authority unless your qualification is exempt from assessment.

3. Occupational Registration In NZ

Applicants can claim points for occupational registration if they are on Immigration New Zealand’s list of occupations requiring registration. For example:

  • A minimum of 6 years of training is required to gain registration – 6 points.

  • A minimum of 5 years of training is required to gain registration – 5 points.

  • A minimum of 4 years of training is required to gain registration – 4 points.

  • A minimum of 2 years of training is required to gain registration – 3 points.

It is important to note that applicants can only claim points either from income, or qualification, or occupational registration. This means that you cannot combine points from multiple skill indicators, such as income and qualification.

Additional Points

If you cannot achieve 6 points from income, qualification, or occupational registration, then you can get additional points via skilled work experience in New Zealand. You can claim 1 point for each year of skilled work experience gained in New Zealand, up to a maximum of 3 points. The skilled work experience must be in a full-time job, with a minimum of 30 hours a week. You must also meet a wage threshold depending on the ANZSCO skills level of the job throughout the skilled work experience period.

You can claim points for skilled work experience in New Zealand from:

  • 36 months during the 60 months before you apply if you are claiming 3 points.

  • 24 months during the 48 months before you apply if you are claiming 2 points.

  • 12 months during the 24 months before you apply if you are claiming 1 point.

If you claimed points for income, then you must have at least the same pay rate for the entire skilled work experience period you claim in your application.

Whilst the new SMC is uncapped and aims to simplify the process for skilled migrants applying for New Zealand residency, you will still be required to meet age, character, English Language, health, and national security requirements. You can include your partner and dependent children in your SMC application.

Contact us if you want to discuss your SMC resident visa pathway.


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