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Skilled Migrant Residence

The most popular way to immigrate to New Zealand and live here permanently. Check if you qualify for the sufficient number of points and start your immigration process

The Skilled Migrant Residence system is points-based, with applicants receiving points for criteria ranging from Age to Work Experience and Qualifications. Applicants must score a minimum of 6 points in order to apply for this visa type.

Expression of Interest

An expression of interest (EOI) is a form you complete online to show that you are interested in moving to New Zealand to live. This is the first step towards residence.

In your EOI you will need to explain how you meet the requirements for the visa you wish to apply for and show that you can claim enough points. You don’t need to include any evidence with your EOI.

If your EOI meets our criteria, it’ll be entered into a selection pool. EOIs are drawn periodically from the pool, and it would normally take INZ anywhere from 1 to 5 weeks to invite you to apply for New Zealand residence.

Invitation to Apply

At this stage you are required to make a formal residence application, and have 4 months to gather and submit the documentation supporting the points you have claimed in your Expression of Interest. Please remember that this time cannot be extended, so try to prepare in advance.

Once the documents are collected, you courier them to Immigration New Zealand along with an application fee. An immigration officer will be assigned to the application within approximately 3 months (actual time may vary from case to case). When the case is allocated, verification process begins.

The processing times will vary depending on your particular case and the branch where your residence is being processed. It is estimated to take around 6 months from lodgement and 3 months from the case office allocation.

Residence and Permanent Residence

A Permanent Resident Visa is usually the next step after being granted a Resident Visa. The first residence visa you get has a travel condition. It means that you can move in and out of country until a certain date within first 24 months. While Resident Visas have travel conditions that only allow a person to re-enter New Zealand as a resident until a certain date, a Permanent Resident Visa allows indefinite re-entry to New Zealand – it is essentially the same visa but has no travel restrictions.

If you were the principal applicant of the original residence application, you can obtain a Permanent Resident Visa if you:

  • have held your resident visa for at least two years, and
  • have met any conditions of your Resident Visa, and
  • have shown a commitment to New Zealand in one of the five ways that meet our requirements.

How you can show commitment to New Zealand:

  • Significant period of time spent in New Zealand (184+ days in each of the two 12-month portions of the 24 months immediately preceding the date their application for a permanent resident visa)
  • Tax residence status in New Zealand
  • Investment in New Zealand (if initial resident visa was approved through the Business Investor Category)
  • Establishment of a business in New Zealand (having a successful business for 12+ months immediately preceding the date the application for a permanent resident visa)
  • Base established in New Zealand (if your immediate family members live here, you have  a family home here)
Disclaimer: information on our website is presented for general guidance only and may not reflect the latest changes in immigration law (though we always aim to update it as soon as practically possible). Please refer to Immigration New Zealand website for official immigration instructions.