Skilled Migrant Category - New Zealand

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Skilled Migrant Category

SMC (Skilled Migrant Category)

The Skilled Migrant Category is the most common category for people wishing to migrate permanently to New Zealand. This category is for those whose professional experience and/or qualifications match those of the current needs of New Zealand and who are deemed to be skilled by Immigration New Zealand.

EOI (Expression of Interest)

Before you can apply to Migrate to New Zealand under the Skilled Migrant Category you need to fill out an Expression of Interest form which Immigration New Zealand looks at and lets you know if it is worth applying for residency. This was introduced because tens of thousands of people who had no chance of ever getting a visa made applications, sent in reams of documents and clogged up the system. If Immigration New Zealand believes you have a chance they will send you an Invitation to Apply.


Once you have lodged an Expression of Interest your form goes into the POOL. The Skilled Migrant Category works on a Points System where you are allocated a certain number of points for your age, profession, years of experience in that profession and a few other areas. Depending on how many points you have been allocated you will either be pulled from the pool and issued an Invitation to Apply, sent a decline letter or left in the pool if potentially eligible while people with more points are selected in priority over you. If you have not been pulled out of the pool by the end of 6 months a decision will be taken on your behalf by Immigration New Zealand which may result in an ITA or Decline letter.

ITA (Invitation to Apply)

Under the Immigration New Zealand system, you do not apply for residency, you are invited to apply. An ITA is the second step in the application process and here you must provide all the documentation that proves what you have said in your initial Expression of Interest. If you meet the criteria for residency which includes health, character and in certain cases professional experience and/or a suitable job offer an Immigration Officer can recommend your application be approved.However when you receive notice from immigration New Zealand inviting you to apply (ITA) it does not mean that you have been granted a Visa or permit. All it means is that based on the information you have supplied you MAY be eligible to migrate and they are inviting you to give more details so that they can fully asses your application.Well Done

Now you take a very deep breath and have your 1st lesson in patience !!!

You must wait for them to decide if they will Invite you To Apply (ITA). They do some basic checks on you e.g have you got an NZ criminal record or have you been refused entry.

This will take as long as it takes but normally a week or so. If you are invited to apply, you get half a tree ( I kid you not!) through your letterbox and you have 4 months to complete you application.

Whist you are waiting, it is worth gathering your evidence as follows

Full Birth Certificates Marriage Certificate Relationship Evidence Any Custodial evidence Work History Medicals Police Checks Job Offer (if relevant) Passports (you need more than 6 months on these) Passport Photos - lots of them

Any relevant medical history must be suuplied by your GP and/or Consultant NOT SHO, registrar or similar

All documents have to be originals NOT emails, faxes or photocopies unless certified