In the dynamic landscape of immigration policies, staying informed about the recent changes is crucial for individuals aspiring to make New Zealand their new home. As of September 2023, the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) Visa has undergone significant transformations. 

Many people dream of living in beautiful Aotearoa and making this country a better place through their skills – by following the right steps and getting the right help, you can fulfil this dream.

Understanding The Skilled Migrant Category Visa

The Skilled Migrant Category is designed to attract individuals with valuable skills and expertise to New Zealand. Applicants are assessed based on requirements such as qualifications, work experience and job offer prospects. The goal is to ensure that immigrants bring skills that contribute to New Zealand’s economic growth and development.

In late 2023, this visa category underwent notable changes that affect those who wish to enter New Zealand through this pathway. Of course, if you’re planning on applying for this kind of visa to live and work in New Zealand, it’s vital that you understand these changes. The changes that became effective as of late 2023 include:

A New Points Allocation System. The points system, a pivotal aspect of SMC Visa applications, has witnessed adjustments to reflect evolving priorities. Applicants must accumulate a minimum of six points to qualify for this visa. These points can be claimed from three main categories:

  • New Zealand Occupational Registration: Applicants can claim 3 to 6 points based on this.
  • Qualification: Points can be claimed based on the applicant’s qualifications.
  • Income From Job Or A Job Offer: Points can be claimed based on the income earned from a job or job offer, provided that it is at least 1.5 times the median wage in NZ.

It’s crucial to note that points can only be claimed from one of the above skill categories. Combining points from multiple categories, such as qualifications and occupational registration, is not allowed. 

Applicants can also claim 1 point for each year of work in New Zealand, with a maximum of 3 points. These points can be combined with those claimed from occupational registration, qualification or income.

Skilled Job Offer Requirements. A significant change is the mandatory requirement for applicants to have a skilled job or job offer from an accredited employer in Aotearoa. This requirement persists even if applicants are claiming the maximum available points. For a job or job offer to be considered skilled, it must meet specific criteria:

  • The job must be at least 30 hours a week.
  • The job must fall under an ANZSCO Level 1 to 3 occupation and be paid at or above the median wage, or be in an ANZSCO Level 4 to 5 occupation and also paid at or above 1.5 times the median wage.
  • The position must be on a permanent contract or fixed-term contract for a minimum of 12 months.

Some Requirements Remain Unchanged

It’s important to note that the Skilled Migrant Category Visa has not been completely revamped. While substantial changes have been introduced, certain requirements for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa have remained constant. These include:

  • Character requirements.
  • Health requirements.
  • English language requirements.
  • Age requirements: Applicants must be 55 years old or under to be eligible to apply.

Applicants can also include their partners and dependent children, as long as the children are under the age limit of 24 years old, in their application – provided they also meet the English language, health and character requirements.

The Role Of Immigration Advisors In Navigating Change

As the SMC Visa changes, the significance of immigration advisors cannot be overstated. Here’s why engaging their services is instrumental in a successful visa application:

Up-To-Date Knowledge. The changes introduced in September 2023 are intricate and nuanced. Immigration advisers maintain up-to-date knowledge, ensuring applicants are well-informed about the current requirements and expectations. Relying on outdated or inaccurate information can jeopardise the success of a visa application.

Tailored Guidance. Every immigration case is unique, and skilled advisors provide personalised guidance based on individual circumstances. They assess qualifications, work experience and personal factors to develop strategies that maximise the chances of a successful visa application.

Document Preparation And Verification. One of the common pitfalls in visa applications is inadequate or incorrect documentation. Immigration advisers assist in preparing and verifying all necessary documents, reducing the possibility of errors that could lead to delays or rejections.

Ensuring Your Visa Success

These recent changes to the Skilled Migrant Category Visa herald a new era for immigration in Aotearoa. Staying informed about them is vital for prospective applicants, and seeking the guidance of immigration advisors is a strategic move towards successful visa applications. 

We at Auckland South Immigration Consultants are here to ensure you receive the expert guidance and assistance you deserve. We’re proud to help people like you with our extensive services, and we’d love to speak with you about your situation.

Would you like to get in touch with an immigration advisor today? Simply call us on +64 9 279 7283 or contact us through our website to get started.

Let us help you fulfil your dream of living and working in beautiful Aotearoa.