Last October 11, Immigration New Zealand implemented radical changes to the Skilled Migrant Category, Parent Category and the way it evaluates its English Language requirements. If you have been invited to apply prior to this date, the old rules will still apply to you. If not and interested to apply for residency, read on to learn how this affects you.
The biggest change is the selection of EOIs of only 160 points or more, which was raised from the previous 140 points. What this means is essentially pulling the plug on the residence hope of most international students, which had been flooding the New Zealand job market in recent years. Everybody saw this coming when Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said this on live TV. From a policy standpoint, what I see the NZ government is doing is essentially raising the bar for its skilled intake and only allowing immigrants who will not only pay more in tax money than the average Kiwi, but not compete with the locals for low to medium skilled labour. There is also mounting political pressure to decongest Auckland due to the housing crisis.
This is a profile of an individual or family with above 160 points:
- 10 years or more of work experience in an area of government identified shortage
- A recognised graduate or post graduate qualification related to the above
- A skilled New Zealand job offer outside of Auckland (annual salary of 70k or above would indicate the level of skill)
- Perhaps a partner who also works and passes the English requirement
If you fall to the above criteria then I don’t see any problem gaining residence if the paperwork is right. If you don’t, the only way around it would be to gain more experience in a comparative labour market, or gain higher qualifications. I will discuss this later on a separate article.
As for the English language requirement, Immigration NZ from October 12 would only accept IELTS score of 6.5 above on all bands (nurses and other professions might need higher) – reading, speaking, writing and listening. They’ve also added other alternatives like TOEFL and similar English tests. When I applied for residency eight years ago, I only presented my certificate of medium of instruction from UP Diliman. This has changed.
Frankly if you fall in the profile I mentioned above, I don’t see anyone not getting this score. I would recommend taking this test before lodging your EOI. You can review and retake it in case you fail to reach the minimum points. Please note there is an expiry of these certifications so time it accordingly.
For stopping the parent category, it is quite understandable from the position of the NZ government as most of these older folks coming into NZ contribute nothing economically and puts a serious strain to the public health system. Family reunification has been one of the values of Kiwi society but the current economic climate warrants this temporary halt.