New Zealand Immigration Points System Explained
The New Zealand immigration points system is a pivotal part of your move to New Zealand as a skilled migrant. As such, it’s vital to understand how this system works and how you go about getting your points score.
Let’s start at the beginning though – what exactly is the New Zealand immigration points system?
What is the New Zealand immigration points system?
The New Zealand Immigration points system is one of the tools that Immigration New Zealand use in assessing whether or not you’re eligible to live and work in New Zealand.
Specifically, the points system is designed to allow the ranking of Expressions of Interest which enables Immigration New Zealand to extend Invitations to Apply to overseas applicants who have the most to offer to New Zealand.
How does the points system work?
The New Zealand points system judge your eligibility to live and work in New Zealand by awarding points for factors such as your age, whether or not you have a job offer, previous work experience, qualifications and your partner’s points score.
How many points must you get?
To apply for a Skilled Migrant visa, you must score at least 160 points. Due to this, your chances of successfully obtaining a skilled migrant visa will inevitably require that you have a job offer in place.
If you do not manage to score 160 points but you do score at least 100 points, in other words anywhere from 100 to 159 points, you’ll instead be eligible for an Essential Skills Work visa.
The main difference between these two work visas are the residency it offers. The Essential Skills Work Visa offers temporary residency while the Skilled Migrant visa offers permanent residency.
How does Immigration New Zealand award points?
Immigration New Zealand awards points under five categories:
- Skilled Employment
- Relevant Work Experience
- Your Partner’s Score
It is possible to score bonus points in certain categories. Before we get there, however let’s start with the age category and then we’ll work through all five categories as listed above.
- 30 points: 20-39 years
- 20 points: 40-44 years
- 10 points: 45-49 years
- 5 points: 50-55 years
Please note: You will not qualify if you’re older than 55.
2. Skilled employment
- 50 points: If you have an offer of skilled employment in New Zealand.
- 50 points: If you are currently employed in a skilled occupation in New Zealand.
Skilled employment means employment for which you need specialist, technical or management expertise as well as relevant qualifications and/or work experience to do. It may also be that a minimum pay threshold applies.
Under the Skilled Migrant Category, you can claim points for skilled employment based on a job you’re currently in, or a job offer you have received.
- 10 points where you are:
- In an occupation in an area of absolute skills shortage, or
- Employed in work in a region outside Auckland
- 20 points if:
- Your income is more than twice the New Zealand median income.
- Your partner also has a skilled job or job offer.
3. Relevant work experience
- 10 points: 2 years
- 20 points: 4 years
- 30 points: 6 years
- 40 points: 8 years
- 50 points: 10 years
- 10 points:
- 12 months or more
- And if the work experience in an area of absolute skills shortage bonus points as follows
- 10 points: 2 to 5 years
- 15 points: 6 or more years
- 40 points: Recognised level 4-6 qualification (e.g. trade qualification, diploma) or Level 3 qualification on the List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment.
- 50 points: Recognised level 7 or 8 qualification (e.g. bachelor degree, bachelor degree with honours)
- 70 points: Recognised level 9 or 10 post-graduate qualification (master’s degree, doctorate)
A recognised qualification is one that’s recognised based on:
- An assessment by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority of the level it occupies on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF).
- The level it occupies on the NZQF as set out in the ‘List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment’.
The level it occupies on the NZQF based on the applicant’s occupational registration in New Zealand (if that registration involves an assessment of comparability with a qualification on the ‘List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment’)
- 10 points for either:
- Two years full-time study in New Zealand completing a recognised NZ bachelor degree.
- One year of full-time study in New Zealand completing a recognised NZ post-graduate qualification.
- 15 points:
- Two years of full-time study in New Zealand completing a recognised post-graduate NZ qualification.
5. Your partner’s score
- 10 points: Your partner holds a level 7-8 qualification.
- 20 points: Your partner holds a recognised post-graduate (level 9-10) qualification.
What does your points score tell you?
Your skilled migrant points score not only acts as an indicator to Immigration New Zealand. Your points score also sets out your migration pathway. It does this by revealing three things:
- Whether or not you qualify for a skilled migrant visa.
- If you do not qualify, what other visa options you could pursue.
- The processes you must follow with your application.
Please keep in mind though that eligibility for a skilled migrant visa does not solely depend on your points score. In addition to achieving the necessary points, you must also meet certain basic criteria such being in good health and of good character.
A word of warning
You’ll find many free tools online that offer to help you calculate your skilled migrant points score.
Tread carefully though! Online tools are often nothing more than a series of yes or no questions. Few have detailed descriptions of requirements or provide guidance on the more intricate parts of the immigration act.
You could thus easily get the wrong points score which could mean that you waste money, build up false hopes and perhaps even miss your chance of immigrating to New Zealand.
Instead of relying on an online calculator, rather get a licensed advisor to calculate your points score for you. A licensed advisor who are up to date with Immigration New Zealand’s requirements will ask you the right questions and request additional information where necessary to calculate your points score.
Get assistance and get the correct score
Intergate Emigration has not one but three licensed immigration advisors to assist you with your visa application from start to finish. This includes explaining how the points system work and calculating your New Zealand points score.
All you have to do to get started is book a consultation call. During this consultation, our licensed immigration advisor will take you through the immigration process and how we can assist you. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.
What are you waiting for? Contact us today to get the ball rolling!
- Published in Working in New Zealand, Your Visa Application
ANZSCO: These are the 4 facts to know
ANZSCO. You may think this is just another immigration acronym, but you’d be wrong. ANZSCO plays a major role in your immigration if you’re applying under the skilled migrant category.
In fact, you’re more than likely not going to be able to apply for a work visa if you can’t meet ANZSCO’s requirements.
For this reason, it’s important to understand all that ANZSCO entails. While there is a lot of information to know, you really only need to know the four facts below to put yourself in a much better position than most people.
1. ANZSCO is the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations
ANZSCO stands for Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations. It is a system that’s used within the skilled migration programs to set guidelines for the skills and work experience visa applicants must meet to work in specific occupations in Australia or New Zealand.
ANZSCO is a joint venture between the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Statistics New Zealand and The Department of Education and Training.
2. ANZSCO sets skills and work experience standards for the skilled migrant category
As explained above, ANZSCO sets skills and work experience standards for occupations that fall under the skilled migrant category. Further to this, ANZSCO sets out the tasks under each occupation that visa applicants must be able to perform as part of their everyday duties.
What all of the above means is that ANZSCO determines the most important requirements you must meet in order to qualify to apply for a skilled migrant residence and temporary work visa.
The immigration officer assessing your visa application will compare your skills, experience and job duties with those under your occupation on ANZSCO to help her or him come to a decision on your visa application. If you don’t meet all of the requirements, your visa application may be declined.
Let’s look at an example
Let’s assume you’re a chemical engineer for which the ANZSCO code is 233111. According to this code, you must meet these criteria:
- Skill level 1: Bachelor degree or higher. In some instances, experience and/or on-the-job training may also be required.
- Job description: Designs and prepares specifications for chemical process systems and the construction and operation of commercial-scale chemical plants, and supervises industrial processing and fabrication of products undergoing physical and chemical changes.
- Preparing designs for chemical process systems and planning control systems for processes such as those used to remove and separate components, effect chemical changes, test and evaluate fuels, transfer heat, and control the storing and handling of solids, liquids and gases
- Monitoring the operation and maintenance of equipment to achieve maximum efficiency under safe operating conditions
- Ensuring correct materials and equipment are used and that they conform to specifications
- Diagnosing malfunctions in chemical plants and instituting remedial action
- Studying product utilisation and pollution control problems
- Reviewing plans for new products and submitting material selection recommendations in accordance with design specifications and factors such as strength, weight and cost
- Planning and implementing laboratory operations to develop new materials and fabrication procedures for new materials to fulfil production cost and performance standards
- Conferring with producers of materials during the investigation and evaluation of materials suitable for specific product applications
- Reviewing product failure data and implementing laboratory tests to establish or reject possible causes, and advising on ways to overcome any problems
The immigration officer assessing your application would thus want to see from your CV and official statement of service that you have the relevant qualification and experience to work as a chemical engineer in New Zealand.
Furthermore, the officer would want to see that you can perform most or all of the tasks associated with chemical engineers.
3. There are 5 skill levels within ANZSCO
In ANZSCO, skill level is used as an additional differentiator for occupations. Each occupation’s skill level is derived from the range and complexity of tasks associated with the occupation.
How many skill levels are there?
There are five skill levels of which Skill Level 1 is the highest. This means occupations on Skill Level 1 has the greatest range and complexity of tasks. Examples of occupations on Skill Level 1 are audiologists, social workers and surveyors.
Locksmiths, welders and motor mechanics, for instance, are on Skill Level 3. This means these occupations don’t have as many tasks or tasks that are as complex as the occupations on a higher skill level.
Occupations on Skill Level 5 have the smallest range of tasks with the least complexity.
4. You cannot ‘mix and match’ occupations
When applying for a skilled migrant resident or temporary work visa, your occupation and experience must be highly relevant as per the ANZSCO lead statement of the occupation you want to nominate.
Your occupation and experience must also match most of the duties listed. This does however not mean that you or your employer can simply ‘copy and paste’ the ANZSCO description to your application.
Here’s an example of what we mean:
Let’s assume Jane is working as a tutor. Jane might think that she can apply for a visa as a teacher. The job descriptions are similar, after all.
However, many of the tasks associated with teachers on ANZSCO is not performed by tutors. For instance, participating in staff meetings and performing extra-curricular activities such as assisting with sports at the school.
In the same way, a secondary school teacher cannot apply for a visa as a special education teacher. These are in the same profession but are not the same occupation with the same experience.
What if my occupation is not on the ANZSCO list?
There could be two reasons why you can’t find your occupation on ANZSCO:
- Your occupation title is a modern title which was developed more recently. ANZSCO does often not accommodate modern job titles.
- Your occupation is on the list but your job title doesn’t match the occupation title as it appears on ANZSCO. Some occupations are the same when you look at the responsibilities but might not have the same title across the industry. For example, some people call themselves ‘speech-language pathologists’ while others give themselves the title of ‘speech and language therapist’. It’s the same job – speech therapy – but just with another title.
If your occupation does not appear on the ANZSCO list, you should ensure that you:
- look at all other available titles, and
- select the most appropriate job title.
When you do this, you’ll increase the chances of the visa officer being satisfied that you can do ‘most’ of the tasks for the occupation recorded in ANZSCO.
Do you feel you need the assistance of an immigration agent?
You’re always welcome to contact us for assistance. Our immigration advisors are registered and licensed with the IAA in New Zealand. This means you can rest assured that you’ll get advice that you can trust!
- Published in Working in New Zealand, Your Visa Application
Let’s compare the English language tests
Today we’re going to compare the four English language test most migrants take – the IELTS General and Academic, the PTE Academic, and the TOEFL iBT – by doing a side-by-side comparison of these three sections of the tests:
- Test overview
- The parts of the test
- How long it takes to get your test results
This comparison will not only help you understand the differences between the tests, it will also familiarise you with each of these four tests.
Let’s get started:
In the test overview, we give you a short description of what each test assess and how it’s done.
IELTS General and IELTS Academic:
The IELTS tests assess your abilities in listening, reading, writing and speaking – in less than three hours. The Listening, Reading and Writing sections of all IELTS tests are completed on the same day, with no breaks in between them. The Speaking section, however, can be completed up to a week before or after the other tests. Your test centre will advise.
PTE Academic assesses listening, reading, speaking and writing all via computer in a single three hour test session. To complete a PTE Academic test, you will need to attend a secure Pearson test center. You will use a computer and headset to listen to, read and respond to questions.
The TOEFL iBT test measures your ability to use and understand English at the university level. It also evaluates how well you combine your reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills to perform academic tasks. The TOEFL iBT test is given in English and administered via the internet. It takes about 3 hours total for the 4 sections of the test (Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing).
All four English language tests assess your speaking, writing, reading and listening skills. However, the PTE Academic test assess your speaking and writing skills in one session while the other English tests assess each skill in an individual session.
IELTS General and IELTS Academic: Listening (30 min):
You’ll listen to four recordings of native English speakers and then write your answers to a series of questions. Assessors will be looking for evidence of your ability to understand the main ideas and detailed factual information, the opinions and attitudes of speakers, the purpose of an utterance and evidence of your ability to follow the development of ideas.
PTE Academic: Speaking & Writing (77 – 93 min):
- Personal introduction
- Read aloud
- Repeat sentence
- Describe image
- Re-tell lecture
- Answer short question
- Summarize written text
- Essay (20 mins)
TOEFL iBT: Reading: (54 – 72 min):
You’ll read three or four passages from academic texts and answer 30 to 40 questions.
IELTS General and IELTS Academic: Reading (60 min):
The Reading section consists of 40 questions, designed to test a wide range of reading skills. These include reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and recognising writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose.
- General: Reading material includes extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks and guidelines. These are materials you’re likely to encounter on a daily basis in an English-speaking environment.
- Academic: Reading material includes three long texts which range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. These are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers.
PTE Academic: Reading (32 – 40 min):
- Reading & writing: Fill in the blanks
- Multiple choice, choose multiple answers
- Re-order paragraphs
- Reading: Fill in the blanks
- Multiple choice, choose single answer
TOEFL iBT: Listening (41 – 57 min):
You’ll listen to lectures, classroom discussions and conversations, then answer 28 – 39 questions.
IELTS General: Writing (60 min):
Topics are of general interest. There are two tasks:
- Task 1: You’ll be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information, or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.
- Task 2: You’ll be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be fairly personal in style.
IELTS Academic: Writing (60 min):
Topics are of general interest to, and suitable for, test takers entering undergraduate and postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration. There are two tasks:
- Task 1: You’ll be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words. You may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event.
- Task 2: You’ll be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. Responses to both tasks must be in a formal style.
PTE Academic: Listening (45 – 75 min):
- Summarise spoken text
- Multiple choice, choose multiple answer
- Fill in the blanks
- Highlight correct summary
- Multiple choice, choose single answer
- Select missing word
- Highlight incorrect words
- Write from dictation
TOEFL iBT: Speaking (41 – 57 min):
Express an opinion on a familiar topic; speak based on reading and listening tasks. You’ll complete four tasks in total.
Part 4 – Only applies to IELTS and TOEFL iBT
IETLS General and IELTS Academic: Speaking (11 – 14 min):
The speaking section assess your use of spoken English. Every test is recorded.
- Task 1: The examiner will ask you general questions about yourself and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies and interests. This part lasts between four and five minutes.
- Task 2: You will be given a card which asks you to talk about a particular topic. You will have one minute to prepare before speaking for up to two minutes. The examiner will then ask one or two questions on the same topic.
- Task 3: You will be asked further questions about the topic in Task 2. These will give you the opportunity to discuss more abstract ideas and issues. This part of the test lasts between four and five minutes.
TOEFL iBT: Writing (50 min):
You’ll have to write essay responses based on reading and listening tasks, and support an opinion in writing.
When do you get your results?
Waiting for the results on such an important test is nerve-racking! It helps to know for how long you’ll have to wait. Here we break down the time frames:
IELTS General and IELTS Academic:
If you’ve taken a paper-based test, your Test Report Form will be available 13 days after you complete the test, but if you’ve taken a computer-delivered test, your results will be available between 5 and 7 days after your test.
PTE Academic results are typically available within five business days.
Score reports are available and can be viewed online in your TOEFL iBT account approximately six days after your test date. If you requested a paper copy, it will be mailed to you roundabout 11 days after your test date.
For even more information on each test, go to the individual websites:
Want to know which test you should take?
Our immigration consultants advise on English language tests during the assessment process. You’ll find out if you have to take an English test and which English test is best for your situation.
The first step is a consultation call to see if you are eligible for immigration to New Zealand. Should our advisor find that you are eligible, you can proceed with your visa application.
- Published in New Zealand Immigration Advice, Your Visa Application
COVID-19: New Zealand at alert level 1 – But how does it affect you?
New Zealand moved to alert level 1 at midnight on 8 June. This means life returned to just about normal for New Zealanders. There are no restrictions on going to work, school, socializing, sports and domestic travel.
But what does it mean to you as a visa holder, visa applicant or person who was hopeful to immigrate to New Zealand in the future? Especially considering that New Zealand still have border restrictions in place for the foreseeable future.
Let’s look at all the scenarios currently in play:
You’re living in New Zealand
When New Zealand’s lockdown started the partners and dependants of New Zealand citizens and residents could only travel to New Zealand with the New Zealander. Unfortunately, this meant that some families were split up. Thankfully, New Zealand has since decided that partners and dependants can travel to New Zealand on their own.
New Zealand has also decided to extend all work, visa, student, visitor or limited or interim visas with an expiry date of 2 April to 9 July 2002 until 25 September 2020. That’s provided you were in New Zealand on 2 April. Immigration New Zealand is emailing confirmation of these extensions to all eligible visa holders.
You’re living in New Zealand and you have a visa application in the system
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is processing onshore applications and has increased its visa processing capacity. This was possible due to INZ staff being able to return to their offices.
Unfortunately, all of INZ’s offshore offices remain closed.
INZ resumed the processing of residence applications on 14 May 2020 and is prioritizing applications from applicants who are in the country and from critical workers or applicants with a high income or occupational registration.
Temporary visa applications
INZ is prioritizing temporary visa applications from applicants who are critical workers to support the Government’s response to COVID-19. Furthermore, INZ is giving precedence to temporary visa applicants who are in New Zealand.
INZ has said that further changes to the prioritization criteria may be required as international travel restrictions change and more information becomes available about the effects of COVID-19 on the domestic labour market.
It is important to also note that you could expect an increase in processing times as INZ has advised that there will be an increase in the time and effort it takes to process some visa applications.
Skilled Migrant and Parent category applications
INZ has postponed selections for Expressions of Interest in the Skilled Migrant Category and Parent category until further notice. While this is sure to be disappointing if you’re a visa applicant in either of these categories, please take comfort in the fact that it is only a temporary measure.
You want to immigrate to New Zealand
The current situation is unfortunately conspiring against anyone who’s yet to officially start their immigration to New Zealand.
With that being said, you don’t have to give up on your dream of living in New Zealand!
We chatted to our advisors, and they had the following to say:
“In our opinion, once borders open up, New Zealand will be in dire need of skilled migrants that can fulfill the occupations that we have constantly dealt with over the past few years. For instance; mechanics. engineers, teachers and electricians. For applicants in those core occupations that have always been in shortage, we would recommend preparing documents in readiness for your future immigration plans and have an assessment performed.”
It is our recommendation that you do work with a licensed advisor at this stage. The temporary regulations, exceptions and exemptions announced in response to COVID-19 are changing regularly. It would be near impossible to stay on top of it all on your own.
Here’s one more thing you can while you wait for New Zealand to open…
Learn all you can about immigrating to and living in New Zealand
Make the most of the time you have right now be educating yourself on immigration to New Zealand and the country itself. Below are a couple of our blog posts that you use to kick off your reading:
- Your New Zealand immigration options: To help you understand your visa options and your visa application options.
- The criteria to emigrate to New Zealand: Familiarise yourself with the criteria for the visas in which you’re interested.
- 4 Uncomfortable truths about emigrating – plus the good news: Set yourself up with realistic expectations from the start.
- The cost of living for New Zealand as well as the three main cities: Give yourself a real understanding of how much it costs to live in New Zealand
- 10 New Zealand job agencies: If you prep and get your CV out, you’ll be one step ahead of the competition.
- Moving abroad with your family: Know the actionable steps to take to make a move overseas easier on your family.
- Make your relationship last when moving overseas with your partner: Moving abroad is incredibly stressful but with these tips your relationship don’t have to suffer!
- The best places to raise a family in New Zealand: Eight cities and towns across New Zealand offering everything from big city life to action-packed activities.
- FAQs: Education in New Zealand: 13 Questions about New Zealand’s schooling system plus the answers.
Stay in touch to know about future developments
The exceptions and temporary regulations changes New Zealand have made so far is sure not to be the last. As the coronavirus becomes less of threat, the borders are sure to open even more. This in turn could also ensure that things with visa applications slowly return to normal.
To know of changes as they happen, you can sign up to our newsletter or follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn. In the meantime, please feel free to contact us if you need help with a visa application.
- Published in News