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On 11 May 2022, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced New Zealand would reopen to all tourists and visa holders at 11:59 pm on 31 July 2022. That is two months sooner than initially planned!
The announcement also included details of the New Zealand Government’s “rebalanced immigration system” to address the country’s immediate skill shortages and speed up the economic recovery from COVID-19.
1. New Zealand fully reopens on 1 August!
New Zealand closed its borders to the world in 2020 and started to gradually reopen to different visa and visitor categories earlier this year.
On the 1st of August or 11:59 pm on 31 July, New Zealand is finally reopening completely for all visitors and visa holders!
Prime Minister Ardern rightly said that this announcement is welcome news for families, businesses and New Zealand’s migrant communities.
Tourism Minister Stuart Nash added that bringing the final border opening date forward allows New Zealand to fully reconnect to the world in time for the country’s traditional peak visitor season.
“Our wider tourism sector is on the way to recovery. We will be fully open to the world in mid-winter, traditionally our quietest period for visitors. Bringing forward the date allows prospective travellers to apply for visitor visas well ahead of time before taking the next step to book a flight or a cruise for future travel,” Minister Nash said.
2. Change ahead for international students once New Zealand reopens
Education Minister Chris Hipkins said the full reopening of the border is a significant milestone for the educational sector, which can now start to rebuild sustainably. The focus was on volume in the past, but that will change with the focus shifting to value.
To facilitate this shift, Immigration New Zealand will implement these changes:
- Students in non-degree level courses will not get post-study work rights except where they are studying and working in specified shortages and skilled occupations.
- For degree-level and other eligible international students, the length of time they can work after their students will mirror the time they study in New Zealand. Masters and PhD students will retain the right to work in New Zealand for up to three years after their studies.
- Students will also not be able to apply for a second post-study visa in New Zealand.
3. Simplified immigration processes and a new occupation list to benefit skilled migrants and employers
The New Zealand Government has announced a “rebalanced immigration system” that’ll incentivise and attract highly-skilled migrants and simplify immigration processes for businesses.
The cornerstone of this rebalanced immigration is the new Green List that features 85 hard-to-fill roles in construction, engineering, trades, healthcare and tech.
The other key component is the new Accredited Employer Work Visa that comes into effect on 4 July 2022.
“Through the Accredited Employer Work Visa, employers won’t need to provide as much information, can use their own recruitment processes to prove no New Zealanders are available for work, and Immigration New Zealand will endeavour to have these visas processed within 30 days once an employer is accredited,” Prime Minister Ardern said.
One of the critical requirements of the Accredited Employer Work Visa will be that the visa applicant earns at least the median wage. The current median wage is NZD27.76 an hour, and it’s updated once a year.
The wage requirement does affect some industries more than others, but the New Zealand Government is working closely with those sectors to assist with the transition.
Individual workers are also affected, but Minister of Immigration Kris Faafoi announced that the Government would extend the visas of around 20,000 visa holders already in the country to ensure skilled workers stay in New Zealand. This extension will be specifically for visa holders with visas expiring before 2023. They’ll either get a six-month extension or a new two-year visa with open work conditions.
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New Zealand is rebuilding its economy after the COVID-19 pandemic. For this reason, New Zealand is in dire need of overseas professionals with engineering, IT, and construction skills.
New Zealand is also recruiting teachers from overseas as COVID-19 created a shortage of education professionals.
You can book your consultation call right away if you’re in one of these industries and you want to find out if you qualify for a work visa.
Once that’s done, continue reading to find more about working in New Zealand in each skills area.
Engineering skills are in short supply in New Zealand. According to New Zealand Now, it’s estimated that New Zealand needs 1,500 engineers more each year just to match economic growth.
And it’s an exciting time to be an engineer in New Zealand.
The Government pledged NZ$12 billion in 2020 to infrastructure upgrades as part of its Upgrade Programme. The Programme will focus on rails, roads, schools, and hospitals to future-proof New Zealand’s economy.
Engineering occupations on the Skills Shortage lists
New Zealand’s Skill Shortage lists include a wide range of engineering occupations, including engineers, draughting professionals, and technicians:
- Chemical Engineer (233111)
- Materials Engineer (233112)
- Civil Engineer (233211)
- Geotechnical Engineer (233212)
- Structural Engineer (233214)
- Electrical Engineer (233311)
- Electronics Engineer (233411)
- Industrial Engineer (233511)
- Mechanical Engineer (233512)
- Production or Plant Engineer (233513)
- Environmental Engineer (233915)
- Engineering Professionals nec (233999)
- Civil Engineering Technician (312212)
- Electrical Engineering Technician (312312)
- Electronic Engineering Technician (312412)
- Telecommunications Engineer (263311)
- Telecommunications Network Engineer (263312)
- Civil Engineering Draughtsperson (312211)
- Electrical Engineering Draughtsperson (312311)
How much do engineers get paid in New Zealand?
You’ll find salary information for engineers in New Zealand on PayScale. To get you started, we’ve listed the salaries for chemical, environmental and industrial engineers below:
Finding engineering jobs in New Zealand
Engineering New Zealand, the professional body for engineers in New Zealand, is your first port of call when job hunting. Their website has a job section with available positions across all New Zealand regions.
You can also explore these job websites:
2. IT specialists
New Zealand’s tech sector comprises over 20,000 firms that employ more than 100,000 people. And it is renowned globally for being a flexible, resilient, adaptable, and entrepreneurial environment.
Traditionally, most tech workers lived and worked in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, but that picture can look different in the future, thanks to more companies offering remote work.
IT occupations on the Skills Shortage lists
New Zealand needs various IT professionals, ranging from web developers to security specialists:
- Multimedia Specialist (Film Animator) (261211)
- ICT Project Manager (135112)
- Organisation and Methods Analyst (224712)
- ICT Business Analyst (261111)
- Systems Analyst (261112)
- Multimedia Specialist (261211)
- Web Developer (261212),
- Analyst Programmer (261311)
- Software Tester (261314)
- Developer Programmer (261312)
- Software Engineer (261313)
- Software and Applications Programmers nec (261399)
- Database Administrator (262111)
- ICT Security Specialist (262112)
- ICT Support Engineer (263212)
- Systems Administrator (262113)
- Computer Network and Systems Engineer (263111)
- Network Administrator (263112)
- ICT Quality Assurance Engineer (263211)
- ICT Systems Test Engineer (263213)
- Telecommunications Engineer (263311)
- ICT Support and Test Engineers nec (263299)
- Telecommunications Network Engineer (263312)
- ICT Customer Support Officer (313112)
How much do IT workers get paid in New Zealand?
IT professionals get paid well in New Zealand. However, your salary will still depend on your occupation, skills, and experience.
Here’s what web developers, security specialists, and system administrators earn annually on average:
Finding IT jobs in New Zealand
There are plenty of IT jobs in the market. You can use any of the websites below to look for suitable positions:
3. Construction workers
New Zealand’s Upgrade Programme will not only benefit the engineering industry, as discussed earlier, but also the construction sector. It’s estimated that around 4,800 construction jobs will be created each year until 2028.
Most jobs will be in residential buildings in New Zealand’s largest cities and regions, mainly Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, the Waikato region, and Bay of Plenty.
The fastest-growing sector is projected to be infrastructure, specifically transport, water, and subdivision projects.
In short? It’s an excellent time to immigrate to New Zealand if you’re a construction worker.
Construction occupations on the Skills Shortage lists
New Zealand needs construction workers at all levels of the industry:
- Construction Project Manager (133111)
- Project Builder (including Building Project Manager and Site Foreman) (133112)
- Quantity Surveyor (233213)
- Surveyor (232212)
- Construction Project Manager (Foreman) (Roading and Infrastructure) (133111)
- Project Builder (including Building Project Manager and Site Foreman) (133112)
- Building Associate (312112)
- Surveying or Spatial Science Technician (Building Information Modelling Professional) (312116)
- Building Inspector / Building Surveyor (312113)
- Surveying Technician (Spatial Science Technician/Land Surveyor’s Technician) (312116)
- Surveying Technician (Spatial Science Technician/ Hydrographic Technician) (312116)
How much do construction workers get paid in New Zealand?
Construction workers are paid well in New Zealand. Here are the average annual salaries for quantity surveyors, building inspectors, and construction project managers:
Finding construction jobs in New Zealand
You can find opportunities in the construction industry on these job websites:
New Zealand has a great education system, and it’s one that’s well supported. The country has been spending one of the highest proportions of its GDP on primary to tertiary educational institutions among OECD countries.
New Zealand’s education system has also been recognised as one that prepares students for the future. Students aren’t only taught subject matter but also life skills such as critical thinking, creativity, communication, entrepreneurship, and digital skills.
You can thus expect to teach in an exciting environment and in a country that supports its schools and teachers.
Teaching occupations on the Skills Shortage lists
New Zealand’s Skill Shortage lists include these teaching occupations:
- Early Childhood (Preprimary School) Teacher (241111)
- Primary School Teacher (241213)
- Secondary School Teacher (241411)
How much do teachers get paid in New Zealand?
You can expect to earn these average annual salaries when teaching in New Zealand:
Finding teaching jobs in New Zealand
New Zealand’s Ministry of Education’s website has a vacancies section with public sector teaching jobs. You can search by region, sector, learning area, and position type. It’s an excellent place to start your job search!
What are the work visas for which skilled workers can apply?
As someone with an occupation on a Skills Shortage list, you could qualify for a Skilled Migrant visa, or an Essential Skills work visa.
1. Skilled Migrant visa
The Skilled Migrant Visa is a residency visa that allows you to stay in New Zealand indefinitely. In your residence application, you can include your partner and dependent children who are 24 and younger.
To apply for a Skilled Migrant visa, you must:
- Be 55 or younger
- Have an offer of skilled employment
- Get at least 160 points in your skills assessment
- Pass your English test
- Meet New Zealand’s health and character requirements
2. Essential Skills Work Visa
The Essential Skills Work Visa is a temporary visa that allows you to live and work in New Zealand for up to three years. Your partner or dependent children may be able to apply separately for visas based on their relation to you.
To apply for an Essential Skills work visa, you must meet these requirements:
- You must have a full-time job offer from a New Zealand employer.
- Immigration New Zealand must be satisfied that there are no suitable New Zealanders to fill the position.
- Your remuneration must be according to the ANZSCO level of your occupation.
- Your occupation must appear on a Skills Shortage list, and you must have the necessary skills and experience to carry out this occupation.
Please note that the Essential Skills work visa will get replaced by the Accredited Employer Work Visa from 4 July 2022.
Want to find out if you qualify for either work visa?
If you work in engineering, construction, or IT, or you’re a teacher, you can find out if you can apply for a work visa by completing an eligibility assessment.
Our licensed immigration advisor can do such an assessment with you. You’ll get personalised immigration recommendations based on the outcome.
Sound good? Then go ahead and book a consultation call. You’ll also get to ask any questions you might have during your consultation.
* All salaries derived from PayScale.
When comparing the cost of living in New Zealand vs Australia, New Zealand is the more affordable country to live in.
On average, consumer prices in New Zealand are 3.96% lower than in Australia. Rent and groceries cost 17.70% and 5.92% less. Eating out at a restaurant will also cost less in New Zealand.
Percentages means little though. Let’s look at actual numbers instead.
The cost of everyday goods and services in New Zealand compared to Australia
According to cost-of-living comparison website Numbeo, the costs below are how much you’ll spend on rent, groceries and dining out in New Zealand versus Australia.
All costs are in New Zealand dollars for a side-by-side comparison but we’ve also added the Australian costs in brackets.
1-bedroom apartment in the city centre
1-bedroom apartment outside the city centre
3-bedroom apartment in the city centre
3-bedroom apartment outside the city centre
Loaf of fresh white bread
White rice, 1kg
Local cheese, 1kg
Chicken fillets, 1kg
Beef round, 1kg
|Eating Out||New Zealand||Australia|
Meal, inexpensive restaurant
3-course meal for two people, mid-range restaurant
McMeal at McDonalds
Domestic beer, 500ml
Imported beer, 300ml
Water, 300ml bottle
Let’s also look at salaries to get the full picture
It’s not enough to only consider everyday costs when investigating the cost of living in a country.
You must also know how much you’ll to earn to get the full picture. A basket of groceries totaling $100 won’t affect someone earning $5,000 a month the same as someone who earns $10,000 a month.
The salaries are listed in New Zealand dollars but you’ll find the Australian salaries in brackets.
You can search for your own occupation on Payscale if you don’t see it on our list.
|Job category||New Zealand (Annual)||Australia (Annual)|
|Chemical Engineer||64,996||59,681 (A$71,710)|
|Diesel Mechanic*||71,216||65,393 (A$74,860)|
|Early Childhood Educator*||53,089||48,748 (A$51,102)|
|General Practitioner*||148,202||136,083 (A$129,379)|
|Industrial Engineer||77,511||71,173 (A$66,783)|
|Maintenance Planner*||76,978||70,684 (A$93,522)|
|Mechanical Engineer*||66,550||61108 (A$73,628)|
|Quantity Surveyor||73,301||67,307 (A$73,585)|
|Registered Nurse*||62,433||57,328 (A$66,091)|
|Social Worker||56,163||51,571 (A$68,673)|
|Software Engineer*||73,820||67,784 (A$79,844)|
|Speech Therapist||67,806||62,262 (A$70,589)|
The cost of living in New Zealand is lower than in Australia. You’ll spend less at the tills when doing your monthly grocery shopping, and you’ll also spend less at restaurants and when paying your rent.
When considering these costs, it’s also important to factor in how much you’ll earn to get a realistic idea of how much buying power your salary gives you.
The short answer to whether or not New Zealand have a good quality of life? Absolutely!
Time and again, New Zealand performs well in quality of life reports. Even during times of hardship, like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Let’s look at four recent indexes and reports that measure the quality of life to see how New Zealand performed compared to other countries around the world:
1. Better Life Index – OECD
The OECD Better Life Index measures the well-being of societies by looking at 11 topics. These topics reflect what the OECD identified as essential to well-being in terms of material living conditions and quality of life.
The 38 countries that form part of the Index are all OECD members and include the world’s most developed economies and several emerging economies, plus Brazil, Russia and South Africa.
What is the OECD?
The OECD is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and it’s an international organization that works to build better policies for better lives. The OECD’s goal is to shape policies that foster prosperity, equality, opportunity, and well-being.
Here’s how New Zealand performed:
New Zealand performs well in many dimensions of well-being relative to other countries in the Better Life Index. New Zealand outperforms the OECD average in income, jobs, education, health, environmental quality, social connections, civic engagement and life satisfaction.
- Disposable income: The average New Zealand household’s net-adjusted disposable income per capita is USD39,024 a year, which is more than the OECD average of USD30,490 a year.
- Employment: About 77% of people aged 15 to 64 in New Zealand have a paid job, which is above the OECD employment average of 66%.
- Education: The average New Zealand student scored 503 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This score is higher than the OECD average of 488.
- Health: At birth, New Zealanders have a life expectancy of around 82 years, which is one year higher than the OECD average of 81 years.
- Social Connections: There is a strong sense of community in New Zealand, and 95% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need.
- Life satisfaction: When asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10, New Zealanders gave it a 7.3 grade on average, which is higher than the OECD average of 6.7.
2. The Global Liveability Report 2021 – The Economist Intelligence Unit
The Global Liveability Report ranks 140 global cities for their urban quality of life based on stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure assessments. In 2021, the Report measured how COVID-19 affected liveability worldwide.
Who is the Economist Intelligence Unit?
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is the research and analysis division of The Economist Group, the sister company to The Economist newspaper. The EIU has a global team of economists, industry specialists, policy analysts and consultants.
Here’s how New Zealand’s cities performed:
The 10 most liveable cities in the world in 2021 were as follows:
- Auckland, New Zealand
- Osaka, Japan
- Adelaide, Australia
- Wellington, New Zealand
- Tokyo, Japan
- Perth, Australia
- Zurich, Switzerland
- Geneva, Switzerland
- Melbourne, Australia
- Brisbane, Australia
As you can see, Auckland is the world’s most liveable city! The city owes this ranking to its ability to contain the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic faster and thus lift restrictions earlier, unlike other cities around the world.
Wellington moved from 15th place in the 2020 Report to 4th place in the 2021 report, also due to its relative freedom during the COVID-19 pandemic.
3. Quality of Life Index 2022 – Numbeo
Numbeo’s Quality of Life Index is an estimation of the overall quality of life. It considers purchasing power, pollution, house price to income ratio, cost of living, safety, healthcare, traffic commute time, and climate.
Who is Numbeo?
Numbeo is the world’s largest database of user-contributed data about cities and countries worldwide.
Here’s how New Zealand performed:
New Zealand is in 9th place on the latest Quality of Life Index from Numbeo. The rest of the top 10 are Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland, Australia, Iceland, Germany, Austria, and Norway.
When looking at the indices, New Zealand ranked at number 19 for purchasing power, which means your money will go further in New Zealand than in many other countries. New Zealand also came in the top 20 for healthcare.
4. Quality of Life Ranking – US News
The Quality of Life Ranking from the US News measures the quality of life in 78 countries worldwide. The Ranking considers a variety of factors, ranging from the state of the job market to how family-friendly a country is.
Who is US News?
US News & World Report is a digital media company dedicated to helping consumers, business leaders and policy officials make important decisions. They use world-class data and technology to publish independent reporting, rankings, journalism and advice.
Here’s how New Zealand performed:
According to the Quality of Life Ranking from the US news, New Zealand has the tenth-highest quality of life globally. The other countries in the top 10 are Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, the Netherlands, and Germany.
New Zealand scored particularly well for:
- Being family-friendly
- Being economically stable
- Its well-developed public education and health systems
- Being politically stable
- Being a safe country to live in
Why is New Zealand’s quality of life important?
Your quality of life matters because it directly affects your physical and mental well-being.
Someone who lives in a clean, safe and thriving country with quality healthcare, access to education and jobs, a stable economy, and plenty of opportunities will be much happier than a person living in a country that misses the mark on some or all of these indicators.
Thus, you want to ensure that when you move to another country it offers an enviable quality of life.
You don’t want to be worse off than where you are – you want to maintain or improve your and your family’s quality of life.
As we saw, New Zealand’s quality of life is among the best in the world. When you decide to call this beautiful country your home, your overall well-being will benefit tremendously!
Do you want to learn more about the Skilled Migrant Visa of New Zealand? Then you’ve come to the right place!
We’re answering all of your burning questions about this visa in this article. If you’re eager to find out if you can apply for a Skilled Migrant Visa by the end of the article, you should book a consultation call with our licensed advisor.
Now on to those frequently asked questions:
1. What is the Skilled Migrant Visa?
The Skilled Migrant Visa is a work visa. This visa enables you to live and work in New Zealand permanently.
You may also study if you wish, but you may not be self-employed. If you want to run your own business, you’ll have to look into the Entrepreneur Visa.
2. What are the Skilled Migrant Visa requirements?
Immigration New Zealand seeks skilled migrants to fill labour gaps in the country’s workforce. For this reason, you’ll have to meet strict requirements that are mainly related to your:
Apart from this, you’ll also have to be under the age of 55 and meet the following criteria:
- English language requirements associated with the Skilled Migrant Visa
- New Zealand’s health and character requirements
3. For how long is a skilled migrant visa valid?
The Skilled Migrant Visa is a residency visa and is thus valid indefinitely. You can work, live and study in New Zealand, and include your partner, and dependent children aged 24 and under, in your visa application.
4. What is classed as skilled work in New Zealand?
Immigration New Zealand uses the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupation (ANZSCO) to classify ‘skilled work’.
ANZSCO is 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.
Here’s how it works, as explained by Immigration New Zealand:
When applying for a Skilled Migrant Visa, you must find the closest matching ANZSCO occupation for your current job or job offer. You must also be suitably qualified to do the job, which means your training and experience should match your occupation’s ANZSCO skill level.
INZ will assess your occupation as skilled if it is:
- Is described in the ANZSCO as a skill level 1, 2 or 3, and it:
- Mostly matches the ANZSO descriptions of that occupation
- Meets the pay rate threshold of NZ$ 27 per hour (or equivalent annual salary) or more, or
- Is described in the ANZSCO as skill level 4 or 5, and it
- Mostly matches the ANZSO descriptions of that occupation
- Meets the pay rate threshold of NZ$ 40.50 per hour (or equivalent annual salary) or more, or
- Has no matching description in the ANZSCO and meets the pay rate threshold of NZ$ 40.50 per hour (or the equivalent annual salary) or more
5. What jobs are in demand in New Zealand?
Jobs that are in high demand in New Zealand are in a few key industries:
- Healthcare: Nurses, General Practitioners, Specialist Physicians, etc
- Education: Early Childhood Teachers, Academic Advisers, University Lecturers, etc
- IT: Developers, ICT Project Managers, ICT Security Specialists, etc
- Construction: Construction Project Manager, Civil Engineer, Quantity Surveyors, etc
As New Zealand’s needs change, those industries change.
For example, New Zealand focused heavily on healthcare at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Immigration New Zealand even went as far as creating border exceptions specifically for healthcare workers.
6. How do I get a skilled migrant visa for New Zealand?
The first step to getting a Skilled Migrant Visa for New Zealand is meeting the basic criteria:
- You’re 55 or younger
- Your occupation appears on one of New Zealand’s Essential Skills in Demand Lists
- You have a job offer
- Your points score from your skills assessment is 160 or more
- You meet the English language requirements
- You meet New Zealand’s health and character requirements
The second step, once you’ve been assessed as skilled and you scored at least 160 points, you can submit an Expression of Interest (EOI).
If Immigration New Zealand selects your EOI, you’ll get an invitation to apply for a Skilled Migrant Visa.
At this stage, you’ll get to lodge your visa application – and if it’s successful, you’ll get a Skilled Migrant Visa.
7. What are New Zealand’s Essential Skills in Demand Lists?
New Zealand has three Essential Skills in Demand Lists. These lists capture all the highly-skilled occupations for which there are a shortage of local skilled workers.
Long Term Skills Shortage List (LTSSL)
The Long Term Skills Shortage List identifies occupations with a sustained and ongoing shortage of highly skilled workers throughout New Zealand. In other words, your occupation is in demand not just now but also for the foreseeable future.
Regional Skill Shortage List (RSSL)
The Regional Skilled Shortage List (RSSL) identifies 15 regions with occupations with an immediate shortage of skilled workers, which gives migrants a better idea about opportunities in regional areas.
Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List (CISSL)
The Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List also contains immediate short-term skills shortages, but these shortages are specific to the construction industry.
You can only move on to the next step of the process if you meet all of these requirements – submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI). If your EOI is selected from the pool by INZ, you’ll get an invitation to apply for a Skilled Migrant Visa.
8. How many points do I need to apply for a Skilled Migrant Visa?
You’ll need at least 160 points to submit an Expression of Interest. Immigration New Zealand only invites EOIs with 160 points or more to apply for a Skilled Migrant Visa.
What if I can’t score 160 points?
You might have to consider another work visa if you cannot score 160 points or more in your skills assessment. You could also explore other visas that allow you to live in New Zealand, such as the Entrepreneur or Investor visas.
How can I increase my points score?
The best way to score more points is with a job offer. As explained earlier, it’s near impossible to achieve 160 points or more in your skills assessment without a job offer.
However, it is best to speak with a licensed immigration advisor regarding your points. That is the best way to get an accurate points score.
9. What is an Expression of Interest?
Your Expression of Interest (EOI) is how you notify Immigration New Zealand of your desire to apply for a Skilled Migrant Visa.
Your EOI will contain information related to the criteria of the Skilled Migrant Visa, which means your:
- English language ability
INZ will review all EOIs in the pool and select the EOIs it feels are the best candidates for immigration to New Zealand. Remember that you’re applying under a skilled category, so competition is fierce!
How long does an EOI stay in the pool?
Your Expression of Interest will stay in the EOI pool for six months. You’ll have to reapply if INZ does not select your EOI during this timeframe.
However, if your EOI is selected, you’ll get an invitation to apply for a Skilled Migrant Visa.
10. How long does it take to get a skilled migrant visa for New Zealand?
Immigration New Zealand publishes how long it takes them to process applications on their website.
Currently (March 2022), INZ completes 50% of applications within 26 months, while it completes 75% and 90% of applications within 28 and 31 months.
Your immigration advisor should also be able to give you a timeframe for the entire process.
On 16 March, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that New Zealand is bringing forward the date for opening the borders to Australians and arrivals from visa-waiver countries.
This announcement comes after New Zealand also brought forward the date for allowing New Zealanders and other eligible travellers through the country’s borders.
Australians welcome from 12 April, and borders are opening to visa-waiver travellers from 1 May
In New Zealand’s original 5-stage border reopening plan, its borders would’ve opened to Australians and travellers from visa-waiver countries in July.
Now the borders will open to these groups of people two months earlier than planned!
Australians can once again travel to New Zealand from Tuesday, 12 April at 11.59pm, while vaccinated travellers from visa-waiver countries are welcome from Sunday, 1 May at 11.59pm.
“Reopening in time for the upcoming Australian school holidays will help spur our economic recovery in the short term and is good news for the winter ski season,” said Prime Minister Ardern.
She added, “In a world still battling COVID-19, travellers will be discerning about where they go in the short term. Our strong health response, including the lowest death rate in the OECD over the past two years and our high rates of vaccination, alongside our reputation as a beautiful place to visit, will be an asset in this market. I am proud that New Zealand is a country which is able to provide a safe place for tourists to return to due to our strong health response to COVID-19.”
New Zealand’s also welcoming temporary visa holders and international students from 12 April
As per New Zealand’s original 5-stage plan, its borders will reopen to current offshore temporary visa holders and international students on 12 April:
- Temporary work and student visa holders who still meet their visa requirements — this includes people currently outside New Zealand and those who leave and want to return
- Up to 5000 international students to study in semester 2
The rest of the border reopening plan also remains as is
Immigration New Zealand has announced no other changes to date. That means the following:
- From July: New Zealand’s borders will open to Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) holders.
- From October: The border reopens, and standard visa processing resumes for all categories, including visitor and student visas, unless the visa is closed or paused.
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COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins made two big announcements on 28 February 2022.
The first announcement was that New Zealand is removing self-isolation requirements for vaccinated travellers. The other announcement was that New Zealand is bringing forward stage two of the border reopening plan.
All self-isolation requirements removed from 2 March for fully vaccinated travellers
The New Zealand government has decided to drop the requirement for self-isolation for fully vaccinated travellers upon arrival in New Zealand after consultation with the Strategic COVID-19 Public Health Advisory Group and the Director General of Health.
This decision means that all New Zealanders coming home and tourists entering the country will be able to step off the plan and enter the community immediately, and it takes effect on Wednesday, 2 March.
Travellers must still have a negative pre-departure PCR test, though, and undertake two rapid antigen tests on arrival and also at day 5 or 6. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will have to report it and isolate for the same period as a community case (at least 10 days).
“Caution has served us well during the past two years and as we continue to move through the Omicron outbreak and peak, we will continue to remove restrictions when advised it is safe to do so – as we always said we would,” Minister Hipkins said.
New Zealand is bringing forward stage two of the border reopening plan
New Zealand released a 5-stage border reopening plan on 3 February 2022.
The first stage of the plan kicked off on 27 February. The second stage, that’ll allow travel to New Zealand from anywhere in the world for fully vaccinated New Zealanders and eligible travellers, was scheduled for 13 March.
The New Zealand government has now confirmed that it’ll bring forward the second stage to Friday, 4 March.
“We are able to take these decisions because we have a highly vaccinated population and good public health restrictions through the COVID-19 Protection Framework in place,” Minister Hipkins said.
Minister Hipkins also said that the New Zealand government will review the timings of the remaining stages of the border reopening plan in the coming weeks. That could mean that we could see New Zealand’s borders reopen fully much sooner than October.
Be the first to know about more positive changes to border restrictions
The two changes the New Zealand government made in February has been welcome news. Especially after almost no movement on COVID-19 regulations and border restrictions after two years!
You can rest assured that we’ll keep you informed of any changes that happens in the future. Hopefully it won’t be too long until we can do so either. Follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn to ensure that you stay in the loop.
You’ve decided to give yourself and your family a better life in New Zealand. You can’t wait to pack your bags!
Hold on just a minute before grabbing your suitcases. There are some things that are important to know long before moving to New Zealand.
1. You’ll need patience (and lots of it)
Immigrating is not for the fainthearted.
You’re going to have to become familiar with complex immigration terms, compile mounds of paperwork, and deal with bureaucracy. You might also wait longer than you wish to on the outcome of your visa application.
And that’s all before you set foot in New Zealand!
When things test your patience, take a couple of deep breaths, go for a walk, listen to your favourite music or have a laugh with a friend. You’ll get back to organising your immigration with a clearer mind and more energy.
2. Culture shock is real – even if you’re moving from another English-speaking country
Every country in the world has different customs and traditions, and work in unique ways, making culture shock part and parcel of moving to another country.
You’ll find it in the big things, like how to buy a house, and the little things, like how to greet people.
The best way to adjust to life in New Zealand is to go easy on yourself. Give yourself time to get used to the new way of doing things. Rome wasn’t built in a day!
3. New Zealand might not meet all your expectations
It’s normal to daydream about your new life in New Zealand, and to imagine all the ways in which your life will be better.
And it’s highly likely that your life will improve. After all, New Zealand is one of the safest countries in the world, and it offers an exceptionally high quality of life.
But that doesn’t mean New Zealand will meet all your expectations. You might still be disappointed about some aspects of daily life in New Zealand.
That is okay, and it’s normal. No country is perfect.
4. You might find it tough to make new friends – but it is possible
Unless you already have friends and family in New Zealand, you’ll have to build a brand-new social circle once you’ve settled.
You might find this exercise hard. It’s not always easy to meet new people in a new country!
Here’s what you can do to make friends:
- Say ‘yes’ if colleagues invite you to lunch or drinks after work.
- Join expat groups like Internations to meet other people who are in the same boat as you are.
- Take a class in something you’re passionate about, like pottery, dance or cooking.
- Join a local hiking club or any other sports club.
Until you have a group of new friends, make an extra effort to stay in touch with loved ones back home. It’ll do wonders for your mental health.
5. It’s all going to be worth it!
You’re going to hit times of uncertainty when you wonder if you’ve made the right decision. Especially when things are testing your patience or taking longer than expected.
Here’s the good news – it’s going to be worth it.
You’ll get exposed to new experiences, make new memories, grow professionally, and get to see your children flourish. You’ll grow beyond your comfort zone, and you’ll be a fully-fledge New Zealander before you know it.
Immigration New Zealand had a plan to start reopening its borders in January. Unfortunately, a new COVID variant started spreading around the world in December.
New Zealand quickly decided to push back the start of its border plan to the end of February.
Today we’re happy to report that New Zealand is not delaying the reopening of its borders any further! The first stage of New Zealand’s new 5-staged plan kicks off at the end of this month.
Stage 1 – New Zealanders and eligible travellers in Australia, 27 February 2022
During the first stage, fully vaccinated New Zealanders and other travellers eligible under current border settings can enter New Zealand from Australia and self-isolate upon arrival.
Unvaccinated travellers, and those who do not meet New Zealand’s vaccination criteria but are eligible to enter New Zealand will continue to enter managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ).
Stage 2 – New Zealanders and eligible travellers around the world, 13 March 2022
During the second stage of the border reopening, fully vaccinated New Zealanders and other travellers eligible under current border settings will be allowed to travel to New Zealand.
The border will also reopen to skilled workers earning at least 1.5 times the median wage. At the moment, these workers must demonstrate that their skills aren’t readily obtained in New Zealand. New Zealand will remove this requirement from the 13th of March.
Furthermore, New Zealand will reopen its Working Holiday Scheme.
Stage 3 – Temporary visa holders and international students, 12 April 2022
In this stage, New Zealand’s borders will reopen to current offshore temporary visa holders who are fully vaccinated and still able to meet their visa requirements.
The borders will also reopen to up to 5,000 fully vaccinated international students. Furthermore, New Zealand will implement additional and expanded class exceptions for critical workers earning below 1.5 times the median wage.
Stage 4 – Borders open to travellers from Australia and visa waiver countries, July 2022
New Zealand will reopen to fully vaccinated visitors from Australia and visa waiver countries from July, allowing family members of more onshore temporary migrants to visit New Zealand.
At this point, New Zealand will also phase out the border exception pathway for critical workers because of the opening of the new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) category. The AEWV will be limited mainly to roles with pay above the median wage.
Stage 5 – Borders fully reopen, and most visa categories reopen, October 2022
Immigration New Zealand will resume the processing of most visa categories, including visitor and student visas, from October.
Self-isolation is only available for fully vaccinated travellers who are eligible to enter New Zealand.
Travellers will self-isolate for 10 days. If New Zealand’s self-isolation period changes, such as a drop to 7 days, the self-isolation period for travellers will also change.
Travellers will also get three rapid antigen tests at the airport – one for use on day 0/1, and one for use on day 5/6, with one extra for backup.
Anyone who tests positive will need to take a PCR test at a Community Testing Centre or GP.
Comment from Immigration New Zealand
COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi released a joint statement detailing New Zealand’s border reopening.
“This is a very carefully developed plan that replaces MIQ for the vast majority of travellers while ensuring we maintain ongoing measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community from recent arrivals,” Minister Hipkins said.
He added that the plan “…has built-in protections to help manage risks such as future variants. A phased approach to reopening reduces the risk of a surge of cases while prioritising the return of New Zealanders and the much-needed entry of skilled workers. Having MIQ for every traveller was a temporary setting for when none of us had protection. New Zealanders need to reconnect with one another. Families and friends need to reunite. Our businesses need skills to grow. Exporters need to travel to make new connections.”
Keep up with the reopening stages
After being unable to see each other in person for nearly two years, New Zealanders and their family overseas finally have a date for when the country’s borders will start to reopen.
The government’s phased plan was announced in a statement by the Minister for COVID-19 Response Chris Hipkins on 24 November:
Step 1: Fully vaccinated Kiwis and other eligible international travellers – Travel to New Zealand from Australia
The first phase of the border reopening kicks off on Sunday, 16 January 2022.
During this phase, fully vaccinated New Zealand citizens and residence-class visa holders and other travellers eligible under New Zealand’s current border settings will be able to travel to New Zealand from Australia. The requirement is that travellers must have been in Australia or New Zealand 14 days before travelling.
Step 2: Fully vaccinated Kiwis and other eligible international travellers – Travel to New Zealand from all other countries
From 13 February 2022, fully vaccinated New Zealand citizens and residence-class visa holders and other travellers eligible under New Zealand’s current border settings will be able to travel to New Zealand from all other countries except Very High-Risk countries.
Step 3: All fully vaccinated international travellers – Travel to New Zealand
All fully vaccinated international travellers will be able to travel to NZ from 30 April 2022 onwards, with the re-opening staged over time.
This phase of the plan is what New Zealanders and their families are looking forward to most!
“A phased approach is the safest approach”
“Closing our border was one of the first steps we took to keep our country safe from COVID-19 and it’ll be the last thing we open up, following our transition into the traffic light protection framework system and lifting of the Auckland boundary.”, Minister Hipkins said in his statement.
He continued, saying, “We always said we’d open in a controlled way, and this started with halving the time spent in MIQ to seven days.[…]In the end, we’ve done what we’ve always done, and that is to follow expert advice – which continues to show us the border is our biggest risk for new cases.”
“A phased approach to reconnecting with the world is the safest approach to ensure risk is carefully managed. This reduces any potential impacts on vulnerable communities and the New Zealand health system.” Minister Hipkins concluded.
MIQ requirements for travellers
Fully vaccinated New Zealanders and travellers no longer have to spend time in Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) from the 16th of January 2022.
That doesn’t mean New Zealand is going to take any chances with its citizens’ safety. Fully vaccinated New Zealanders and travellers not required to go into MIQ will still need:
- a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test,
- proof of full vaccination,
- a passenger declaration about travel history,
- a day 0/1 test on arrival, and
- spend seven days in self-isolation and
- a final negative COVID-19 test before entering the community
Travellers who aren’t fully vaccinated, but still permitted to enter New Zealand under the current border setting, will continue to enter MIQ upon arrival for seven days, followed by three days of home isolation. This requirement will also apply to travellers from Very High-Risk countries.
Follow us on social media for reminders as the border reopens
Eager to reunite with your family in New Zealand? Follow us on either Facebook or LinkedIn where we’ll post reminders about the phases of the border reopening. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any immigration assistance.