How does the points system work in New Zealand?
One of the questions our advisers get asked most often is “How does the points system work in New Zealand?”
There’s good reason for this – your points score determine whether or not you’re eligible for a New Zealand visa. This means people want to understand the points system and find out if they score enough points.
To help you also understand the points system, we’re going to cover all the most basic parts today.
Let’s start at the beginning.
What is the New Zealand points system?
The New Zealand points system is a pivotal part of skilled migrant applications. It’s 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.
Points are awarded under five categories:
- Skilled employment.
- Relevant work experience.
- Your partner’s score.
The minimum points required for skilled immigration to New Zealand is 100. If you score less than 100 points, you won’t be able to lodge an Expression of Interest under the skilled migrant category.
How does Immigration New Zealand award points?
As discussed above, Immigration New Zealand award points under five categories. Below we’ll set out the points awarded under each category of the point system plus indicate where bonus points are awarded.
- 30 points: 20-39 years
- 20 points: 40-44 years
- 10 points: 45-49 years
- 5 points: 50-55 years
Please note: If you are older than 55 you will not qualify.
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.
- 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:
- If you qualify for a skilled migrant visa.
- If you do not qualify, what other routes you may 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! The New Zealand points system may seem straightforward, but this is not the case.
While an advisor will ask you detailed questions to get the correct information, most online tools won’t. 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.
The best way to ensure you get a score that’s 100% correct? By working with a licensed immigration advisor who’ll ensure that you definitely meet the full set of criteria for a New Zealand visa.
Get assistance and get the right 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 an initial immigration assessment. Our initial assessment is free and it’ll reveal any migration pathways open to you.
You’ll also have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have, whether it’s about the New Zealand points system or another part of the immigration process.