Recent Changes to the New Zealand Emigration Process

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Recent Changes to the New Zealand Emigration ProcessThere has been a lot of press, Facebook talk and, to be honest, misinformation regarding the recent changes to the New Zealand emigration process.

So below we give you the lowdown on what exactly this could mean for you and your plans:

The Expression of Interest

The 100 points required to make an Expression of Interest application has not changed. In reality, even if a person scored between 100 and 140 points, their Expression of Interest was not going to get selected unless they had a job offer.

Automatic selection of your Expression of Interest

From a level of 140 points, even without a job offer, applicants would previously have been selected and issued with an invitation to apply. Those scoring between 100 and 139 points with a job offer would also have been selected.

This has changed – applicants will now need 160 points to receive an invitation to apply. This applies whether you have a job offer or not.

Proof of English

All applicants apart from the below will now need an English language test:

  • Citizenship of Canada, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom or the United States of America, provided the applicant has spent at least five years in work or education in one or more of these countries or Australia or New Zealand; or
  • A recognised qualification comparable to a New Zealand level 7 bachelor’s degree, gained in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom or the United States of America as a result of study undertaken for at least two academic years in one or more of those countries; or
  • A recognised qualification comparable to a New Zealand qualification at level 8 or above, gained in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom or the United States of America as a result of study undertaken for at least one academic year in one or more of those countries.


Without lurching into politics, the reality is that INZ want to keep a hold on the number of migrants that are obtaining residency via the skilled migrant scheme. One can also ascertain that INZ want to ensure that those who do obtain residency have a suitable position in place in which to work (and of course then pay taxes and contribute to the New Zealand economy).

This pressure has been brought about by the number of migrants securing residency in New Zealand. Further pressure is being applied by the labour government for work visas. When Minister of Immigration, Michael Woodhouse, was asked how many of the 209,000 work visas issued last year were for occupations on the Essential Skills in Demand list, the answer was around 8% only.

What difference has this made to your approach for New Zealand migration?

New Zealand need migrants and have many areas with skill shortages. This means New Zealand still need to attract foreigners to fill certain positions – and it still wants to.

As we have said time and again though, New Zealand want to attract the right sort of foreigners. Primarily this would be those on the Essential Skills in Demand list. This is the long term skilled shortage list and immediate skilled shortage list.

We have always advocated a step-by-step approach in our migration advice – one that gives you the facts, a clear way forward if one exists, one that explains the risks you may encounter and minimizes your financial risk. We are also very aware of the fact that our role is to remove as many obstacles as possible for you to secure employment in New Zealand.

Hopping on a plane to New Zealand and hoping for the best is not the way to go – it’s expensive and a bit like making a cake for the first time with no recipe to follow!

Sending out your CV to all and sundry rarely works either.

Immigrating to New Zealand is a process and as such you need to enter into it determined and with your eyes wide open.

In summary you should always follow the below steps:

  • Get formally assessed by a licensed immigration agent. This will include your points score and migration pathway. It’s the least expensive and most important part of the migration process.
  • Look at what formalities need to be taken care of, such as NZQA’s, professional or trade registrations and English language tests.
  • Get a job support and migration pack from your licensed agent.
  • Be prepared to go to New Zealand to job hunt for a few weeks at least – on the correct Look, Search and Decide visa (not a tourist one).

Find if you qualify for to immigrate to New Zealand

Book a consultation call with Sarah Hewitt, our licensed advisor, and you’ll find out if you meet the requirements to move to New Zealand.

You’ll also discover how the application process works and what the costs and timelines are.

Our licensed advisor is registered with the Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA) of New Zealand, so you can rest assured that you’re getting advice you can trust.

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