Skilled Migrant Category - What's Changed Since October 2016
The skilled migrant category or SMC as it is known popularly offers an opportunity for suitable persons to move to New Zealand and work and live permanently.
Broadly speaking one must be
Less than 55 years and 360 days in age.
Acceptable level of health (ASH).
Of good character.
Have an acceptable level of English Language Ability
SMC uses a point system to determine who can qualify and one gets points broadly on the following major parameters (there are some minor parameters as well which are not being covered here)
Application process is simple enough there are two steps
Applicant completes and Expression of Interest (EOI), covering information about oneself, family, skills and experience.
If the applicant has enough points then the EOI is selected and an ITA (Invitation to Apply) is issued. The applicant completes it and returns it with supporting documents.
EOI’s are valid for only 6 months, after 6 months the EOI lapses and is withdrawn from the pool, the EOI fees is non-refundable.
What happens if my EOI is selected?
In that case you get issued an ITA (Invitation to Apply) and are requested to submit your documents within four months. You need to check that information that you had supplied while making the EOI has not changed. You need to provide
Evidence to support the points that you had claimed in your EOI
Proof that you and others included in the application are of ASH and meet the character as well as English language requirements
You need to send the documents to INZ along with the forms and fees.
So what has changed ?
Earlier, you could technically get an ITA even if you had 100 points and a job offer which was the minimum, selection criterion.
From October 2016 the key things that have changed are
a) You need to have at least 160 Points
b) The English Language requirements have been made stringent, however the welcome thing is that INZ is accepting other tests apart from IELTS. From 21st Nov 16, INZ will accept the following English tests.
Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet Based Test (TOEFL iBT)
Occupational English Test (OET)
Cambridge English: First (FCE) and FCE for Schools
Pearson Test of English: Academic (PTE: Academic)
How can I get 160 points ?
Have a look at the table below, there are elements like partner's skilled employment or partner's qualifications that can come into play and give you more points.
Then there are elements like which industry you are in in, there are certain industries which will yield more points
Most importantly, one cannot miss the fact that 30 points are awarded for employment outside of Auckland.
The views expressed above are my own and they should not be taken in isolation as immigration advise.