Applying for a New Zealand Skilled Migrant Visa

If you want to move to New Zealand from the UK to work then you will need a visa. Residents of the UK can visit New Zealand for up to 6 months without needing a visitor visa and this could be useful to scour the job market, figure out which area you'd like to live in and get an overall idea of what life is like in New Zealand. To live and work in New Zealand however you will need to apply for a Skilled Migrant Visa.

Skilled Migrant Visa

In order to qualify for a skilled migrant visa in New Zealand you need to fulfil the following eligibility criteria:

  • Aged under 55
  • Be in good health
  • Be of sound character (no criminal records)
  • Speak English

Most UK residents would therefore be eligible but the way the system works is to allocate points dependent on your family circumstances, skills, credit score, etc. The more points you are awarded, the higher your chances of getting a visa.

Applying for a New Zealand Visa

There are two stages for a visa application. The first state is to register an Expression of Interest which details a summary of yourself, your family, your skills, work experience and reasons for wanting to live in New Zealand. Your points will be totalled from this initial application and if you have enough then you will be invited to complete the next step – the visa application.

Points will be awarded for things such as the offer of a job in New Zealand or having skills that are vital to the future growth of New Zealand or that are in shortage, so it's worth doing your research on what constitutes future growth in New Zealand and which occupations are listed on the skills shortage list. All of this information can be found on the handy Skilled Migrant Category Points Indicator which will give you a good indication as to whether you will have enough points to qualify.

Ways to Apply

You can register your Expression of Interest online although it is highly advisable to use the points calculator first to get an indication of what the immigration authorities will be looking for and how to improve your points score. Read the NZ Expression of Interest Guide before you complete the online EOI form on the NZ Immigration website.

It is cheaper to apply online, costing NZ$510 rather than the NZ$650 cost of a paper application. If your application is accepted you will receive your invitation to apply for a visa along with a request for documentation to prove the points you have claimed. If you are applying from the UK then the fee will be NZ $1,200.

If your application is not successful you may still be offered a temporary work visa which you can use to apply for skilled work. Once you are in a skilled occupation your application will be approved.

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