Important things you need to know about the changes in SMC:
The New Zealand Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa is undergoing significant changes that will come into effect from 9 October 2023. These changes aim to streamline the immigration process and ensure that the skilled migrants who contribute to New Zealand’s economy are granted residency. This blog post provides an overview of the upcoming changes, including the introduction of a new points system, skilled job or job offer requirements, the number of applications accepted, processing times, and the introduction of the Skilled Migrant Category Interim Visa.
New Points System:
Under the new points system, applicants will need to score a minimum of 6 points to be eligible for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa. Points can be claimed based on New Zealand occupational registration, qualifications (Bachelor’s degree or higher), or income from a job or job offer (earning at least 1.5 times the median wage in New Zealand). Additionally, applicants can claim 1 point for each year of skilled work in New Zealand, up to a maximum of 3 points.
Skilled Job or Job Offer:
To apply for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa, applicants must have a skilled job or a job offer from an accredited employer in New Zealand. This requirement applies even if the maximum points are claimed. A skilled job must be at least 30 hours per week, fall within ANZSCO Level 1 to 3 occupations and be paid at or above the median wage, or fall within ANZSCO Level 4 to 5 occupations and be paid at or above 1.5 times the median wage. The job must be on a permanent or fixed-term contract of at least 12 months.
Some requirements remain unchanged:
Certain requirements for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa will remain the same, including character, health, English language, and age requirements. Applicants must be 55 years old or under to apply for the visa.
Number of applications accepted and processing times:
There will be no limit on the number of individuals who can obtain residence through the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa. As long as applicants meet the eligibility criteria, they will be granted New Zealand residence if their visa application is accepted. Straight-forward applications with all the necessary information will be decided within 6 to 8 weeks.
Skilled Migrant Category Interim Visa:
If an applicant applies for the new Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa and their current temporary visa expires during the processing of their application, they will be granted a Skilled Migrant Category Interim Visa. This interim visa will come into effect the day after the current visa expires, allowing the applicant to stay in New Zealand and travel in and out of the country while their residency application is processed. The interim visa will have the same conditions as the current visa and will expire after 24 months, upon approval of the residence visa, or 2 months after a decision is made on the residence application if it is declined or withdrawn.
The changes to the New Zealand Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa aim to make the immigration process more efficient and ensure that skilled migrants who contribute to the country’s economy are granted residency. The introduction of a new points system, skilled job or job offer requirements, and the Skilled Migrant Category Interim Visa will provide a clearer pathway to residency for international applicants. It is important for prospective migrants to familiarise themselves with the new requirements and seek professional guidance to navigate the updated immigration process effectively.
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