Changes to Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa Immigration Instructions Effective From 14 August 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Significant changes to residence class visa instructions for Skilled Migrant Category ("SMC") will come into effect on 14 August 2017.  These changes were introduced by the Government in April 2017 in order to prioritise higher-paid and higher-skilled applicants.  The announced changes have no direct effect on any other visa categories.

General SMC Requirements

Applicants for a SMC resident visa must, apart from meeting prerequisites for health, character, English language and age, have at least 100 points for employability and capacity building factors in order for their Expression of Interest ("EoI") to be entered into the Pool of EoIs, and subsequently be selected to apply for a SMC resident visa.  The changes to the instruction affect the eligibility for and allocation of these points.

The Changes  

  1. Remuneration Thresholds

    Two remuneration thresholds are being introduced as an additional means of defining skilled employment.
    Only an Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations ("ANZSCO") skill level 1, 2 or 3 employment with the New Zealand median income of $48,859.00 or more a year will be considered skilled and therefore eligible for points. Occupations not listed on the ANZSCO list but earning 1.5 times the New Zealand median income, at least $73,299.00, will be eligible for skilled employment points.  In summary, low paid skilled jobs will be excluded from the SMC point system and highly-paid but less-skilled jobs will be eligible for points under the system.  The thresholds will be reviewed and adjusted annually and uniform threshold amounts will apply in the whole of New Zealand.

  2. More points will be available for skilled work experience and some recognised post-graduate qualifications

  3. Points for age will increase for applicants aged 30-39

  4. Points will no longer be available for:
    -    qualifications in areas of absolute skills shortage;
    -    employment, work experience and qualifications in Identified Future Growth Areas; and
    -    close family in New Zealand.
Applications submitted before 14 August 2017 will continue to be assessed under the current instructions.  EoIs selected from the SMC Pool before 14 August 2017 and resulting in an Invitation to Apply will also continue to be assessed under the current instructions regardless of whether the application is submitted after 14 August as long as the application is received within the standard four month limit.  If an EoI has been selected from the Pool but is returned to the Pool because it does not meet the requirements for an Invitation to Apply, it will be possible to edit and resubmit the EoI on the new EoI form, at no cost.  The new form will reflect the new requirements.  However if, as a result of the changes, an applicant is no longer able to claim 100 points, their EoI will not be accepted into the Pool.

Please refer all your enquiries to:
Anet Tarabova on (09) 966 3604 ( from our Albany Office or

Kishen Kommu on (09) 306 6748 ( from our Auckland City Office.


This article is published for general information purposes only.  Legal content in this article is necessarily of a general nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice.  If you require specific legal advice in respect of any legal issue, you should always engage a lawyer to provide that advice.   

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