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Permanent migration to New Zealand is in high demand. The Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa lets you live and work in New Zealand permanently.

New Zealand's Skilled Migrant Category has traditionally been New Zealand’s main permanent visa and is based on skills and employment. This visa is for people who have skills that will contribute to New Zealand's economic growth. Before you can apply, you will need to submit an expression of interest (EOI), that details your work experience and qualifications.

New Zealand's EOI system is points based. It ranks applicants based on a range of personal information. For example, your age, your education and your work experience. You must also meet English language proficiency requirements.

What are skilled occupations for New Zealand?

For a New Zealand Skilled Migrant Category Visas, you must have specialist, technical or management expertise and meet the pay rate threshold to do skilled work in New Zealand. So, if you are interested, you will need to find the closest matching occupation for your current job or job offer on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupation (ANZSCO) register.

If your job is classified as skill level 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 and you meet the required pay rate, you may be able to claim points for your EOI. Currently, you need this to be invited to apply for permanent skilled visas. The higher you score on points, the more likely you are to be invited. So, how do these points work?

How does the points test work for New Zealand skilled migration?

When you start your process for a Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa, you need to meet a minimum pass mark in the Expression of Interest (EOI) phase. If you have a minimum number of points, may receive an Invitation to apply for a visa. Immigration New Zealand has an online New Zealand Points Indicator for Skilled Migrant Expression of Interest

Points can be claimed for a few different personal factors: 

  • Age (when you're under 55 years)

  • Skilled employment

  • Educational qualifications 

  • Work experience 

  • The skills of your partner 

You must also meet English Language requirements, such as a valid IELTS test report form. You can book IELTS on computer to get fast results.

English language requirements for New Zealand permanent migration

In Australia, you can claim extra points for having a higher English score. in New Zealand, the applicant, your partner, and dependent children aged 16 and over must all speak and understand English. You can't claim EOI points for this.

IELTS Requirements for Immigration New Zealand

IELTS test

Minimum score for principal applicants

Minimum score for partners and dependent children

IELTS General Training

Overall score of 6.5 or more

Overall score of 5.0 or more

IELTS Academic

Overall score of 6.5 or more

Overall score of 5.0 or more

IELTS is trusted and recognised by Immigration New Zealand. We also offer a General Training test, which means you don’t have to sit an Academic English test. IELTS is the only English language test that offers this.

Get IELTS for migration to New Zealand

Immigration and the law

Legislation about immigration changes frequently. It’s important to check the Immigration New Zealand website for changes that may apply to you. If you are interested in a Student Visa, work visas, or looking to migrate permanently, you need to lodge an application with the New Zealand Government. You may want to consider getting support from a lawyer or migration agent. However, you can also get free advice for student visas.