Residence Visa

Here are the options to apply for residence visa. Select the option you wish to learn more about.

New Zealand is a fantastic country for migrants who have qualifications and skills that are needed here, and so it is little wonder that each year many thousands of migrants and their families try to gain permanent residence under the Skilled Migrant Residence category (SMC). With ongoing, long-term shortages in a number of occupations (including doctors, nurses, teachers, architects, IT professionals, engineers, electricians and chefs,) New Zealand is constantly searching for highly skilled migrants who are looking for a safe, secure and vibrant environment in which to live, work and play.

The Skilled Migrant Category provides a complex points based system for gaining residence, under which you may claim points for various factors including your qualifications, work experience, age, and your partner’s or spouse’s qualifications. There are additional points to be gained if you have a job offer in New Zealand, have studied or worked in New Zealand, or you have qualifications, work experience or a job offer in a skill-shortage occupation.

An initial application is made by way of an “Expression of Interest” (EOI) and selections of EOIs are made fortnightly by Immigration New Zealand. Candidates claiming a points score of 160 or higher are automatically selected, while those with between 100-140 points are selected according to whether they meet various “Minister’s Criteria” published every 6 months. Once selected, EOIs then undergo a verification process that may last up to 2 or more months and candidates are then issued an “Invitation to Apply for Residence”, following which a full application for residence must then be prepared and submitted.

While the SMC provides the most common and popular route to residence for skilled migrants coming to New Zealand, it is important to be aware of and plan for the pitfalls that may await even the most careful and attentive applicant under this category. We are frequently consulted by frustrated applicants who have struck icebergs in their applications months or even years into the process.

If you’re considering applying alone under this category, then be aware. The policy selection criteria under the Skilled Migrant category are complex and processing times can range from 6-12 months (or a lot longer, if your application runs into difficulties). You’ll need to be able to understand and resolve a variety of questions such as, “Is my job offer “skilled” or not?”; Can I claim bonus points?”; “Is my qualification recognised in New Zealand?”; “Can I claim points for work experience gained in my country?”, or “Does my job offer meet policy requirements?”.

You’ll also need to familiarise yourself with and gain a proper understanding of where you, your occupations and your qualifications fit on a variety of Immigration New Zealand lists, including –

The List of Skilled Occupations

  • The Long Term Skill Shortage List and Immediate Skill Shortage List
  • The Australia & New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO)
  • The List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment
  • The List of Occupations requiring Registration
  • The List of Countries in a Comparable Labour Market

If you’re serious about gaining SMC residence and prefer to make sure that your application is carefully strategized, properly prepared and professionally presented, contact us now to find out how to succeed at selection and secure your residence. With our expert knowledge of immigration policy and its underlying legal requirements, we’ve helped countless skilled migrants to realise their expectations under the SMC category.

Our services include –

Full evaluations of SMC eligibility

Advising clients and their employers on SMC requirements including employment agreements, ANZSCO requirements and job descriptions

  • NZQA assessments
  • Registration requirements
  • Legal submissions to Immigration New Zealand regarding policy and eligibility
  • Attendance and representation at interviews
  • Resolving problems in SMC cases
  • Appeals of failed SMC cases to the Residence Review Board.

If you’re working in a Long Term Skill Shortage Occupation or an Immediate Skill Shortage Occupation we can also refer you to New Zealand employers who are in need of your skills.

If you’re studying in New Zealand and need expert advice on your residence prospects under the SMC, contact us now to arrange a consultation.

This category generally provides a longer route to residence for talented workers who are working in New Zealand on Work-to-Residence visas, and consists of three different sub-categories:

  • Work visas for applicants with job offers from an accredited employer
  • Work visas for applicants with internationally-recognised talent in arts, culture or sport.
  • Work visas for applicants in occupations in shortage in New Zealand.

Each category has its own specific set of criteria to meet and applicants must have held Work-to-Residence visas for a minimum of 24 months before being eligible to apply for permanent residence.

  • Sibling & Adult Children
  • Dependent Children
  • Relationships
  • Parents

Whether you’re in a relationship with a New Zealander, or you’re a parent wanting to reunite with your children, or you’re wanting to bring your children or siblings to live here, we offer some of the best immigration packages available for our family clients.

Sibling & Adult Children

You can secure permanent residence for a sibling or adult child under the Family (Parent or Sibling) Category if they are the last remaining family member living in their home country and they have an acceptable offer of full-time employment in New Zealand that meets Immigration NZ’s “minimum income requirement”. As their sponsor, you must also have been a New Zealand permanent resident for at least 3 years.

To be “acceptable”, the job offer must generally be for genuine, full-time, ongoing and sustainable employment with a single employer and for a job that is paid by salary or wages. As the job offer must also remain current up until the time that the residence application is processed and approved, it is important to ensure that the employer making the job offer is prepared to keep it open for anywhere up to 2 years, given the delays on the part of Immigration New Zealand in processing these types of applications.

Dependent Children

If you’re a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident with a dependent child living overseas, they may also qualify for permanent residence if they are single, have no dependent children of their own and are aged 24 years or younger at the time of their application. Proof of actual dependence may be required – and the requirements will become more stringent if your children are aged in their twenties. There are also strict legal consent requirements to meet if you are separated or divorced from your child’s mother or father.


If you’re the partner or spouse of a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident and have lived with them in a genuine and stable relationship for 12 months or more, this permanent residence category is for you. The evidential requirements for satisfying Immigration New Zealand that your relationship is a legitimate one can be quite extensive, and so before you and your loved one take the plunge it is important to get professional immigration advice from experts who have extensive knowledge of the policy.


If you’re a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident and wish to bring your parents permanently to New Zealand, there are two ways for them to qualify:

Family Parent Residence Category

If you’re a New Zealand or Australian citizen and you’ve held New Zealand permanent residence for 3 years, meet Immigration New Zealand’s “minimum income requirement”, and either (a) you have no other siblings living in your parents’ home country or (b) the “centre of gravity” for your siblings is in New Zealand, then your parents may qualify for permanent residence here.

Processing times for Family Parent Category residence applications can be anywhere up to 2 years in duration. During the processing period, we can secure 30 month Parent Visitor Visas for your parents to enable them to spend up to 18 months with you in New Zealand while awaiting the outcome of their residence applications.

Parent Retirement Residence Category

This residence category now provides a fast-track way for New Zealand permanent residents to get residence for their parents, without having to wait the usual 3 year stand-down period before being eligible to sponsor them.

To be eligible, your parents will need to invest NZ$1 million in New Zealand for 4 years, have NZ$500,000 in settlement funds and an annual income of NZ$60,000, and meet Immigration New Zealand’s “centre of gravity” definition.