Skilled Migrant Category

If you have skilled, full-time employment and meet the points threshold, you may be eligible to apply under this category.
Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer
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If you want to learn about Skilled Migrant Category, you've come to the right place.

This guide has everything you need to understand the basics of Skilled Migrant Category. You'll also find links to useful resources from our blog and video throughout, so you can plan your next steps. If you still have questions, contact Immigration Lawyer NZ.

What is it?

Skilled Migrant Visa is for those people who can show to Immigration New Zealand that they have the skills that New Zealand wants. In most cases, you will need to have a full time employment performing a role that would be seen as "skilled" in the eyes of the Immigration Officer processing your application.

You will need to satisfy each of the following requirements:

  • meet general requirements; and
  • meet English language requirements; and
  • meet points requirements; and
  • meet employment requirements; and
  • meet work experience and/or qualification requirements.

Let's take a look at each in turn.

What are the requirements?


General requirements for skilled migrant visa include paying correct application fee, using prescribed Immigration New Zealand form, meeting health/character requirements, and being a 'bona fide' (genuine) applicant. You cannot apply under this category as the principal applicant if you are aged 56 and over.

English language

You will need to provide evidence to show that you have English proficiency equivalent to an IELTS exam score of at least 6.5. Your partner and your dependent children aged 16 years or over will need to provide evidence to show that they have English proficiency equivalent to an IELTS exam score of at least 5.0. Partners and dependent children have the option of pre-purchasing ESOL training if they are unable to meet the English language requirement.


This category operates a points system. From the following table, you will need to work out that you can claim at least 160 points.

Calculate EOI Points to Apply for Skilled Migrant Category Residence Visa


There is a string of requirements you have to meet in terms of your employment, which include the following:

  • full time employment, at least 30 hours per week; and
  • skill level 1, 2 or 3 on the ANZSCO; and
  • duties should "substantially match" the ANZSCO description; and
  • be paid minimum $24.29 per hour; and
  • salary/wages should be within market range; and
  • employer should not be running at a loss; and
  • employer should be compliant with relevant employment/immigration laws.

Qualification and work experience

Depending on what skill level your position is according to the ANZSCO, you will need to show that you are suitably qualified by training or experience to carry out the tasks associated with the position.

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author headshot Michael Yoon
Last modified on 11 January 2024 by
Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer
Michael has been working as a lawyer in New Zealand since 2006. Over the years, he has successfully helped thousands of clients to get their desired outcome. Clients find Michael knowledgeable, approachable and professional — a trusted expert.
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