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New Zealand only has place for seriously skilled migrants

Immigration New Zealand has started a second review of the skilled migrant category shortly after the government announced tighter points criteria for immigrants. The review includes the opinions and input of a number of stakeholders.

New Zealand Only Has Place For Seriously Skilled Migrants

Immigration New Zealand area manager Darren Calder said the new review would ensure the skilled migrant category (SMC) provided the most benefit to New Zealand.


"The core of the current points system is essentially the same as when the category opened in 2003", commented Calder of the proposed immigration changes.

What are the changes?

In October this year the New Zealand government announced it was cutting its planning range for new residents by 5000 places over two years, including cuts to numbers in the Family Category and a new requirement for those in the Skilled Migrant Category

• Applicants in the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) will now have to score a minimum of 160 points for residence, previously 140 points were required.

• During the two-year period the New Zealand Government plans to cut residence approvals to 85,000 from 90,000.

• The number of places for migrants to enter on the basis of family members already being here had also been lowered from 5500 down to 2000 per year.

Commenting on the changes New Zealand’s immigration minister Michael Woodhouse said,
"Migrants make a valuable contribution to New Zealand both culturally and economically, and the Government periodically reviews all our immigration settings to make sure they are working as intended.

"While we are confident our immigration settings are working well, the residency programme is reviewed every couple of years to ensure we have the right number and skill mix of people gaining residence.

"As part of that review, today [19 October]I am announcing a small change to the total number of people gaining residence."

"Increasing the points required to gain residence from 140 to 160 will moderate the growth in applications in the Skilled Migrant Category and enable us to lower the overall number of migrants gaining residence.”

The Skilled Migrant Category, within the Skilled/Business stream, made up around half of the entire residence programme.


"Changes to the Family Category, including temporarily closing the Parent Category to new applications, will also reduce the total number of migrants being granted residence.

"Raising the points will also prioritise access for higher-skilled migrants, ensuring we strike the right balance between attracting skilled workers that allow companies to grow and managing demand in a period of strong growth."

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