+44 (0)23 80 195 223

20 Long Copse, Holbury, Southampton, SO45 2LD United Kingdom info@workstudylivenewzealand.co.uk

Skilled Migrant Category (SMC)


If you are under 56 and in a skilled occupation that is listed on the ANZSCO,  you may be able to apply for residence under this category.  If your skill is listed on one of the Essential Skills Lists then this can make this much easier – see the Skills Shortage List Checker  here. You must have the specified qualifications and experience to claim the points.  When applying under SMC, one family member will be the Principal Applicant and they will be able to include their partner and children in their application, subject to meeting the regulations for partnerships and dependent children. This is a points-based system.  You can get points for qualifications, experience, age, offer of employment in New Zealand, your partner’s qualifications and having close family support in New Zealand.  You need at least 160 points to guarantee selection of an Expression of Interest, regardless of whether or not you have an appropriate job offer. If everyone meets the health and character requirements, you can then submit an Expression of Interest (EOI).  Every fortnight, EOIs are drawn from the pool and the information you provided is checked out.  If all is well, then you will be invited to apply for residence under SMC and you have four months in which to do this.  Once you apply you will be placed in one of two tiers depending on whether or not you have existing work or a qualifying job offer in New Zealand. If you are in Tier 1 and all your documents are complete and meet the requirements, you should get your Residence Visa.  If you don’t have New Zealand work experience or a job, you will usually go into Tier 2 and be invited to take part in a telephone interview.  If you can convince Immigration New Zealand that you are likely to be able to make a success of migration and have a good chance of getting a skilled job, you may be offered a Residence Visa.  If not, you could be turned down or offered a Job Search Visa for nine months.  This gives the Principal Applicant the chance to travel to New Zealand and seek work.

EXAMPLE SMC Application

Pat is 40 years old and is a web developer with a degree in Information Technology from a recognised university.  She has worked in this field for the last 7 years.  She has a 39 year old husband who is a Food Technologist with an approved degree in Food Science and 4 years’ experience.  They have two children aged 5 and 7.  Pat has an appropriate job offer from a Wellington-based company as a Software Developer. They have no qualifications of experience gained in New Zealand and no close relatives there.

Pat would be able to claim;-

50 points for her job offer

30 bonus points because the job offer is outside of Auckland

20 points for work experience

15 bonus points for work experience in an Area of Absolute Skills Shortage (AASS)

50 points for her degree

10 bonus points for a degree in an Area of Absolute Skills Shortage (AASS)

20 points for her husband’s qualifications

20 points for age.

TOTAL = 215 points.

So if everyone meets the health and character requirements and can provide official documentation to verify partnership, work experience etc., they would very likely be successful in getting their Residence Visas under the Skilled Migrant Category.

Without the job offer they wouldn’t get the 50 for the job offer or 30 for being outside Auckland, so they would have 135 points and would not therefore be eligible.

If you don’t meet the SMC requirements right now, consider other options to increase your points such as getting a Work Visa and gaining New Zealand work experience or a Student Visa and gaining a New Zealand qualification. Check out the Home Page for the outcome of the last few draws from the SMC Pool.  This is a complex category and one where some help in getting it right could make all the difference to the outcome.  Contact us to discuss how we can help you.