Future of the Skilled Migrant Category

Published: 12 October 2022

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has today opened consultation on the Future of the Skilled Migrant Category and proposals to introduce a new, simplified points-based system.

This proposed system will set a clear threshold for residence, increase certainty for migrants, and better align with the Government’s Immigration Rebalance goals.

We are proposing the following key changes to the Skilled Migrant Category:

  • Introduce a simplified points system to set a clear threshold for residence and increase certainty for migrants. Points can be made up from one of three skill categories, i.e. professional registration, qualifications, or high income, and up to three years of skilled work in New Zealand.
  • Process all applications that meet the eligibility criteria, i.e. no caps, meaning a higher proportion of migrants will gain residence every year.
  • Special requirements for people in specified occupations, including some roles in retail and hospitality, to manage immigration and labour market risks while granting residence to highly skilled people in these occupations.
  • Apply the stand-down period requirement to all migrants who do not meet the eligibility criteria for residence. The stand-down would mean that after a maximum period of three years on an Accredited Employer Work Visa, people must spend at least 12 months outside New Zealand. This is to avoid the risks to migrants of becoming well-settled in New Zealand without the rights and protections that come with residence.

Visit our Have your say page for more information and to have your say on the proposed changes.

Have your say – Future of the Skilled Migrant Category

Consultation runs until 18 November.

MBIE media contact

Email: media@mbie.govt.nz