Future of the Skilled Migrant Category

Submissions closed: 18 November 2022, 5pm

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is seeking views on proposed new settings for the Skilled Migrant Category residence visa.

The Skilled Migrant Category has traditionally been New Zealand’s main residence category based on skills and employment. Its objective is to support New Zealand’s economic growth by granting residence to people who have skills to fill identified long-term needs, and who can deploy those skills in New Zealand. The Skilled Migrant Category was effectively closed to new applications in April 2020, after COVID-19 border restrictions were introduced. In the context of the Immigration Rebalance, the Government invited the Minister of Immigration to review the Skilled Migrant Category, to ensure it’s meeting its objectives and to address the issues that were seen pre-COVID.

Residence allows people to live and work in New Zealand indefinitely. New priority skilled residence pathways have been introduced under the Immigration Rebalance. There are now 3 main pathways to skilled residence:

  • The Skilled Migrant Category, which recognises individuals’ skills
  • The new Green List residence pathways for eligible migrants in specified highly skilled, hard-to-fill occupations
  • The new Highly Paid Residence Visa for migrants earning at least twice median wage.

More information on these new pathways:

MBIE is consulting on proposed changes to the Skilled Migrant Category to:

  • ensure the proposed settings are appropriate for the visa category to achieve its objectives
  • test the clarity and usability of the settings
  • understand the impact of the proposed changes on migrants, employers and communities.

The consultation document below provides a commentary on the proposed changes and asks questions to highlight areas on which we are seeking feedback. We also welcome any other feedback on the proposals. 

How to make a submission

Your submission may respond to any or all of the issues set out in the consultation document. Where possible and relevant, please include evidence to support your views, for example references to independent research, facts and figures, or relevant examples.

Complete our online survey

We have created a survey to make it easy for you to have your say on the Skilled Migrant Category consultation document.

You can select the sections you would like to give us feedback on. You can comment on as much or as little of the consultation document as you like.

Complete the survey(external link)

Complete the submission template

You may prefer to make a written submission by filling out the submission template.  

Please send your completed submission template to:



Skilled Migrant Review
Immigration Policy (Skills and Residence) team
Employment, Skills and Immigration Policy
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
PO Box 1473
Wellington 6140
New Zealand 

Please direct any questions that you have in relation to the submissions process to: 


Use of information

The information provided in submissions will be used to inform MBIE’s policy development process and advice to the Government on the future of the Skilled Migrant Category. We may contact submitters directly if we require clarification of any matters in submissions.

Release of information

MBIE may upload PDF copies of submissions received to MBIE’s website at www.mbie.govt.nz. MBIE may also refer to submissions or parts of submissions in any summary of submissions. MBIE will consider you to have consented to uploading by making a submission, unless you clearly specify otherwise in your submission.

If you are completing our online survey and your submission contains any information that is confidential or you otherwise wish us not to publish, please indicate this in the privacy section of the survey.

If responding by email or post and your submission contains any information that is confidential or you otherwise wish us not to publish, please:

  • indicate this on the front of the submission, with any confidential information clearly marked within the text; and
  • provide a separate version excluding the relevant information for publication on our website.

Submissions remain subject to request under the Official Information Act 1982. Please set out clearly in the cover letter or e-mail accompanying your submission if you have any objection to the release of any information in the submission, and in particular, which parts you consider should be withheld, together with the reasons for withholding the information. MBIE will take such objections into account and will consult with submitters when responding to requests under the Official Information Act 1982.

Private information

The Privacy Act 2020 establishes certain principles with respect to the collection, use and disclosure of information about individuals by various agencies, including MBIE. Any personal information you supply to MBIE in the course of making a submission will only be used for the purpose of assisting in the development of policy advice in relation to this review. Your personal information or any other identifiable information will only be published where we have sought and received your consent to do so.

Process and timeline

Following consultation, we will analyse feedback, submissions and any other evidence before providing further advice to the Government on the detailed implementation on the reopening of the category.

The new settings are expected to be considered by the Government in early 2023, after which final decisions will be announced. Subject to the Government’s agreement, the changes are expected to be to be introduced in mid-2023.

Last updated: 12 October 2022