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20 July 2023

Skilled Migrant Changes – Who wins and who loses?  

New changes were announced on 21 June for the Skilled Migrant Resident Visa category.

The Government release states that the changes are intended to make residence easier to obtain for highly skilled individuals, while providing others with a clearer pathway to obtaining residence.

A new points system

The new policy will come into effect on 9 October 2023.

Under the new system, applicants will need just 6 points. Applicants will also be able to claim up to 3 points for skilled work experience in New Zealand.

Additionally, applicants can claim 3 to 6 points for one of the three categories:

1.     Occupational registration;

2.     Education; and

3.     Income above the median wage.

The higher the income, qualification, or the more years it takes to obtain occupational registration, the more points an applicant will be entitled to claim. In some cases, individuals will be able to meet the minimum points threshold without working in New Zealand.

I have a level 5 or 6 qualification – can I still apply?

Applicants will need to have at least a level 7 qualification (Bachelor’s degree) in order to claim points for education.

There is no ability to claim points for previous skilled work experience. This is likely to mean that many tradespeople and chefs will likely find it harder to qualify for residence.

If you have a level 5 or 6 qualification and think you can claim 180 points, we recommend that you consider lodging an Expression of Interest (“EOI”) under the current system. The final selection under the current Skilled Migrant policy will be made on 16 August 2023, so you must act quickly and make sure your EOI is lodged before 11:59pm on 15 August 2023

Accredited Employer Work Visas

The Government also announced changes to the Accredited Employer Work Visa (“AEWV”).

From November 2023, applicants will only be able to hold an AEWV and work in New Zealand for up to five years. After this period, applicants who are not on a pathway to meet skilled residence category requirements will need to leave New Zealand for a period of at least 12 months.

The term of an AEWV will be extended to five years to align with this change. Current AEWV visa holders will be able to renew their visa to get up to five years in total.


Our immigration lawyers are well versed in all resident and work visa applications. We can also regularly advise on appeals to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, or reconsiderations to Immigration New Zealand.

If you are shortly thinking of applying for residence and want to know how these changes will affect you, get in touch today with one of our immigration experts.



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