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Robert Benjamin
Licensed Immigration Adviser


Licensed Number

IAA stresses the benefits of Licensed Immigration Advisers
Anyone providing immigration advice must be licensed by the IAA; whether based in New Zealand or elsewhere. All Licensed Advisers must abide by the IAAs Code of Conduct which includes; relevant qualifications; knowledge of immigration advisers licensing scheme; knowledge of immigration law and policy in New Zealand; ability to lodge applications and appeals; English language proficiency; professional, ethical and responsible business practices; and maintenance of professional development activities.

Immigration categories that provide a pathway to residence in New Zealand

Skilled Migrant
Work to Residence

Skilled Migrant

The Skilled Migrant Category is a two stage, points-based residence category. Points are awarded for:

  • Skilled employment in NZ, or an offer of skilled employment in New Zealand
  • Work Experience
  • Education and Qualifications
  • Age

Bonus points may be granted in a number of additional areas and are available to those with job offers outside of Auckland, in areas of acute skill shortages, future growth areas, having a spouse with qualifications, work experience in New Zealand and New Zealand qualifications.
The minimum acceptable pass is 100 points.


The first stage of the SMC process is to obtain an assessment of your abilities to determine that you can reach 100 points or above. Then an Expression of Interest (EOI) is lodged with Immigration New Zealand. EOIs are entered into a pool and applicants who score at least 140 points, will automatically have their EOIs selected.

Although an applicant may appear to achieve more than 100 points considerable care needs to be taken to ascertain whether or not an offer of 'skilled' employment will be necessary to validate other aspects of the application. If an EOI is lodged without an offer of skilled employment, applicants with high level points may be invited to apply for residence, but it is likely that a nine month work-to-residence visa will be granted to enable the applicant to secure skilled employment. Once the applicant has worked in a position of skilled employment for three months, they may apply to complete the residence process.
Your Achieve Immigration Adviser will advise on the definitions of 'relevant' work experience, 'recognised' work experience, 'recognised' qualifications, 'skilled' employment, 'comparable' labour market and other terms applicable to this category

Minimum Criteria

The following are the minimum criteria which all Skilled Migrant applicants must meet:
  1. All residence and many temporary entry applicants must provide current medical certificates. Medical certificates have a short-term validity period for immigration purposes and it is important that you do not obtain your medical certificates until we advise you to do so.
  2. Applicants aged 17 and older, must provide police certificates and meet good character requirements.
  3. Recognised qualifications must be equivalent to at least a level 4 New Zealand tertiary qualification; although some level 3 qualifications are acceptable.
  4. If your qualification is in a field which requires registration to practice, you must obtain New Zealand registration before lodging your EOI; and your work experience must relate to your qualification unless an offer of skilled employment has been received, which although relevant to your qualification, does not require registration. Check Occupational Registration for the list of occupations that require registration.
  5. The principal applicant must be aged between 20 and 55 years when the residence application is lodged.
  6. The principal applicant' must be fluent in spoken and written English. The minimum acceptable level is 'an English speaking background' or an 'International English Language Testing System' (IELTS) test confirming an overall band score of 6.5 in the in the general training module. Evidence will be required. Your spouse/partner and other 'non-principal applicants' aged 16 and over who do not meet the standard may pre-purchase English language tuition. The cost of the English language tuition will depend on the level obtained in the IELTS test.
  7. You must be able to support and accommodate yourself and your family for your first two years in New Zealand.


If you believe you qualify for Skilled Migrant Assessment under the above conditions, you may complete a questionnaire which will download to us for assessment.  Our assessment will identify the points you will achieve under SMC policy, and includes a comparison of the information you have provided about your work experience and any offer of employment you have, with the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) and relevant data from the NZ Immigration Operational Manual.

The Skilled Migrant Category process offers two pathways to permanent residence. There is a third being a "Work to Residence" pathway for those employed by "accredited" employers with salaries of NZ$55,000

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The family class is divided into four sub-classes: Partnership, Parent, Sibling/Adult Child and Dependant Child.

Relationship with a New Zealand resident or Citizen:

Residence may be granted to those who are in a relationship with a New Zealand Resident or citizen in a heterosexual or same sex relationship, either married or de facto (common law).
Policy requires the applicant to demonstrate they are in a genuine and stable relationship and have been living together for 12 months or more. Work permits can be issued if you are married or living in a de facto relationship for less than 12 months.

Parent Category:

Applicants under the Parent Category must either:

1.    Meet the requirements for Tier one

Have a sponsor (and, if applicable, that sponsor’s partner) who meets a minimum annual income level for tier one; or

Have a sufficient guaranteed lifetime minimum income: or

Bring sufficient settlement funds to New Zealand; or

2.    Meet the requirements for Tier two:

Have a sponsor (and, if applicable, that sponsor’s partner) who meets a minimum income for tier two; and, the applicants’ other adult children (if any) live lawfully and permanently outside the country in which the applicant lives lawfully and permanently.

Tier One applicants have priority selection over Tier two applicants.  Tier two applicants will only be selected after Tier one applicants and only if there are available spaces from the allocation of spaces available. 

Residence Parent Retirement Category

The objective of this visa category is to provide residence to those already with family ties in New Zealand and who wish to make a contribution to New Zealands economy.  Currently the Family Parent Category has a lengthy processing time frame of approximately 2 years.  Applications under the new Parent Retirement Category will be processed quicker. Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Have an adult child who lives in New Zealand and is either a NZ citizen or resident;
  • Be able to meet the centre of gravity test under the Family Parent Policy;
  • Be able to nominate funds/assets of at least NZ$1 million and undertake to invest that money in New Zealand for a period of four years
  • Be able to show that they own the (legally acquired) funds/assets;
  • Be able to transfer and invest the said funds in an acceptable investment in New Zealand; 
  • Be able to nominate funds of NZ$0.5 million of settlement funds and demonstrate ownership of these funds;
  • Have an annual income of at least NZ$60,000.

In this category, the applicant may include his/her partner and dependent children in the application.  The principal applicant, partner and dependents must also meet the health and character requirements.

Temporary Retirement Category

This category provides an avenue for applicants to obtain a two year multiple entry visitor visa and retire in New Zealand, which is renewable on an ongoing basis, subject to the requirements below:

  1. main applicant must be over 65 years of age at the time of application;
  2. invest a minimum of NZ$750,000.00 in an acceptable investment in New Zealand for the duration of their stay;
  3. demonstrate that they have sufficient funds for their maintenance and accommodation during the temporary stay period by proving assets of NZ$500,000.00 and an annual income of at least NZ$60,000.00, as at the date of submission of the application. These requirements must be met each time the visa is applied for;
  4. hold comprehensive medical insurance for the duration of their stay; and
  5. meet health and character requirements.

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Investor Categories
Investor: For those investing at least $1.5 million in New Zealand for four years. Applicants must be 65 years or younger, with at least $1 million in settlement funds and 3 years business experience. (Plus specific English language and annual stay requirements).
Investor Plus: For those investing at least $10 million in New Zealand for three years. The age and English language requirements are relaxed for this category.
All applicants under both categories must meet health and character requirements. The main advantage of this visa stream is that there is no requirement to actively own or operate a business in New Zealand.


The essential criteria are:

  • Investment of NZ$1.5 million of funds in NZ for a period of four years in an acceptable NZ investment (Govt or local body bonds, bonds issued by NZ firms listed on the NZ Debt Securities market, bonds issued by NZ firms with at least a BBB rating, equity in NZ firms (including managed funds).
  • An additional $1m in 'settlement funds' must be available to the applicant but need not be transferred to NZ
  • Investment funds must be proven to have been lawfully earned or acquired (this includes inherited or donated)
  • All investments must be in New Zealand dollars and must come to New Zealand through the trading bank system,  
  • Upper age limit of 65
  • Health and character tests must be passed
  • Applicants must have appropriate business experience (minimum three years)
  • English language competency a requirement but at a low level 

This is a points system with a 'floating' pass mark. There are 300 places available through a pool system (as per the Skilled Migrant Category). The process is broadly:

(1) File your Expression of Interest - this is your claim to identity, health, character and points - age, business experience, English language and Investment Funds. No supporting documents is presented at this stage.

(2) If you have sufficient points you will be selected from the pool. Pool draws take place fortnightly the more you invest the greater your chance of selection as a general rule 
(3) Immigration New Zealand issues an "Invitation to Apply" for residence. 
(4) From the time your application for residence is approved in principle you have 12 months to transfer your investment to New Zealand.

(5) Once your funds are transferred and evidence provided the Immigration Department will grant you a residence visa under Section 18(a) of the Immigration Act. 
In the last three years of the investment you must as principle applicant spend not less than 146 days out of each 365 period in New Zealand.

Investor Plus:
The essential criteria are:

  • No age limit 
  • No English language requirement
  • No business experience requirement
  • Nominated investment funds that have been lawfully earned or acquired totalling $10 million
  • Investment of NZ$10 million for a period of three years
  • NZ investment
  • Health and character tests must be passed

A successful applicant is required to spend at least 73 days in each of the last two years of the three year investment period and you will have to retain your investment funds in an acceptable investment(s) for three years.

  • New Zealand in accordance with the LTBV creating three additional jobs for New Zealand residents or citizens.

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Work to Residence and Residence from Work

The Work to Residence category allows you to get a temporary work visa and/or permit as a step towards gaining permanent residence. Applicants may be qualified in occupations that are in demand in New Zealand, or may have exceptional talent in sports or the arts. The Residence from Work category is for people who are already in New Zealand on a Work to Residence permit, and want to apply for residence.
If you are a key employee of a business that is relocating its operations to New Zealand, you can apply for a work permit and later a residence permit under our Employee of a Relocating Company category.
Talent (Accredited Employers) requires an offer of employment from an Accredited Employer with a salary in excess of NZ$55,000 p.a. You may apply for residence after 2 years continuous employment.
Talent (Arts, Culture and Sports) Work Policy permit is provided for applicants who will enhance the quality of New Zealands accomplishments and participation in your field of art, culture or sport. You may apply for residence after 2 years continuous active engagement.
If you obtain a work visa or permit to allow you to work for an employer in New Zealand in an occupation on the Long Term Skill Shortage List, you can apply for residence under Long Term Skill Shortage List Residence Policy provided you have worked continuously for that employer for 24 months and comply with the policy requirements.

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