New Zealand Immigration Services

Living in New Zealand – A Guide for Migrants

To migrate to New Zealand, you will need to apply for a Visa or Permit. However, before you consider applying we recommend that you find out about living in New Zealand.

www.immigration.govt.nz/LivingInNewZealand

New Zealand aims to grant residence to people who have skills, experience and relevant job offers to fill employment opportunities that the New Zealand government has identified as necessary for growth. New Zealand wants people migrating to settle in New Zealand, feeling they are welcomed and are able to make a positive contribution.

The ‘Skilled Migrant’ immigration category ensures that both New Zealand and new migrants can experience positive social, cultural and economic outcomes of living and working together. Every year migrants from all over the world make New Zealand their new home.

If you wish to migrate to New Zealand, you need to apply to the New Zealand Immigration Service for resident status. Resident status in New Zealand entitles you to live, study and work indefinitely in New Zealand.

However, certain people do not need to apply for residence to live in New Zealand including:

  • New Zealand citizens, who must show valid New Zealand passports on entering New Zealand; and
  • Australian citizens, who must show valid Australian passports on entering New Zealand; and
  • Australian permanent residents, who must show valid Australian resident return visas on entering New Zealand.

Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents must be of good character.
When you are approved residence, you will be issued a Residence Visa if you apply outside New Zealand or a Residence Permit if you apply in New Zealand.

Residence Visa

A Residence Visa is normally valid for one year and is for a single entry. You must use this visa before its expiry in order to activate your resident status. This visa allows you to travel to New Zealand and be granted a Residence Permit on arrival.

Residence Permit

A Residence Permit allows you to reside in New Zealand for an indefinite period. However, this permit will expire once you leave New Zealand.

If you wish to leave New Zealand temporarily after taking up residence, you must have a valid Returning Residence Visa in your passport to ensure your re-entry into New Zealand. You will be issued your first Returning Resident’s Visa when residence is approved.

Categories of visa for residence

There are four main categories for residence applications in New Zealand:

  • Business
  • Family
  • Refugee Family Quota
  • Skilled Migrant Category

Business Categories

The objective of the business immigration policy is to attract migrants who will contribute to economic growth through:

  • increasing New Zealand’s level of human capital; and
  • encouraging enterprise and innovation; and
  • fostering external links.

There are currently four business categories available:

Investor Category

The Investor Category is a points based system. This means you score points based on a number of factors such as age, business experience and investment funds. Your application will only be successful if you score sufficient points to meet the pass mark.

Entrepreneur Category

You may apply under the Entrepreneur Category if you have successfully established a business in New Zealand for a period of at least two years.

Long Term Business Visa/Permit

You may apply for a Long Term Business Visa/Permit if you are interested in applying for residence under the Entrepreneur Category. You may also apply under this category if you are interested in establishing a business in New Zealand but do not wish to live permanently in New Zealand. This is not a residence policy. You will be granted a work visa or permit for up to three years if your application is successful.

Employees of Relocating Businesses

You may apply under the Employees of Relocating Businesses category if you are a key employee of a business relocating to New Zealand. This category is set up to assist the promotion of New Zealand as a place in which to invest and locate business, by facilitating the granting of residence to employees of businesses relocating to New Zealand.

Family Categories

The objective of Family Category Policy is to strengthen families and communities, while reinforcing the Government’s overall objectives in immigration policy.

The Family Category is available to you if you:

  • Are in a genuine and stable relationship (either legally married or in an interdependent partnership akin to a marriage, whether heterosexual or same sex) with a New Zealand citizen or resident who sponsors their application; or
  • Have immediate family members who are New Zealand citizens or residents and who live permanently in New Zealand, or
  • Are the dependent children of New Zealand citizens or residents.

Which Family Members Can I Include?

The following applicant’s may be included in applications:

  • Principal Applicant
  • Partner
  • Dependent Children
  • Custody of Dependent Children Under 16
  • Adopted Children

Partner

Your partner may be included in your residence application if you are legally married or in an interdependent partnership akin to a marriage.

For the purposes of Partnership policy, you and your partner (whether heterosexual or same sex) must be in a genuine and stable relationship. For Residence to be granted, you must have been living together, in your genuine and stable relationship for a minimum of 12 months.

Note: If you are in a polygamous partnership, you may include only one partner in your application for residence.

Dependent Children

You and/or your partner’s dependent children may be included in your residence application if they are totally or substantially reliant on you and/or your partner for financial support (whether living with you or not) and they are:

  • aged 17 to 24 with no child(ren) of their own and single;
  • or aged 16 or younger and single.

Custody of Dependent Children Under 16

If you and your partner are divorced or separated, you may include your dependent child under 16 only if you have the right to remove your dependent child from its country of residence.

Such dependent children will not be granted residence unless satisfactory evidence of the right to remove the child from its country of residence is submitted.

Adopted Children

Children who have been legally adopted, or who have been adopted according to cultural custom are regarded as members of the family into which they have been adopted.

Family Quota Category

The Family Quota Category is available to those applicants:

who are not eligible for residence under any other category of residence policy; and
who are sponsored by a family member who is a New Zealand citizen or resident living permanently in New Zealand; and
whose sponsor’s registration is drawn from the pool of people who have registered as sponsors under the Family Quota Category.

The Quota size is announced each year.

Refugee Family Quota Category

The Refugee Family Quota Category is available to those applicants:

  • who are not eligible for residence under any other category of residence policy with the exception of the Family Quota Category; and
  • who are sponsored by a family member who was granted New Zealand residence on the basis of their status as a refugee and is living permanently in New Zealand; and
  • whose sponsor’s registration is drawn from the pool of people who have registered as sponsors under the Refugee Family Quota Category.

Sponsors wishing to lodge a registration for 2003 should fill in a Registration Form for Refugee Family Quota Sponsor and send it to:

NZIS, Refugee Family Quota,
PO Box 5347,
Wellesley St,
Auckland.

Skilled Migrant Category

The Skilled Migrant Category is designed to match the skills that migrants bring, with the skills New Zealand needs. Specifically New Zealand is looking to build it’s capacity. New Zealand is looking for people with skills that will help the Country achieve sustainable growth and feed innovation in New Zealand. New Zealand is looking for people who will build global connections and at the same time enrich the communities in which they live.

How the Skilled Migrant Category works

Applying for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category involves you submitting an Expression of Interest in applying for residence. In this Expression of Interest you determine the points you may claim as skilled migrant. To be considered under this category you need to be of good health, good character, have a reasonable standard of English and be under 56 years of age. You will also need to meet the threshold of 100 points to register an Expression of Interest.

The points system

The points system is designed to allow Expressions of Interest to be ranked so that New Zealand can extend invitations to apply for residence to people who have the most to offer New Zealand. Points are available for skilled employment in New Zealand, work experience, qualifications and age. Bonus points are available for employment in areas of identified future growth or absolute skills shortage or within identified clusters. Bonus points are also available for employment outside Auckland and for New Zealand qualifications gained in New Zealand over at least two years.

Expressions of Interest that meet the prerequisites and the minimum points score go into the Expression of Interest Pool, where they are ranked from highest to lowest according to their point scores. The government then makes regular selections of the highest ranked Expressions of Interest from the Pool.

Our New Zealand Immigration advice is provided by qualified specialists, who deal with NZ Immigration law on a day-to-day basis.

All immigration work for Australia and New Zealand will be undertaken by our affiliate firm, Migration Matters Pty Ltd.