Visa Applicants Encouraged to Move to Regional New Zealand

Aerial view of New Zealand

New visa criteria applied from 1 November 2015 for those willing to apply for a New Zealand Permanent Skilled Visa and Essential Skills Temporary Work Visa.

Changes on the New Zealand Skilled Migrant Program

  • Points for job offer outside Auckland for Skilled Migrant Visa are increased from 10 to 30.
  • Points for entrepreneurs under the Entrepreneur Work Visa are increased from 20 to 40.
  • More clarity for employers in the visa process through streamlined labour market test.

Applicants who have claimed 10 points for job offer outside Auckland and whose applications have not yet been processed will automatically get the additional points now. Skilled migrants getting a permanent visa should not take up work in Auckland for 12 months after their skilled visa is granted. They will need to remain outside Auckland for 12 months if they’ve not yet taken the position or have been in their job for three months or less.

Changes on the New Zealand Essential Skills Program

Employers can now seek advice from Work and Income Service New Zealand to obtain a Skills Match Report before a visa application is lodged, not after that. It is expected that this will significantly cut the visa processing time as Immigration New Zealand officers will no longer need to do routine checks after a visa application is submitted.

All employers are now encouraged to contact Work and Income prior to applicant’s visa application although they will still be able to hire low skilled occupations without a Skills Match Report. This will be possible until March 2016 when all low skilled applicants will need to submit a Skills Match Report as part of their visa application.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said: “The changes will encourage skilled migrants and entrepreneurs to settle outside Auckland. For skilled roles that are hard to fill in certain regions, we should be doing more to attract and retain high calibre migrants to help those regions grow. These changes will contribute to a better balance in our immigration settings and will allow regions to access more of the people, skills and investment they need to build the local growth needed to support jobs and higher incomes.”

Visa First is a leading international immigration consulting company. For additional information about New Zealand visas, you can e-mail us at

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