Skilled Migration Category – Expression of Interest (EOI)

The Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) offers you the opportunity to move to New Zealand to work and live permanently.

Who can apply?

To be eligible for residence under SMC you must:

  • be 55 or under
  • be healthy
  • be of good character
  • speak English.

To decide if you can apply New Zealand Immigration use a points system. You get points for age, experience, employability and qualifications.

How to apply

There are two steps:

  1. You complete an Expression of Interest, telling about yourself, your family, your skills and your experience.
  1. If you have enough points, New Zealand Immigration accept your Expression of Interest, and send you an Invitation to Apply. You complete it, and return it to New Zealand Immigration with your supporting documents.

If you want to qualify under the Skilled Migrant Category, there are some requirements you must meet.

Minimum standards

You can include your partner and dependent children in your application, but you all have to meet these standards.

  • Health: You must be healthy. If you are invited to apply for residence, you and your family will have to be assessed by an approved doctor.
  • Character: You and your family must be of good character. New Zealand Immigration don’t allow some people who have committed serious crimes to come to New Zealand.
  • English language: You and your family will need to meet a certain level of ability in spoken and written English.
  • Occupational registration: If you need occupational registration and do not have it, you will not be able to work in your chosen occupation under the Skilled Migrant Category.

Claiming points on your Expression of Interest (EOI)

If you meet the minimum standards, you will want to know how many points you can claim on your EOI. You’ll need at least 100 points to go into the ‘pool’ that New Zealand Immigration select EOIs from every two weeks.

  • Skilled employment: You can claim 50-60 points for a job or a job offer in New Zealand that requires specialist, technical, or management expertise. You can get bonus points, for example if the job/job offer is in certain industries, or if your partner also has a skilled job/job offer.
  • Work experience: You can claim points for at least two years’ work experience in the same field in which you have skilled employment. An example is if your experience is in New Zealand, or in certain industries.
  • Recognised qualification: New Zealand Immigration award 40-60 points for a variety of trade certificates, diplomas, bachelor degrees and post-graduate qualifications. You can get bonus points for qualifications, too.
  • Age: New Zealand Immigration award a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 30 points for age. You must be under 55 years old to apply.
  • Close family: You can claim 10 points if you have close family with New Zealand residence or citizenship


Student Visa

Everyone who comes to study in New Zealand from overseas must meet certain rules and requirements. If you are coming to New Zealand to study for more than three months, you will need a student visa.


To get a visa to study in New Zealand you and the course you intend to study must meet the requirements.

If you are enrolling in a course for the first time, you need to have an offer of place from a New Zealand education provider.

Your course must be approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

If you are returning to the same New Zealand education provider to continue a course of study (eg the second year of a three year Bachelor degree) you may provide a confirmation of enrolment from the education provider instead of an offer of a place.


You may have to be accompanied by a guardian (your parent or legal guardian), who will come to New Zealand with you. You need a guardian if you are enrolled in years 1 to 8 of a school, or a student aged 13 or under and enrolled in a private training establishment.

Health and character

You have to meet our health and character requirements and prove that your intent is genuine.

Some people who have committed serious crimes will not be allowed into New Zealand at all.

Evidence of funds to support yourself

To gain a student visa New Zealand Immigration want to see that you are able to meet your living costs during your stay.

Visa conditions

Once you have a student visa, you must meet certain conditions during your stay.

  • You must attend the place of study noted on your visa. However, you may apply to change your course and/or education provider.
  • If you have to be accompanied by a guardian, you must live with that person.
  • You must be able to show that you are passing your course and meeting your attendance requirements.
  • You may only undertake work allowed by your student visa.
  • You must obey New Zealand’s laws.
  • You must only stay in New Zealand for the time allowed by your visa.
  • If you breach any of these conditions you may liable for deportation.


Visitors to New Zealand

You will need to apply for a visitor visa before you come to New Zealand if you are not from a visa-waiver country.


When you apply for a visitor visa, we need to know that:

  • you are in good health
  • you are of good character
  • a visitor visa fits your purpose for coming to New Zealand, and
  • you are a bona fide temporary visitor.

Your passport

You will need to provide your passport with your application. The passport must be valid for at least three months past the date you are to leave New Zealand, or one month past the date you intend to leave if the government issuing your passport has consular representation in New Zealand.

Proof that you plan to leave New Zealand

You will need to show us that you intend to leave within the period of your visa. For example:

  • travel tickets (confirmed or open-dated) out of New Zealand to a country which you have the right to enter; or
  • written confirmation from an airline or travel agency that onward travel has been booked and paid for.

Any non-refundable travel arrangements are made at your own risk as the outcome of your application cannot be guaranteed.

Proof of funds

You will also need to show us proof that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay. This means you have a minimum of:

  • NZ$1000 per person per month of the visit, or
  • NZ$400 per person per month if accommodation has already been paid for – we will require proof of prepayment, such as hotel prepaid vouchers.

Sufficient funds can be in the form of:

  • cash
  • travellers’ cheques
  • bank drafts
  • recognised credit cards with sufficient credit available – we recommend that visitors have an up-to-date credit card statement.

We will also accept a declaration by an acceptable sponsor that they will pay for your accommodation and maintenance. See the Sponsorship for Temporary Entry (INZ 1025) PDF [237KB].

Who cannot get a visa?

  • People who don’t meet the basic requirements listed above.
  • People who have committed serious crimes may not be allowed into New Zealand at all. Sections 15 and 16 of the Immigration Act 2009 outline what disqualifies an applicant in these terms.

If your application is incomplete when you submit it, you submit false information or you don’t meet our requirements, we may refuse or decline your application.

How long can I stay?

The maximum stay under a visitor visa is usually nine months in an 18-month period.


To work this out, we:

  1. look at the last day that you intend to be in New Zealand (eg 1 July 2012)
  2. count back 18 months from that date (eg 1 January 2011)
  3. check that you will not be spending more than nine months in New Zealand during this time (eg 1 January 2011 to 1 July 2012).