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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 we use a points system. You get points for age, experience, employability and qualifications.

You can include your partner and dependent children in your application, but they all have to meet these basic criteriaabout health, Character, English Language.

How to apply


There are two steps:
  1. You complete an Expression of Interest, telling us about yourself, your family, your skills and your experience.
  2. If you have enough points, we accept your Expression of Interest, and send you an Invitation to Apply. You complete it, and return it to us with your supporting documents.

English Language Requirement:


Everyone included in your Skilled Migrant Category application will have to meet minimum standards of English. The standard that the principal applicant must meet is different to the standard his/her partner and children must meet.

Principal applicants


For the principal applicant (the person making the application) the minimum standard of English is an International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) certificate, with an overall band score of 6.5 or better in the General or Academic modules. The certificate must be less than two years old.

However, you may not have to take the IELTS test, if you can show us that you:
  • Have a recognised qualification from a course taught entirely in English
  • Have on-going skilled employment in New Zealand, and have been in the job for at least the last 12 months
  • Have other evidence that you are competent in English - INZ will consider the evidence that you provide.

Partners and children


Everyone else included in the application who is aged 16 and over must also meet a minimum standard of English. We accept the following proof of ability:

  • A recognised qualification from a course taught entirely in English.
  • You are in ongoing skilled employment in New Zealand, and have been for at least 12 months.
  • You have sufficient schooling in English:
    1. primary and at least three years' secondary schooling,
    2. five years' secondary schooling, or
    3. tertiary course of at least three years' length.
  • You have a recent IELTS certificate with an overall band score of 5 or better in the General or Academic modules.
A partner or child aged 16 or over who does not meet the requirements above, they can still meet our standard by paying for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). This allows them to improve their English after they arrive in New Zealand.

You pay for the level of course required depending on your current level of English. If you have no IELTS certificate, or a score below 3.5, you have to pay the full amount. But if you have had an IELTS test and your score was 3.5 or above, you will pay less.

If overall IELTS band score is then you'll pay
4.5 or more but below 5NZ$1,700
4 or more but below 4.5NZ$3,350
3.5 or more but below 4NZ$5,000
Below 3.5NZ$6,650

You purchase tuition from New Zealand's Tertiary Education Commission. You must pay us for the ESOL training before INZ will grant your residence class visa. The fee includes the tuition cost and an administration fee.

In some cases INZ may request the certificates before inviting you to apply for residence.

Health Requirement


Each applicant for residence, including those invited to apply for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category, must complete a Medical and Chest X-ray Certificate. This includes each member of your family coming to New Zealand (including children).

Pregnant women and children under the age of 11 years are not required to submit the Chest X-ray certificate unless a special report is required.
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