How do residency points work?

4:18 pm on 27 July 2015

The news the Government is trebling residency points for immigrants who settle outside Auckland is music to the ears of those scraping together enough points to stay in New Zealand - but what does it really mean?

A woman with a backpack pulls a suitcase through an airport.

Photo: 123RF

People wanting to become a New Zealand resident under the Skilled Migrant Category need 100 points to even be considered. Everything from age to work experience to qualifications to having close family already here counts.

More on the policy change announced yesterday

The Immigration New Zealand website outlines criteria and the various points, with 60 as the highest on offer for one single attribute - awarded to those working in a skilled job in New Zealand for more than a year and to those with a masters degree or a doctorate.

Anyone with a job offer or who has been working in a skilled job here for less than a year attracts 50 points, as do those with a degree.

People with a trade qualification or diploma attract 40 points, and after that it comes down to age versus experience: people aged 20 to 29 get 30 points, as do those with 10 years' work experience in skilled employment.

If you're aged 30-39 you attract 25 points, as do people with eight years' experience in skilled employment; 20 points goes to 40 to 44 year olds, those with six years' in a skilled job, those whose partner has a skilled job or job offer, and those with a partner who has a degree.

The job is hardest for 50 to 55 year olds, who attract only five points; those aged over 55 need not apply.

Still no guarantees

The applications from people who earn more than 140 points are automatically selected and their information is then assessed, while those who accumulate 100 to 140 are considered.

So someone aged 30 to 39 (25 points) who has a doctorate or masters degree (60 points), has been working in a skilled job in New Zealand for more than a year (60 points) and who has 10 years' work experience (30 points) in a skilled job would earn 175 points.

Sky Tower. Auckland CBD

From November, the number of points given to skilled migrants with a job offer outside Auckland will increase from 10 to 30. They would need to commit to that region for at least 12 months. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

A 50 to 55-year-old (five points) with a job offer (50 points) but no qualifications might struggle.

However, they would get to the 100 points needed to be considered if that job was outside Auckland - giving them an extra 30 points instead of the existing 10 - if they had close family here (10 points) and they had worked in New Zealand for a year (five points), taking their total to 100.

But that's still no guarantee you'll be able to move here: Immigration New Zealand has the final say, based on an assessment which includes such things as your ability to settle in New Zealand.

"If you meet our criteria, and we believe you will settle successfully and contribute to New Zealand, we will offer you a resident visa," it says.

That offer is currently extended to about 10,000 people each year, half of who settle in Auckland.

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