New Zealand is one of the youngest countries in the world, with the first settlers – the Maori – arriving barely 1,000 years ago. In fact, large-scale settlement by the Europeans only took place over the last 150 years. It is interesting to note that all New Zealanders are either immigrants, or descendants of immigrants. In spite of being a relatively small country, New Zealand has an incredible diversity of landscapes and wild life. The country’s easily accessible and beautiful countryside offers a wide range of leisure and lifestyle options.

While New Zealand’s economy has traditionally been based on agriculture, in recent years the country has developed a world-class, unrestrictive business environment. This exciting growth in New Zealand’s business market has led to a surge in employment and incomes, and has also given impetus to developments in technology. The new opportunities created have given rise to a need for skilled qualified personnel. With a population of only around four million, New Zealand is now actively promoting skilled immigration to fill labour shortages. Home to people from over 145 different countries, New Zealand is truly a multicultural society that welcomes and celebrates the richness and diversity of its people.

This option is meant for individuals who are suitably qualified and can become a valuable part of New Zealand’s workforce by helping sustain the country’s economic growth.

Applicants must be under the age of 56 and must have a minimum of 100 points according to the points system. Applicants must also meet the health, character and English language prerequisites. An Expression of Interest can be lodged with Immigration New Zealand once these requirements have been met.

Under the points system, points are awarded for an offer of employment in New Zealand, work experience, qualifications and age. Bonus points are given for employment in areas of identified future growth, cluster or absolute skill shortages. Bonus points are also awarded for employment outside Auckland and for New Zealand qualifications.

Expressions of Interest received by Immigration New Zealand are pooled and then ranked according to specific selection criteria. Applications that meet the selection criteria are selected in sufficient numbers to meet the available places. These applicants are then invited to lodge an Application for Residence in New Zealand. All necessary documents to support the claims made in their Expression of Interest need to be provided.

Following the introduction of the Skilled Migrant Category in 2003, applicants with skilled jobs in New Zealand or an offer of skilled employment prior to applying have a high probability of being selected and invited to apply for residence.