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Key visa categories reopened to help the economy


Tāmaki Makaurau – New Zealand’s skilled migrant category is to re-open under current settings while consultation begins on a proposed uncapped, simplified points system.

The government has announced the next steps in the plan to reconnect New Zealanders to the world and fill workforce shortages, with the resuming of selections for two residence visa categories visas that will help Kiwi businesses attract talent during the global worker shortage.

As the world recovers from covid, labour shortages continue to be a global symptom.

The changes to alleviate a constrained labour market will help further relieve staff shortages and ensure a competitive edge to attract talent to New Zealand.

By resuming the skilled migrant category to help attract more workers, the first selection will be at 160 points and subsequent selections at an increased threshold of 180 points.

Over 12,000 international migrants have applied for 511 different occupations across New Zealand since the accredited employer work visa opened.

The skilled migrant category provides a pathway for retaining the majority of these much needed skills in New Zealand permanently, strengthening our nation’s resilience to global shocks and economic security into the future.

The previous system restricted the number applications which were progressed through a planning range which meant that only 40 percent  of applications were processed in 2019.

“Our proposed changes, include removing the planning range, so that all applications that meet the criteria will be processed. It will also include a more simplified points system, will set a clear, fair and transparent eligibility threshold and offer several ways for people to demonstrate their skill level.

The proposed changes will also see a faster route to residence for very highly skilled migrants, such as university lecturers or scientists who hold a PhD, while other professionals such as teachers and registered tradespeople will have a clear route if they work for a period in New Zealand.

The number of parent resident visas granted each year will also increase to 2500 a year.

Resuming selections from existing expressions of interest queue is a priority for many migrant families. Selections will resume on November 14 and up to 2000 visas a year will be granted to people with existing expressions of interest.

Aotearoa is seeing a strong demand for the working holiday scheme, with more than 30,437 applications approved since March, with arrivals expected to pick up in the coming months.