Skilled Migrant Category

Applicants with high fluency in English plus qualifying work experience and/or qualifications might qualify for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC).  The SMC is a points’ based system for gaining residence status in New Zealand.  Applicant must have at least 160 points.  Points are awarded for:


An applicant must be under 56 when the application is lodged.

English Fluency

Applicants from non-English speaking countries achieve a minimum score on an English language test, for example, achieving overall score of 6.5 on IELTS.


Applicants qualify for points if they have a recognised qualification. If the qualification is not automatically recognised it may require a qualification assessment from the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

Job Offer or Existing Job

Applicants qualify for points for having fulltime employment or an offer of fulltime employment in a skilled occupation that is relevant to their qualification or work experience.  Fulltime is at least 30 hours a week.

  • The job description must substantially match the tasks described in the Australia New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO)
  • The employment must be genuine and sustainable


A job classified as ANZSCO level 1, 2 or 3 – MUST earn at least $25 an hour.

A job classified as ANZSCO level 4 or 5 – MUST earn at least $37.50 an hour

Skill Shortage

If an applicant’s qualification or occupation is listed on the Skills Shortage Lists the applicant could gain additional points.

Work experience

Applicants could gain additional points for work experience that is relevant to the job offer or relevant to the applicant’s qualifications.

Spouse or partner

Additional points could be gained if the applicant’s partner has a recognised qualification or skilled job offer and meets the minimum level of English

Employment outside Auckland

If the applicant’s employment is outside of Auckland, then applicant will be awarded a bonus of 30 points.

Character / Health

Applicants must also meet the policy requirements for character and health.