Skilled Migrant Category and Residence from Work processing times


What is Skilled Migrant Category?

This visa is aimed towards people who can contribute to New Zealand’s economic and commercial growth. The immigration office requires people to send an ‘Expression of Interest (EOI) which consists of description about the applicant’s employment in New Zealand, relevant work experience and educational qualification. If immigration New Zealand is satisfied with the EOI then it sends an invitation to the applicant to apply for the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) visa. This Visa allows the applicant to live, study and work in New Zealand for an indefinite period.


The Skill Migrant Category Visa or SMC resident visa uses a points system with factors such as age, qualifications, work experience, family connection, and a skilled employment offer as the basis. You must also be 55 years old or younger, and pass all requirements regarding the English language, health, and character to be eligible for this type of visa.

Under this type of visa, an applicant can include their partner, and dependent children who are 24 years of age and under, in their residence application.

Before applying, an Expression of Interest (EOI) must be sent to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) informing them about your qualifications, work experience and capacity to contribute and settle to New Zealand.

This will be scored by INZ and if it attains more than one hundred sixty (160) points, that is when they will offer you a chance to submit a residence application.

Unlike other types of visa offered by the New Zealand government, the cost and process of an SMC resident visa is quite different. To give you an idea of how much it will possibly cost you, please refer to the table below:

Country of Application Online EOI Application Fee Visa Application Fee (with levy)
Based in New Zealand $ 530 $ 2,710

2021 Resident Visa processing:

Processing applications for the 2021 Resident Visa is a priority for us. The criteria for this new visa category are clear and easy to assess.

Due to the simplified application and assessment process, 2021 Resident Visa applications will be processed quicker than skilled residence (Skilled Migrant, or Residence from Work category) applications. We expect most to be processed within 12 months.

Most of our Skilled Residence staff are assigned to process 2021 Resident Visa applications. We will keep a small team of immigration officers processing skilled residence applications where the principal applicant is not eligible, or chose not to apply, for the new 2021 Resident Visa.

Processing time frames:

As a result of the 2020 COVID-19 border restrictions, offshore visa application processing was placed on hold. During this time we reported on the number of skilled residence applications in the offshore and onshore general queue separately.

Now that application processing for applicants outside of New Zealand has started again, the skilled residence general queue now includes onshore and offshore applications.

As of 20 June 2022, the oldest application in the skilled residence general queue was received on 12 August 2019.


Total number of unallocated skilled residence applications as of 20 June 2022:

Queue Number of applications
General Queue 1,341
Priority Queue 6

Skilled residence queue data is subject to visa processing operations and changes over time for reasons such as:

  • applications moving between queues due to a change in an applicant’s circumstances
  • applications are going through the Employment Visa Escalation (EVE) process
  • staff workload capacity.

We let applicants know when their application is allocated to an immigration officer.

The time taken to assess applications very much depends on:

  • the quality of the supporting documents
  • how soon we get more information or verification.





Novaturient is a Licensed Immigration consultant that offer Visa services in acquiring Permanent Resident Visa, Student Visa and Visit Visa for countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Schengen Countries and the UK.

Call us: 9731473738

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Novaturient Visas

Novaturient is a Licensed Immigration consultant that offer Visa services in acquiring Permanent Resident Visa, Student Visa and Visit Visa for countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Schengen Countries and the UK.

Call Us: 080-44324151

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