Changes made to NZ Residence Programme

New Zealand’s Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse has announced changes to the NZ Residence Programme (NZRP) for the next two years.

The New Zealand Residence Programme sets a planning range for the total number of people approved residence over a multi-year period, and determines the proportion of residence places allocated to the different residence streams in order to balance economic and social benefits.

The three residence streams under the NZRP are Skilled/Business, Family, and International/Humanitarian. The largest single category is the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) within the Skilled/Business stream, which makes up around half of the entire residence programme.

“Migrants make a valuable contribution to New Zealand both culturally and economically, and the Government periodically reviews all our immigration settings to make sure they are working as intended,” Minister Woodhouse explained.

“While we are confident our immigration settings are working well, the NZ Residence Programme is reviewed every couple of years to ensure we have the right number and skill mix of people gaining residence. As part of that review, I am announcing a small change to the total number of people gaining residence.

“We will also be making some changes to better manage the Skilled Migrant and Family Categories at a time when demand for gaining residence under these categories continues to grow,” he added.

The changes include:

– Changing the planning range for residence approvals for the next two years to 85,000 – 95,000 (down from 90,000 – 100,000);

– Raising the number of points required for residence from 140 to 160 points under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC); and

– Reducing the number of places for the capped family categories to 2,000 per year (down from 5,500).

“Increasing the points required to gain residence from 140 to 160 will moderate the growth in applications in the Skilled Migrant Category and enable us to lower the overall number of migrants gaining residence,” Minister Woodhouse continued.

“Changes to the Family Category, including temporarily closing the Parent Category to new applications, will also reduce the total number of migrants being granted residence. Raising the points will also prioritise access for higher-skilled SMC migrants, ensuring we strike the right balance between attracting skilled workers that allow companies to grow and managing demand in a period of strong growth,” he concluded.

Article published 11th October 2016