NZ tightens immigration criteria

Changes made to New Zealand’s immigration programme last week will make it harder for many would-be migrants to qualify for a visa.

Last week, the NZ Government lifted the skilled migrant ‘pass mark’ to 160 points – from 100 with a job offer, or 140 without a job offer.

Licensed immigration adviser David Cooper believes that the changes mean that people without any university qualifications are going struggle to reach the 160-point mark –  no matter what experience they may have had in their career.

“Take, for example, a 50-year-old chief executive, who may have run big public companies or multi-national companies overseas,” Cooper explains. “He or she might be keen to move to New Zealand and identify a suitable role here, or maybe even been head hunted for a job. But without a university qualification there is a good chance they will not qualify for a visa right now.”

A couple of other hurdles are in their way too. The first is the reduction of the numbers New Zealand will accept for the next two years from between 90,000-100,000 down to 85,000- 95,000.

The second is compulsory English language testing for people wanting to emigrate from non-English speaking countries.

“It is certainly going to be harder for people wanting to migrate to New Zealand to first navigate the rules and then find enough to convince immigration officials that they meet the new standards,” Cooper says. “There are other visa solutions to explore for skilled workers wanting residence, but people are going to need professional advice to navigate the new rules.”

The adviser has another warning for potential migrants who ultimately want their parents to join them as permanent residents too.

“The number of migrants that will be allowed under the parent category has been reduced from 5,500 a year to 2,000, back dated to 1st July this year plus the category has been closed for anyone wanting to apply. From the work we do, I predict with certainty that there will be queues of young migrants waiting for a long time to get Mum and Dad to New Zealand.”

Article published 17th October