Immigration in New Zealand

Who can apply?


Economic immigrants


The information on this website is updated periodically, but for full details and the latest updates, check the immigration site of the New Zealand Government.

In the year 2008-2009, 46,097 immigrants were approved (zie link).

In 2009-2010 in total 45,719 (of which 28,473 economic immigrants)

In 2010-2011in total 40,737 (of which 23,145 economic immigrants)

In 2011-2012 in total 40,448 (of which 20,431 economic immigrants).

For the three-year period of 2011-2012 to 2013-2014, the target number is at 135,000 to 150,000.

Breakdown in immigrant categories:

  • ±60% economic immigrants (“business”)
  • ±30% family class immigrants
  • ±10% refugees & humanitarian class (asylumseekers)

1. Family class immigrants (link):

  • spouse or a partner who is in a “de facto relationship” with a New Zealand citizen or resident that has lasted for at least 2 years
  • dependent children of a New Zealand citizen or resident
  • parents of a New Zealand citizen or resident

2. Economic immigrants (“business class”):

There are five categories of economic immigrants.

(a) skilled workers (link)

For the “skilled migrant category”, the applicant must:

  • be no older than 55 years of age
  • be in good health
  • be of good character
  • meet a minimum standard of English language skills

The occupations for which ‘skilled workers’ may apply are listed on the List of Skilled Occupations (link). An “Expression of Interrest” may be submitted on the basis of a points system. The applicant under the “skilled workers” category must score at least 100 points from the selection criteria below. To see how many points he/she will score, the applicant can complete the online self-assessment test.

1. skilled employment

(max. 60 points)

60 points if the applicant has already been in skilled employment in New Zealand for at least 12 months.

50 points if the applicant has a job offer, or has been in skilled employment in New Zealand for less than 12 months.

2. work experience

(max. 30 points)

10 years or more: 30 points

8 years: 25 points

6 years: 20 points

4 years:15 points

2 years: 10 points

3. qualifications

(max. 60 points)

60 points if the applicant has a recognized higher degree (Master’s or Doctorate)

50 points: for a qualification at the level of Bachelor Degree

40 points: the applicant has a recognized trade qualification or diploma.

4. close family

(max. 10 points)

10 points: your, or your partner’s, adult brother or sister, adult child, or parent, who is a resident or citizen of New Zealand and has New Zealand as his/her primary place of residence.
5. age

(max. 30 points)

20-29 = 30 points

30-39 = 25 points

40-44 = 20 points

45-49 = 10 points

50-55 = 5 points

1. skilled employment (max. 20 points) 20 points: if the applicant’s spouse or partner is employed or has an offer of employment in New Zealand

10 points: for employment in skilled jobs in which there is an expected future growth, or for employment in skilled jobs of which there is a shortage, or if the applicant is employed outside Auckland.

2. work experience in New Zealand

(max. 15points)

 15 points: 3 years or more

10 points: 2 years

5 points:  1 year

3. experience in areas of future growth

(max. 15 points)

15 points 6 years or more:

10 points: 2 to 5 years

Refer to the Long Term Skill Shortage List (link)

4. experience in absolute shortage areas

(max. 15 points)

15 points: 6 years or more

10 points: 2 to 5 years

refer to the Immediate Skill Shortage List (link)

5. qualifications (max. 10 points) 10 points: for a recognized New Zealand qualification (and at least 2 years of study in New Zealand), for qualifications held by the applicant’s spouse or partner, or for qualifications in an area of absolute skills shortage

5 points: for a qualification in an area of absolute skills shortage

(b) investors (link)

In order to obtain permanent residence as an investor, the applicant must meet the following criteria:

(1) The applicant must invest at least NZD 1.5 million for a period of four years.

(2) The applicant must have a minimum of NZD 1 million of settlement funds.

(3) The time spent in New Zealand must be at least 146 days in each year of the last three years of the four-year investment period.

(4) The applicant must have at least three years of relevant business experience

(5) The applicant must be of good health and character (“police certificate”).

(6) The applicant’s maximum age is 65.

(7) The applicant must be a competent user of English (i.e. with an English-speaking background, or an overall IELTS score of three or more.

Under the “Investor Plus Category“, there is a minimum investment requirement of NZD 10 million for three years, but there are no age and language requirements, and the minimum time spent in New Zealand is 44 days in each year of the last two years of the three-year investment period.

(c) entrepreneurs (link)

In order to obtain permanent residence as an entrepreneur, the applicant must meet the following criteria:

(1) The applicant must have successfully established a business in New Zealand;

(2) This business must benefit New Zealand (according to the business plan);

(3) The applicant has worked in his/her business for at least 2 years (up to 3 years).

This period may be bridged by first applying for a Long-Term Business Visa.

This visa is granted for nine months and can be renewed up to 3 times (a maximum of three years) if the applicant is able to show that reasonable progress has been made in setting up the business.

(4)The amount of investment capital is not specified, but the applicant needs to demonstrate that it is sufficient to start the business.

(5) There is no maximum age, but the applicant must meet health, character, financial (enough money to support yourself and, if applicable, your partner and children for the duration of the long-term business visa) and English language (IELTS 4) requirements.

A faster way to obtain permanent residence is via the “Entrepreneur Plus Category“.

Residence can be granted (with conditions) within the 9-month period of a Long Term Business Visa. Some additional requirements have to be met:

(1) A minimum investment capital of NZD 500,000;

(2) At least 3 new FTE (full-time equivalent) jobs for New Zealanders must be created.

(d) long-term business (link)

This is not a residence category, but could be the first step on your pathway to a permanent residence visa.

A long-term business visa will be valid for nimne months, and may be renewed no more than three times, up to a total period of 3 years. Within that period, permanent residence may be applied for as an Entrepreneur or Investor (see above).

The application for a long-term business visa is subject to the following requirements:

(1) The applicant needs to submit a sound business plan;

(2) The applicant must provide have sufficient relevant business experience;

(3) The applicant must have sufficient relevant knowledge about the New Zealand business environment;

(4) The intended business venture must benefit New Zealand.

(e) employee of a relocating business (link)

The applicant must be a key employee of a business relocating to New Zealand, and must not be eligible for residence under any other residence policy. The applicant will be invited to apply for a temporary work visa or permit. After having worked for the relocated business for 2 years, permanent residence may be granted, subject to conditions.

All economic immigrants have to meet requirements concerning finance, health, conduct and language proficiency:

  • the financial requirement (enough money for the maintenance of the applicant and his dependants during the first 24 months in New Zealand).
  • A settlement information fee has to be paid, as well as a migrant levy for employment-based migrants.
  • the health requirement (link.
  • charachter requirement (link)
  • an English language requirement is met if the applicant has an English-speaking background or can show other evidence of his proficiency and/or obtains a certificate under the International English Language Testing System (=IELTS).
The nearest embassy for visa enquiries is in London:

New Zealand Immigration Service
NZ House
80 Haymarket
London SW1Y 4TE
Phone: +44 13 44 71 61 99 International
Fax: (207) 973 0370
Website: click here