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To support a reduced planning range for new residents, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has recently announced changes to certain categories of the New Zealand Residence Program (NZRP). The changes are not permanent and may be adjusted as necessary to manage the achievement of the overall NZRP.

New policies took effect on October 12, 2016. The changes are as follows:-

  1. Lower planning range of new residents

    INZ has lowered the planning range for the NZRP between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2018. The range is 85,000 to 95,000 compared with 90,000 to 100,000 for the last two years.
     

  2. Raise the automatic selection mark for Skilled Migrant Category

    The applicants applying for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) must have a minimum score of 160 points under a points-based system that takes qualifications, working experience, age, family in New Zealand and the possession, or an offer, of skilled employment in New Zealand into consideration. Prior to the change, those with 140 points, or 100 points and an offer of employment, were automatically considered for an invitation to apply.
     

  3. Reduce the number of places for the Capped Family category

    The number of places available under the Capped Family category will be decreased from 5,500 to 2,000 per year. As the number of applications currently being processed meets this reduced cap set by the government, the Parent Category will be closed temporarily for new applications.

    The sibling and adult child categories were closed in 2012 although applications made before this change are still being processed.
     

  4. Show evidence of meeting English language requirement

    Under the new policy, exemptions only exist for:

    • Citizens of Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom or the United States who have worked or gone to school, for five or more years, in one or more of those countries or Australia or New Zealand
    • Applicants who hold a recognized qualification that is equivalent to a New Zealand level seven bachelor’s degree gained in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom or the United States for no less than two years
    • Applicants who hold a recognized qualification that is equivalent to a New Zealand level eight gained in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom or the United States for no less than one year

Points to note:

  1. These changes do not affect those who hold the Work to Residence Visas and intend to apply for residence after the mandatory 24 months. This has less impact for those employees of companies who hold Accreditation with New Zealand Immigration.
  2. Dependent children and spouses do not form part of the Capped Family category.
  3. Applicants who have been working for 12 months in New Zealand will no longer automatically meet the language requirement under the new change.
  4. The new English language evidence requirements will also apply to the partner and any dependent children over the age of 16. If the partner or dependent children do not meet the minimum standard, they are required to pre-purchase English tuition (ESOL).
  5. INZ advises that the new policies are subject to change.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from Immigration New Zealand.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Debra Beynon, Regional Immigration Manager, APAC: dbeynon@crownww.com.

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