Recent Changes To Skilled Migration Category (SMC) in New Zealand- My take

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There are lots of discussions going on regarding Immigration New Zealand’s recent changes to Skilled Migrant Category (SMC). Here are my thoughts on these changes.

When considering moving to or remaining in New Zealand permanently you should consider the recent changes to the Immigration policy. Knowing what those changes are; will better prepare you to make the journey to your new home.

Rest assured New Zealand wants you!

There has been a record migration in New Zealand and these have been praised as a sign of strong economic growth.

While not wanting to curb the migration that is fueling growth, the Government is attempting better manage immigration and improve the labour market contribution of temporary and permanent migration.

These changes are being done to relieve pressure on public services and infrastructure and are ostensibly designed to allow regions get the workers needed while sending fewer new arrivals to Auckland – which is experiencing difficulties due to a strong increase in population.Custom Logo Designer

Changes to the Skilled Migrant Categories

Here are some of the changes to Skilled Migrant Categories (SMC) that may affect you as a potential immigrant to New Zealand.

  • Two remuneration thresholds now exist for applicants applying for residence under the SMC.
    • Threshold one is set at the New Zealand median income of $48,859 per annum for jobs currently considered skilled.
    • Threshold two is set at 1.5 times the New Zealand median income of $73,299 a year for jobs well compensated but not currently considered skilled.
    • The automatic selection mark for SMC applicants increased from 140 points to 160 (Oct 2016)
    • The Government adjusted the points system to emphasize characteristics that have better migrant outcomes.
  • More points will be available
    • Skilled work experience
    • Some recognized post graduate qualifications
  • Points for age will increase for applicants aged 30-39

In addition, points will no longer be available for

  • Qualifications in an area of absolute skills shortage
  • Identified Future Growth Areas skilled employment, work experience and qualifications
  • Close family in New Zealand.

The changes are planned for implementation in mid-August of 2017.

What the changes to the SMC mean for you

While some fear that the changes to the Immigration rules will adversely affect them, the fact is while there will be an impact on some people in low paid employment, the changes expand the definition of skilled employment.

This will allow some people to obtain residence who have previously been unable to claim points for their employment in New Zealand.

These are people who are not currently considered to be in skilled employment because their job is not in an Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) skill level 1, 2 or 3.

People with these types of occupations will be able to claim points for their job if they are earning $73,299 or more per year.

What this ultimately means is that the changes put more focus on skilled work experience, more recognition of skill levels in the 30-39 age group and high salary levels.

There are also “bonus points” on offer for anyone paid more than $97,718 a year.  There will also be more points available for work experience, post-graduate degrees, and people aged between 30 and 39.

What’s the Bottom Line on Immigration to New Zealand

You should, of course, read the official New Zealand Immigration changes document, the bottom line is that the new changes have been implemented by the Government to attract more highly skilled workers to further benefit the thriving economy.Custom Logo Designer

The Government wants to continue the amazing migration it has been experiencing to the country which is increasing growth and prosperity.

The key to making a successful migration to New Zealand is understanding how your skills and background work within the new points system.

This will help reduce frustration and increase the chances that you will make an easier and more pleasant transition to your new home.

If you are planning to move or remain in New Zealand permanently, please contact me at to discuss your options.

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