New Zealand immigration policy changes effective 30 July 2007

31 July 2007

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A number of changes to New Zealand's immigration policy will go into effect on 30 July 2007 including changes to Residence policy and Temporary Entry policy. Visa and permit application fees will also change.

Changes to Residence immigration programs

There are several changes to the points awarded under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC):

A detailed view of the changes to the SMC for skilled employment, recognized qualifications and work experience in an identified future growth area is below:

Increased Bonus Points for Skilled Employment:

CategoryPrevious PolicyNew Policy
Skilled Employment5 points10 points
Qualification5 points10 points
Work experience 2-5 years5 points10 points

The number of years of New Zealand work experience required to qualify for points will be reduced as well. See the table below for further details:

Years of Work Experience Required for Bonus Points:

NZ Work ExperiencePoints after 30 July
1 Year5 points
2 years10 points
3 years15 points

The Skilled Migrant Category policy will also be ammended to clarify that an Expression of Interest (lodged by a person applying for immigration to New Zealand) will only be selected based on the principal applicant's skilled employment in New Zealand and not the secondary applicant's skilled employment.

All SMC applications made on and after 30 July 2007 will be assessed against the new policy.

An increase in minimum base salary of NZ $50,000 per year will be applied to Residence from Work - Talent policy. Applicants must have employment that meets this criteria if their Work to Residence application is made on or after 30 July 2007. This change was made in response to increased average salary levels since the last minimum salary was set in 2001.

The Refugee Family Support Category will replace the previous Refugee Family Quota system. However, tier one registrations under the new policy will bot be accepted until 12 November 2007.

Temporary Entry policy changes

Bulgaria and Romania will be added to the list of countries whose nationals are able to enter New Zealand as visitors, visa free for up to three months. Both countries joined the European Union on 01 January 2007.

Student visas or permits are available for students who are studying part time and are completing a course of study initiated in New Zealand, and is of two years duration, or qualifies for points under the SMC.

English language students who want a Variation of Condition (VOC) to their student visa or permit allowing them to work part time will be able to meet the English language requirement for the VOC after the initial date of application for a student visa or permit.

Tertiary exchange students who are undertaking a full-time course of study of at least one academic year's duration will be able to get a VOC to their student visa or permit which allows them to work part-time.

Student policy has also been ammended to clarify that partners of students studying towards a qualification on the Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL) are not eligible for open work visas and/or permits. A student's partner must be studying for a qualification specified in the LTSSL.

The salary threshold for applications under the Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Policy will increase from NZ $45,000 to NZ $50,000.

Changes to Visa and Permit Application Fees

New Zealand has also adjusted their fees for visas and permits. See the table below for an overview:

Application categoryBand A New ZealandBand B Pacific or SydneyBand C Any other location
Application for residence permit or visa - Skilled Migrant Category1,4001,2001,800
Application for residence permit or visa - Business Investor Category2,6002,6002,600
Application for residence permit or visa - Entrepreneur Category2,6002,6002,600
Expression of Interest under Skilled Migrant Category - written paper notification500500500
Expression of Interest under Skilled Migrant Category - online notification400400400
Application for returning resident's visa140140140**
Visitor permit or visa130100130
Student permit - written paper application200 - -
Student permit - online application70* - -
Student visa200150200*
Work permit under talent (accredited employers), talent (arts, culture, and sports), and LTSSL work to residence policies240 - -
Work permit (partnership)280 - -
Work permit (other)200 - -
Work visa under talent (accredited employers), talent (arts, culture, and sports), and LTSSL work to residence policies240*240*240**
Work visa under partnership policy280280280
Work visa (other)200180200*
Long-term business visa or permit2,6002,2002,600
Group visitor visa, per person - Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei only - - 75*
Group visitor visa, per person - Bangkok (citizens of Thailand) only - - 75*
Group visitor visa, per person - ADS - - 40*
Group visitor visa, per person - other80*80*80**
Application for limited purpose visa for study purposes200150200*
Application for further limited purpose permit for study purposes200 - -
Application for limited purpose visa or permit - other130100130
Application for transit visa120*120*120**
For permit granted under section 35A of the Immigration Act200 - -
Application for variation of conditions of permit120 - -
Request by employer for approval in principle for granting of permit for purpose of recruitment of staff outside New Zealand180 - -
Transfer fee, where permit stamp or label transferred from one passport or certificate of identity to another100100100*

* indicates that the fee is unchanged
** indicates that the fee has decreased