New Year, New opportunities, New Changes

We are well underway in 2017 with new and exciting options for everyone. This might be the year that you are going to take the plunge. Start your dream of living in New Zealand. Provide your children with a better future, lead a more relaxed life style or any other reason that makes sense to you. Make it happen. You are in charge.

Immigration New Zealand implemented a couple of major changes in their policy at the end of 2016. They were about:

  • English language requirements
  • the temporary closure of the parent category
  • raising the points threshold for the Skilled Migrant Category to 160

Changes to the rules hit potential immigrants the most. It brings a lot of uncertainty. Some people no longer qualify for a visa. As an adviser, I feel for my clients and I always try to inform them as soon as possible how the changes affect them.

Immigration policy is not static and will always change. Immigration New Zealand is looking to make more changes to the Skilled Migrant Residence visa requirements. They believe that the current policy is not working as intended. They only want people to receive a resident visa based on skills and qualifications if New Zealand really needs them.

Three major Skilled Migrant policy changes that might be introduced in 2017:

At the end of 2016 the immigration world buzzed with rumours, excitement and a bit of fear. Immigration New Zealand gave insight in new proposed changes to the Skilled Migrant Category residence category. The Skilled Migrant Category is a points system. There have been no major changes to this system in a long time. Immigration New Zealand feels it is time for an overhaul. You may expect changes in the next few month in the following areas.

  • Allocation of points. For instance, more emphasis on work experience or more emphasis on qualifications.
  • A minimum salary threshold or salary levels for different skill levels. Employment qualifies as skilled when it meets or is above the proposed salary level.
  • Omitting bonus points, such as for close family in New Zealand. Or adding new bonus points, such as for high salary.

The consultation document gave a good insight to where changes to the policy can be expected. I do want to stress that, at the time of writing, none of the proposed ideas are more than just ideas. The purpose of the consultation was to give interested parties an opportunity to express their opinion. It is now up to Immigration New Zealand to consider these. The step after that is to write and implement the new policy.

When the new rules come out is everyone’s guess. It takes time to write policy. Then the Minister needs to approve it and maybe even parliament. It might be as early as next month. I’ll keep you updated.

Feija van Bokhoven is the Managing Director of Experienz Immigration as well as a Licensed Immigration Adviser. In this capacity she has helped numerous clients obtain a visa for New Zealand and helped them fulfill their dream of living in New Zealand.