It is now easier to qualify for a residence visa, under the Skilled Migrant Category, if the applicant is working outside of the Auckland region.

What is the change?

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) have increased the credit given to applicants working outside of Auckland. From 1 November 2015, applicants will be awarded 30 points for skilled employment outside of Auckland. This has increased from 10 points. An applicant needs at least 100 points to qualify, if he or she has "skilled employment".

How does this make it easier to qualify?

If he or she has "skilled employment", a job outside of the Auckland region, and is aged less than 45 then he or she should qualify for residence. This is as long as he or she meets the good character and health requirements and other generic criteria.

Is there a catch?

The applicant must stay in job for at least 12 months. This is if he or she has not already been in the job at least three months before being granted residence.

If the applicant leaves the job before the 12-month point, he or she can get another position which is also skilled and outside of Auckland.

What is the Auckland region?

This is the area controlled by the Auckland City Council. If the principal place of employment is within this area, the job will not be outside of Auckland.

What is "skilled employment"?

This is a job that meets INZ's skilled" criteria. In particular, INZ uses the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) system to decide what jobs are "skilled". The list of skilled jobs, based on the ANZSCO system, can be found on the INZ website.

How can I help my employee apply for residence?

There is guidance for employers on our website, particularly about understanding whether your employee's job is "skilled". Please click here for more information. Otherwise, you are very welcome to telephone or email our Immigration Team. The team's direct number is 03 335 3480 or

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.