[b:7b01046f71]Skilled Migrant Category selection process changes[/b:7b01046f71]
Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Minister of Immigration today announced changes to the Skilled Migrant Category selection process that will give priority to highly skilled migrants and those with jobs or job offers in New Zealand.
Applicants will continue to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) for residence and gain points for their skills, qualifications, experience and other indicators of their ability to settle successfully in New Zealand.

Previously, the EOIs were then ranked and applicants meeting the set selection point were invited to apply for residence. Since September 2004, the set selection point has remained at 100.

Under the new selection process, highly talented migrants who score 140 points and above on their EOI for residence will automatically be selected from the pool and invited to apply for residence.

Applicants who score between 100 and 140 points and have a New Zealand job or job offer will be ranked and selected in sufficient numbers to meet the New Zealand Immigration Programme numbers for skilled and business migrants.

If enough places are available, other EOIs may be selected on the basis of specific criteria which the Minister of Immigration will set every six months.

[b:7b01046f71]Break in selections[/b:7b01046f71]
There will be no selection of EOIs from the Pool between 22 December and 31 January 2006. The last selection under the ?old? selection mechanism will be on 21 December. The first selection under the ?new? selection mechanism will be on 1 February 2006.

[b:7b01046f71]Change to period that EOIs remain in the Pool[/b:7b01046f71]
The period that EOIs remain in the Pool will increase from three months to six months.

[b:7b01046f71]Change to work to residence permit period[/b:7b01046f71]
The period that applicants are granted a work to residence permit has been reduced from two years to six months. A provision has also been included to allow for the grant of a further work permit for a maximum additional period of three months, where the principal applicant has an offer of skilled employment but requires a further work permit to meet the three month requirement. This applies to applications for residence under the SMC received on or after 21 December 2005.

The two-year period still applies to applications received before 21 December 2005.

[b:7b01046f71]Some selected EOIs will not be invited to apply for residence[/b:7b01046f71]
Expressions of Interest selected from the Pool on or before 21 December 2005 that:

on 21 December 2005 have not resulted in an invitation to apply for residence; and
do not include a claim for points for an offer of skilled employment in New Zealand or current skilled employment in New Zealand; and
have a claim of total points of 100 or 105

will not be invited to apply for residence on the basis of that EOI, unless the person expressing interest in that EOI is in New Zealand on 21 December 2005.

People affected may submit a further EOI to the Pool up to and including 21 June 2006. There will be no further fee payable. People who wish to submit an EOI in this manner need to contact the EOI team at eoiteam@dol.govt.nz.

[b:7b01046f71]Additional places for skilled migrants with job offers[/b:7b01046f71]
Due to high demand for places under the SMC, an additional 3000 places will be available over the next two financial years for skilled migrants with offers of skilled employment. A further 1000 places will be made available to skilled migrants, taken from other immigration categories.

The new selection policy takes effect after today?s EOI selection. All EOIs received after this time will be selected on the basis of the new policy.