Emigrating to New Zealand Under the Skilled Migrant Category

Moving from one country to another is surreal.  Especially if you have not visited the country you are emigrating to.  After four years in Singapore, I finally decided to move to the southern hemisphere.  From the Lion City to the Land of the Long White Clouds.  New Zealand, that is.  From the busy city life to a laid-back one. Join me in my journey and hope to shed light on the pros and cons.

Auckland International Airport

Skilled Migrant Category

There are several ways to go to New Zealand.  In my case, a Resident Visa application under the Skilled Migrant Category.  This is a simple online application process through http://www.immigration.govt.nz.  It may take less than a year before your papers will be processed.

Point system is the basis on which several factors are considered.  Make sure to check first the listings under Essential Skills in Demand Lists before you even attempt to go ahead with application under the Skilled Migrant Category. If your occupation and qualification is not in the list, then don’t bother applying under this category.  Check for other avenue instead like studying here, applying for a job online, or visit and apply for job.

Let’s make it simple and straightforward.  There are 2 simple processes: EOI and ITA.  EOI stands for Expression of Interest and ITA is Invitation to Apply.

Immigration New Zealand website snapshot

Expression of Interest (EOI)

Let’s not go around the bush, go straight to the website and lodge your EOI. Fastest way is online.  Create your free online account here. Complete the EOI online and just have it saved in your account and review every now and then.  It is so easy as long as you have the patience to read.  Once you have all the information entered accurately, you may submit and pay with the corresponding fee. Currently it is NZD510 depending on your country of citizenship and current location.  Online applications are cheaper.

In the Philippines, there are qualifications and schools which are exempted from NZQA assessment.  It is really good to study in schools recognised worldwide and does not require additional assessment.  However, if your school/university/college is not in the list then a full NZQA assessment is needed. The fee is currently at NZ$746 (that’s so expensive!).  

Once you have submitted your EOI online and paid the corresponding fee, you may be automatically selected depending on your points.  Ten days after I sent my EOI, I received an ITA already!

Invitation to Apply (ITA)

This is the final step for the application.  Once you receive the ITA, you are given four (4) months to fulfil the requirements. These are documents from the school, work, medical, police clearances from countries your have stayed for more than a year and others which your visa officer requires.  It will cost you NZD1810 to submit the application.  You have to consider the additional cost for medical and all other documents.

Your visa officer (VO) is your go to person during this process as he will advise you regarding the next steps or any queries you have in mind. Communication is through email and response is quite fast.

This is the moment of truth.  Your VO may require additional documents.  The VO has a year timeframe to finalise the decision after the ITA requirements have been submitted and paid for.

On my part, I was overwhelmed by the speed of processing. I delayed the submission of the other documents beating the deadline and requesting the VO for an extension for additional requirements.  In a way, it allowed me to kill more time and save in preparation for the move. 

Immigration Adviser/Agent

As I have mentioned, the application process is very simple.  Everything is explained in the application form itself.

But if you are having a hard time understanding the process or just plain lazy to read, you may pay for the services of an Immigration Adviser/Agent.  Make sure that they are licensed or the license is still valid until your application gets approved.  Otherwise, if the license expired before the approval, your application might be rejected.  Remember, you need to pay more for the agent’s service.  I cannot advise exactly or approximately how much it costs.

Moving Forward

The thought of uprooting yourself from a place of comfort and try to establish again a new life in a distant land is daunting.  Will this be a success?  Or a failure?  Probably this is not the way to go. Maybe it is.  But one thing is for sure, the moment you prayed for and laid your plans and it is in alignment to what God has prepared, it will come to fruition.

Feel free to chuck in your comments, questions and suggestion.