SMC Job Search Visa – A Way of Deferring Residency

Transitioning from winter to spring, leaves are starting to sprout. Scattered rain showers and strong westerlies are typical for Auckland weather. And clouds are all over. Temperature is playing between 10 and 14 degrees celsius.

Leaves are starting to appear as spring heads it way at the Symonds Memorial Park.

EOI Online Submission to ITA

My online application for EOI has been selected after 5 days upon submission with 135 points.  Points 140 and above are automatically selected.  Three weeks after the online submission, the Invitation to Apply (ITA) has been sent by the Visa Officer.  After this, you are given 4 months to submit all the documents and payment for your residency application.

Depending where you are, applications are processed everywhere.  I lived in Singapore when my application was submitted.  The EOI was processed in Bangkok, Thailand.  Then the ITA was processed and finalized in Shanghai, China.

ITA Requirements

Listed below are the requirements exactly taken out from my ITA.  This is in order and should be the same order when you send the application through courier.

  • Application fee
  • Application form
  • Certified true copies of Passports
  • Full Birth Certificates
  • Relationship evidence
  • Custody/financial dependence of children –if relevant
  • Evidence of job offer/ current employment
  • Evidence of NZ registration if required to take up job offer
  • Evidence of qualifications
  • Full NZQA assessment – if relevant
  • Evidence of work experience
  • Partners job offer/Qualifications
  • Evidence of their NZ registration if required to take up job offer
  • Evidence of English Language proficiency
  • Medical certificates
  • Police certificates
Don’t worry much about these list as some will not be applicable to you.  These are all explained thoroughly in the ITA form. 
Should you have entered an inaccurate information in the application, there is a form attached to rectify those.  Email correspondence to the VO is quite handy and fast.  Your enquiries will be answered back immediately by the VO.

Some Tips in the Application

In submitting the supporting documents, you either send a photocopy with the original.  Or certified true copy of documents without the originals.  All originals will be sent back once sighted.  If you opt for a certified true copy, it is suggested to have it done in the Philippines as it is cheaper than in Singapore.
Unless guidelines in getting a police clearance in Singapore has been changed, the NZ Embassy in SG will send a letter to you requesting the SG Police to issue a clearance.  Do not go for a Statutory Declaration for about SGD250 as it will not be honoured.
The English Language proficiency is quite annoying, to be honest.  Having to have English as a second language in the Philippines, Filipinos are still required to undergo IELTS examination.  If you are more than confident with you English proficiency in writing, speaking, listening and reading, then book the exam already.  Cost is SGD320. Check it out with your local examination centre.  It is normally under the British Council in SG.  The exam taken should be the General Training.
Estimated Cost of Application

For the last three years, the cost of application has been tremendously increased.  Below is the estimated breakdown of cost which has been calculated based on the current prevailing prices.  It may vary depending on the exchange rate.  It will be around Php127,000 (SGD3,611).
First and Final Interview
Once all the documents have been provided and assessed by VO, a first and last interview will be conducted.  Two options for the interview, either you fly to Shanghai or a phone interview.  It will take around 30-45 minutes to finish the interview.  As I don’t have any plans to go to Shanghai, I opted for a phone interview instead.  
Three aspects are considered in the interview.
  1. Employment Prospects
  2. Familiarity with New Zealand and Preparedness
  3. Linkage and Support
I believed I excelled in the interview:)  However, due to the condition that I don’t have a NZ local work experience my residency was not granted at that point.  Instead a SMC Job Search Work visa was granted which is valid for 9 months upon arrival in NZ.  This does not mean that my residency has been declined, but only deferred in the condition that I will be able to get employed under the skills shortage within the 9-month period.
Oftentimes, that is the case for single applicants.  Probably one way of protecting some interest as singles can jump ship at any given point in time.  For applicants who included the entire family, they are granted residency at once.  Main reason behind maybe is the gamble the whole family has to take when emigrating.
SMC Job Search Visa

Previously known as the Work to Residence Visa, the SMC Job Search Visa allows anyone to work for any employer.  At this stage, the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa is deferred. 
SMC Job Search Visa label in the passport.  Sensitive information has been cleared out for reference purposes.
Requirement for this is to have a bank statement which can support you for the next three months stay in NZ.  It is calculated at NZD1,000/month.  The evidence of fund and your passport will be sent to Shanghai for the visa label.  These requirements needs to be sent within three months from the date the letter was issued.  All I thought the visa label will take time to process. And bam, visa was granted after 5 days upon submission of the requirement.
The moment the visa is issued and attached to your passport, you have 3 months to prepare and start anew.  And so I have to settle things in less than 3 months.  Filed my resignation in Atos (last company I worked with in SG).  Final meet-up with friends in Singapore. Go back to the Philippines and attend my sister’s wedding. Returned to Singapore and pack my stuff, all my stuff, and bring it to NZ. Last minute farewell party with my friends and family in Filipino Cornerstone.  Some more catch-up.  Closure for anything that needs to be closed.
And so the saga goes.  Next time, from Singapore to New Zealand and the life there is.