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Skilled Residence Visas

What makes Skilled Residence Visas different from SMC

Often viewed as part of, and confused with, a more general Skilled Migrant Category (SMC), Skilled Residence Visas are a stand-alone kind, although technically being a sub-category of the SMC. Their grant is always conditional on availability of an acceptable employment, whereas SMC is aiming at a more holistic assessment of an applicant and looks at recognised qualification and skilled work experience apart from acceptable employment.

General requirements for residence class visas apply, such as, for example, acceptable standard of health, character, etc. In addition, the applicants may either need to meet specified requirements on one of the scarce lists (the Green List or Care Workforce list), or to provide evidence of meeting the remuneration threshold. For both principal and non-principal applicants included in the application a requirement to demonstrate English language proficiency is also present and, similarly to the SMC, Immigration here would also accept recent results of one of the major English language tests.

Applicants under for Skilled Residence Visas, like those under SMC, can include their partner and dependent children (24 and younger) in the application.

Skilled Resident Visas include 4 distinct types, each having its requirements for employment conditions. We will take a closer look at each below.

Straight to Residence Visa

To qualify, the applicant must have an employment contract or a job offer to work in one of the roles specified under Tier 1 in the Green List of skilled roles in demand.

Qualification requirements in Tier 1 may vary from very specific (e.g. degree, registration or accreditation in professional bodies) to quite general, for example, remuneration threshold and general ANZSCO requirements.

Acceptable employment should be full-time and either permanent or fixed-term for a period of at least 12 months. Under this category a contract for services for a minimum total of 6 months (or multiple contracts for this duration without breaks) will also count as acceptable employment, which makes this type distinct from the rest Skilled Residence Visas.

Work to Residence Visa

Similarly to Straight to Residence above, Work to Residence seekers would find their occupations in the Green List, too, though under Tier 2 rather than Tier 1. The applicant will need to continue in an eligible role for 24 months before being able to apply for residence. Acceptable work will be counted towards Work to Residence visas while the applicants hold an Accredited Employer Work Visa, another work visa or a critical purpose work visa held or applied before 4 July 2022. Small breaks in employment are allowed. The criteria of acceptable work can be mixed with those of the next type, Highly Paid Residence Visa, paying twice the median salary.

Highly Paid Residence Visa

As the name suggests, a successful applicant will have held a role which pays double the median wage for at least 24 months immediately before applying. That is, of course, while meeting all other general criteria in the category. Evidence of a genuine employment, permanent or fixed-term for at least 12 months, will be required. The employer must be accredited at the time the visa is applied for, and as above, the criteria of this visa and the previous type can be mixed.

Care Workforce Work to Residence

Recognising the shortages in the sector, the Government has made provisions for a special Care sector workforce category as part of Skilled Residence Visas. In addition to the requirement of working in an occupation for at least 2 years, the candidate will need to demonstrate the pay level of at least $28.25 an hour (level 4 pay) throughout the 2-year period. Occupations here include, for example, Residential Care Officer, Personal Care Assistant, Nursing Support Worker and other roles on the full list of Care Workforce.


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Our adviser and director has been in the same boat with most of our valued clients who come to seek his counsel. He came to New Zealand as a migrant in 2002 and has been calling it home since then. It is our pleasure to serve your needs and provide professional immigration advisor services to help your dreams come true.
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