Are SMC Announcements Finally on the Way?22 September 2021
September 2021 - another month nearly behind us. At this moment, we look back at the last 18 months of the pandemic in NZ, and we see history being made. Never before has the Skilled Migrant Category resident visa been closed for this long - 18 months, and counting. Never before has the government of this country stayed silent on such an important issue. For a year and a half, the immigration industry has awaited some type of announcement on SMC.
And now it appears that the most anticipated immigration updates may be only a couple of weeks away. Late last week, social media was buzzing with information that NZ's Minister of Immigration Kris Faafoi will soon make official Skilled Migrant Category announcements - including how EOIs currently in the system will be managed. It appears that those residence applications with dependent children over the age of 19 that are stuck in limbo (cannot work or study) could even be prioritised.
In addition to those important issues, we will also see if the new SMC policy will address the following:
- Whether SMC resident visas will open to offshore applicants as well as onshore?
- Will the points distribution remain consistent with what it was, even if the total points requirement increases?
- Will there be extra points for occupational registration?
- Will the prioritised criteria remain the same as it is now?
- What will be the volume of applications that can be managed?
- What is the operational impact of reopening EOIs? For example, if the officers processing new SMC applications (once it opens) are the same officers that are clearing the already existing SMC backlog from prior to March 2020, then how will they handle this - as they are already so slow?!
- What are the timeframes one should expect if SMC reopens?
- Lastly and most importantly, how many SMC resident visas should be approved in a year? (For those that do not know, INZ operates as per a residence quota called NZRP)
There are many questions and there’s even more anxiety. What we can hope for are robust announcements, and a clear timeline that the government will stick to (as lately, they have deviated substantially from their own schedule). What we can expect is that these upcoming announcements may fall short.
One thing is for sure - as these announcements go public, Aims Global will cover these updates right away - providing ongoing coverage and reporting, breaking them down in simple language via our newsletters, website and social media platforms. Much like those waiting to apply for residence, immigration professionals have also been waiting for this moment.