FAQs: New Skilled Migrant Category Structure with 6 points21 June 2023
A new simplified points system will be introduced for the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) Resident Visa on 9 October 2023.
While SMC exists already, the new version is quite different in its structure and calculation, while some key points remain the same. Here’s some frequently asked questions about the recent announcement.
How are you eligible for SMC with 6 points?
You must claim points from at least one section from the blue box below. If you can get all 6 points from here, then you don’t need anything from the red box. However, if you are short of 6 points, the remaining points can come from the red box. Irrespective of where you claim points from, you must have a ‘skilled’ job offer from an Accredited NZ employer.
Maximum points the blue box can give you: 6.
Maximum points the red box can give you: 3.
What are the key differences between the current SMC (180 points) and the new SMC (6 points)?
What are the similarities between the current SMC (180 points) and the new SMC (6 points)?
- The definition of 'skilled' work remains same.
- Median wage thresholds.
- Must meet English requirement.
- Must meet health and character requirements.
- Must be 55 years old or younger to apply.
When does the new 6-point system come into effect?
On 9 October 2023. From then on, applicants will need 6 points to apply for the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa.
When does the current SMC stop?
11:59pm on 15th August 2023. The final Expression of Interest (EOI) selection under current rules is on 16 August 2023.
What is the processing time frame for the new SMC?
INZ says it aims to decide straightforward SMC applications that have all the required information within 6-8 weeks.
What will happen to SMCs already submitted under the 180-point rule?
Nothing, they will continue as normal as per the rules applicable at the time they submitted their ITA.
I don’t know which SMC is more beneficial for me, 180 points or 6 points?
It depends on your personal circumstances. There are some key considerations in assessing which one is better for you, such as:
- Is your employer accredited? The 6-point SMC requires you to hold a job offer from an accredited employer.
- What is the highest qualification you have? If you are on the Lower end of qualifications, the 180-point SMC offers better chances, as the 6-point SMC only recognises bachelor's and higher degrees.
- Do you have overseas work experience? The 6-point SMC does not recognise overseas work experience; it only considers NZ-based experience. So, the 180-point SMC may be a better option.
- How high is your salary? If you earn more than $88.98/hour (3x the median wage), you are eligible solely on this basis under the 6-point SMC.
There are more criteria that can be reviewed to determine which category is better for you. Click below to book a consultation with us.
Are there any mandatory base requirements for the 6-point SMC, regardless of points?
Yes, age, character, health, and English requirements. Also, you must have a ‘skilled’ job offer from an accredited employer.
What exactly is a ‘skilled’ job offer?
This definition is the same as ‘skilled’ under current SMC settings. ‘Skilled’ is a relatively complex assessment, but in simple words, it means your role is paid at least:
1) the median wage for occupations classified at ANZSCO skill levels 1-3, or
2) 1.5 times the median wage for occupations classified at ANZSCO skill levels 4-5.
You must also be suitably qualified for the role via relevant experience or relevant qualification.
Is there an age limit?
Yes, 55 years.
Do I need to have studied in NZ to claim points for qualification?
No, you can use overseas qualification as long as the equivalency to the required level at the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQF)can be established, either through IQA (International Qualification Assessment) or if it's on Appendix 3 (List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment).