Skilled Migrant Category and Residence from Work processing times

Immigration New Zealand has resumed processing residence applications from outside New Zealand received before March 2020.

2021 Resident Visa processing

Processing applications for the 2021 Resident Visa is a priority for us. The criteria for this new visa category are clear and easy to assess.

Due to the simplified application and assessment process, 2021 Resident Visa applications will be processed quicker than skilled residence (Skilled Migrant, or Residence from Work category) applications. We expect most to be processed within 18 months.

Most of our Skilled Residence staff are assigned to process 2021 Resident Visa applications. We will keep a small team of immigration officers processing skilled residence applications where the principal applicant is not eligible, or chose not to apply, for the new 2021 Resident Visa.

We emailed skilled residence applicants outside of New Zealand information about their options.

Occupations that require registration

Processing timeframes

As a result of the 2020 COVID-19 border restrictions, offshore visa application processing was placed on hold. During this time we reported on the number of skilled residence applications in the offshore and onshore general queue separately.

Now that application processing for applicants outside of New Zealand has started again, the skilled residence general queue now includes onshore and offshore applications.

As of 12 September 2022, the oldest application in the skilled residence general queue was received on 16 August 2022.

Total number of unallocated skilled residence applications as of 12 September 2022 (updated fortnightly)

Queue Number of applications
General Queue 3
Priority Queue 0


Download more information about the number of unallocated skilled residence applications and monthly allocation data:

Skilled residence applications data PDF 213KB

Skilled residence queue data is subject to visa processing operations and changes over time for reasons such as:

  • applications moving between queues due to a change in an applicant’s circumstances
  • applications are going through the Employment Visa Escalation (EVE) process
  • staff workload capacity.

We let applicants know when their application is allocated to an immigration officer.

The time taken to assess applications very much depends on:

  • the quality of the supporting documents
  • how soon we get more information or verification.

We cannot say when an application will be decided. The immigration officer assessing the application will update applicants as their applications are assessed.

How long it takes to process applications