SMC and RFW processing times

The Government has decided to postpone a number of visa programmes, including selections for Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the Skilled Migrant Category.

Warning

The New Zealand border is currently closed to almost all travellers to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

The Government has decided to postpone a number of visa programmes, including selections for Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the Skilled Migrant Category.

This is a temporary measure. Immigration New Zealand will continue to reassess and determine when EOI selections can take place as the situation develops.

We will update our website as we are able to provide more information.

COVID-19: Key update

The Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) and Residence from Work (RFW) Category applications will be prioritised for allocation to an immigration officer if the principal applicant is in New Zealand and:

  • is paid twice the median wage or higher (currently NZD $51 an hour or NZD $106,080 a year), or
  • works in an occupation where registration is required by immigration instructions and holds that registration.

Occupations that require registration

Processing timeframes

Applications that don’t meet either criterion for prioritisation are allocated to an immigration officer in the order they are received.

As of 29 March 2021, Immigration New Zealand is allocating:

  • Non-prioritised SMC and Residence from Work applications received in August 2019, and
  • Prioritised SMC and Residence from Work applications within two weeks of the application joining the priority queue.

This information will be updated again in April 2021

How long it takes to process applications

Once an application is allocated, an immigration officer will then assess the application to check that the applicant and any family included can be granted a visa.

Applicants will be contacted when an application is allocated to an immigration officer. We will advise if any further information is required.

The time taken to assess an application can vary considerably. It depends on the quality of the supporting documents and whether we require further information or verification of the information provided. We cannot confirm when an application will be decided. The immigration officer assessing the application will provide updates as the application is assessed.

Watch a video about the application process