Appendix 1: Migrant visa streams

Immigration New Zealand: Supporting new migrants to settle and work.

There are two types of migration to New Zealand:

Permanent migration to New Zealand

People who wish to migrate permanently to New Zealand must apply through the New Zealand Residence Programme, which has four streams:

  • Skilled/Business Stream;
  • Uncapped Family Stream;
  • Capped Family Sponsored Stream; and
  • International/Humanitarian Stream.

Each New Zealand Residence Programme stream has several categories and target ranges for the number of approved applicants. The Government has approved the New Zealand Residence Programme for three years to 2013/14, with a target range for that period of between 135,000 and 150,000 places.

In 2011/12, about 40,000 people were approved for residence. This was almost the same as in the previous financial year.

The Skilled/Business Stream

This stream has most approved places, with between about 81,000 and 90,000 places. In 2011/12, about 20,000 residence approvals were made under this stream. This number has been decreasing since 2008/09.

The Skilled/Business Stream comprises the:

  • Skilled Migrant Category;
  • Residence from Work Category; and
  • Business Immigration Policy.

The Skilled Migrant Category

This is the main category in the Skilled/Business Stream. In 2011/12, Skilled Migrant Category (Skilled Migrant Category) approvals accounted for 47% (about 19,000) of all residence approvals and 92% of all Skilled/Business Stream approvals.

The introduction of the Skilled Migrant Category in 2003 represented a change from the passive acceptance of residence applications to the active recruitment of the skilled migrants that New Zealand needs. The Skilled Migrant Category is a points-based policy that allows people to gain permanent residence in New Zealand if they have the skills, qualifications, and experience to contribute economically and socially.

The principal applicant is the main person assessed against the policy criteria. Secondary applicants include the partners and dependent children of the principal applicant. In 2011/12, principal applicants accounted for half of all people approved under the Skilled Migrant Category, which has been the norm for the last few years. About half of secondary applicants under the Skilled Migrant Category in 2011/12 were aged under 20.

Temporary migration to New Zealand

Temporary visas are subject to date, event, or time limitations. Temporary migration policies include the:

  • visitor policy;
  • work policy;
  • student policy; and,
  • limited visa policy.

In 2011/12, 1.45 million people were granted a temporary visitor, student, or work visa on their arrival in New Zealand.

It is more likely that, having participated in New Zealand society, international students and temporary workers will settle well and contribute positively to the country. Research shows that 86% of Skilled/Business Stream applicants granted residence in 2011/12 had previously held a temporary visa. Of those, 71% had most recently held a work visa. About one in three temporary workers were granted a permanent residence visa within five years of their first work visa.

The number of migrants arriving to New Zealand for work or study during the last decade has grown quickly. However, this growth rate varies between visa categories. In 2011/12, about 138,000 people were granted a work visa, an increase of 2% from 2010/11.

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