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Changes to New Zealands Qualifications Lists – All You Need To Know

Within New Zealand immigration, those applying for a skilled migrant visa or a work visa via the skills shortage list have the ability to earn points for qualifications gained overseas if it is recognised by the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF).

The list of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment and the Qualifications Recognised as an Exception used for New Zealand immigration purposes have experienced some changes over the years. As a result, it is recommended that applicants in the following situations check the updated qualifications lists as the amendments may impact whether they can claim points for their qualifications without an individual assessment from the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA):

  • Those intending to complete an Expression of Interest (EOI) under Skilled Migrant Category instructions.
  • Those who have already submitted an EOI.
  • Those who have been invited to apply for residence.

Guide to living in New Zealand

Applicants from the UK will need to be especially wary regarding the qualification changes. The amendments in the List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment will impact on current UK exemptions for academic qualifications, technical and vocational qualifications, and trade and craft qualifications.

Some of these changes will include:

  • The addition and removal of qualifications,
  • The addition and removal of institutions from which it is applicable to claim the qualification exemptions,
  • Changes to qualification levels
  • Changes to qualification awarding dates.

Amendments will also be made to the list of Qualifications Recognised as an Exception for British applicants. Take a look at New Zealand’s government website to see an overview of the qualifications list.

How do I get my qualification assessed?

Getting your qualifications assessed by the NZQA will allow you to see how your qualification stands within the NZQF and if you can gain additional points.

There is a fee for getting your qualifications assessed and is usually around NZD 750 for a standard application. The whole process usually takes up to 25 working days, so ensure that you leave plenty of time for the assessment.

For each application, a maximum of 5 applications can be assessed at each time; if you require any further qualifications to be assessed, a new application must be submitted.

There is also a fast track application option which speeds up the process to within 10 working days. Whilst this option can be very useful, it will cost NZD 404 more than a standard application.

How are points awarded for a skilled migrant visa in New Zealand?

A skilled migrant visa allows applicants to live in New Zealand indefinitely, including your partner and dependent children under 24. The aim of the skilled migrant visa is to help promote economic growth within New Zealand by employing workers with specialist skills and knowledge.

When applying for a skilled migrant visa in New Zealand, applicants have the ability to earn points based on a variety of factors. New Zealand’s government website currently states that the country is only dealing with EOIs that have over 160 points.

Points can be awarded in the following circumstances:

  • Being between 20-39 years of age – 30 points
  • Already working in ‘skilled employment’ in New Zealand – 50 points
  • Working in an area of ‘absolute skills shortage’ – 10 points
  • A level 9 or 10 post-grad qualification – 70 points
  • A partner who also holds a 9 or 10 level post-grad qualification – 20 points

In New Zealand levelled qualifications are as follows:

  • Level 7 equates to graduate certificates, graduate diplomas and Bachelor’s degrees
  • Level 8 equates to postgraduate certificates, postgraduate diplomas and Bachelor’s Honours degrees
  • Level 9 equates to Master’s degrees
  • Level 10 equates to doctoral degrees

The points indicator on the New Zealand government website will allow you to gain a rough idea of how many points you can claim.

Currently, New Zealand has shut their borders and EOIs to live and work in the country have been suspended in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19. Whilst it remains uncertain as to when New Zealand will open their borders, it’s thought that this could occur during the first quarter of 2021.