Permanent Residence Application Process

Posted on: January 13th, 2013 by admin

Permanent Residence application to New Zealand.

This article will give you an idea of the steps involved in a Permanent Residence application to New Zealand.


Please note that this information was gathered from publicly available information on the Immigration New Zealand website. It is summarised here for your information only, SA Going To NZ does not claim to have any knowledge of the immigration process and as such this article is not immigration advice. It is up to you to decide which immigration option is best for you. Although this information is valid at the time of writing, it is important to ensure that it is still so by visiting the INZ site and checking for yourself.
You can do that on the Immigration New Zealand website HERE

The New Zealand application process has five or six distinctive steps depending on your situation :

a) Work Permit (Not always)
b) Expression of Interest (EOI)
c) Invitation to Apply (ITA)
d) Interview
e) Permanent Residence (PR)
f) Citizenship

Let’s look at them in more detail :

Work Permit (WP) – Not always required

Often folks require a job offer in order to raise their points so that they can apply for permanent residence of New Zealand. More often than not, the employer would then require them to start working before their permanent residence has been approved. This is where the Work Permit comes in – it serves as a stepping stone to get to New Zealand before the Permanent Residence application has been finalised. You cannot apply for a Work Permit without a formal job offer from a New Zealand employer. New Zealand employers are also often understandably scared to employ folks from overseas without at least seeing them first.


IMPORTANT – it is important to note that not all jobs are created equal in the eyes of INZ. INZ regards some jobs unworthy of a WP, others worthy of a WP only but not PR, others will qualify you for PR. Find out if your occupation is considered skilled as far as immigration is concerned HERE

NOTE – Some occupations require registration before you can work in those fields. New Zealand Immigration Service will require you to register / obtain provisional registration before they will grant and visa / permit under the Skilled Migrant category. You can find out more about which occupations these are HERE New Zealand Immigration Service Points System Explained

For more info about work permits visit the INZ site New Zealand Immigration Service Points System Explained

Expression of Interest (EOI)

To streamline and speed up the selection process NZIS (New Zealand Immigration Services) allows potential immigrants to first tell them what they have. NZIS then ‘pre-approves’ potential immigrants based on that info. This process is called EOI (Expression of Interest).

The initial selection is a very superficial selection based solely on the amount of points you are claiming. You can calculate your points HERE

Thereafter your EOI is sent to NZIS in London, UK for further processing. In London they will manually go through your application and do their own provisional verifications to ensure that the amount of points you have claimed are correct, eg., your qualification and work experience correspond, your qualification is recognized, etc. This process takes a few months to complete.

If NZIS are satisfied that you have correctly claimed enough points to qualify for immigration to New Zealand, then they send you an Invitation to Apply (ITA).

Invitation to Apply (ITA)

You now have to prove all the claims you made in your EOI. This is done by providing NZIS with documented evidence of your claims. This is a time consuming process so please start getting all your documentation together while still waiting for your ITA to arrive. You can find a generic list of documents required HERE.

Once you have sent your completed ITA back to NZIS London, they will again re-assess and verify your application. This takes a few months. If they are still satisfied that you qualify to become a Permanent Resident (PR), then you will be invited for an interview. Only applicants without a job offer are required to undergo the Residence Interview.

Interview (For applicants without a job offer)

NZIS interviews all potential immigrants who apply without a job offer. It is conducted as a telephonic interview. This is the final step in the verification process. This gives the interviewer an opportunity to chat to you and your partner one on one and make a final decision on whether you could become a suitable New Zealand Resident.

The reason for the interview is simply that they want to chat to you about your ability to settle into your new life in New Zealand.

There are five major lines of questioning that the interviewer is interested in :

i) Reasoning – Why immigrate, why New Zealand, etc.
ii) Support Systems – Friends and Family already in New Zealand
iii) Employ-ability – Work prospects, expected salary, etc.
iv) Planning and Research – Have you done your homework.
v) Adaptability – Will you be able to assimilate into the New Zealand culture.

Permanent Residence

If your interview was successful you will receive an ‘Approved in Principle’ status.
If the immigration officer is happy that you have the ability to settle successfully in New Zealand, you will be granted an applicable visa. If the immigration officer has clear and definite grounds to believe that you will not be able to successfully settle in New Zealand, then your application will be declined.

Once your application has been approved you send in your passports so that NZIS can add your ‘blue stickers’ (visa) into them. You will also pay your migrant levy at this time. To find out how much that is going to be you can visit the INZ HERE

After you receive your visas you are required to land in New Zealand within one year to activate the visa. Once you land you are issued with a Permanent Residents Visa which allows you to remain in New Zealand indefinitely and a Returning Residents Visa (RRV) which allows you to exit the country to say visit family in South Africa, or go on holiday, etc.

If you are not issued a RRV, please contact NZIS immediately so you can apply for it and DO NOT leave New Zealand before you have your RRV otherwise your PR visa will expire and you will have to go through the entire process from the start again.

If you already have PR and an RRV, please remember that your first RRV is only valid for 2 years. After that you need to apply for an IRRV.

Once you have your PR permit you have the same rights as a citizen as far as health care, education, voting, etc. is concerned.

For more information regarding the Skilled Migrant category, you can visit the New Zealand Immigration Service website HERE

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