This category is the most common form of residence application, and has been for many years. Its predecessor was called General Skills. This category is becoming increasingly difficult. From October 2016 the points required increased from 100 points plus a job offer, to 160 points. In December 2016, new English language requirements were introduced. During 2017, remuneration thresholds were introduced. The remuneration thresholds increase each year and are benchmarked to 1.5 times the medium income in New Zealand.
Other changes which illustrate the tightening of this category include removing the points for close family in New Zealand, increasing points for younger people, i.e. those 39 years of age and under, and increasing points awarded for work experience.
Despite the number of skilled migrant applicants being invited to apply for residence halving (from just over 900 in September 2016 to approximately 400 a fortnight), we haven’t seen a dramatic drop in processing times. An indicative processing time would be in the range of eight to twelve months once the residence application is filed.