In July 2015 the immigration minister announced a package of immigration measures aimed at improving the spread of investment and skilled workers across New Zealand.

Whilst current skilled migrant instructions incentivise migrants with 10 bonus points if their employment is outside of the Auckland region it has been recognised that this needs to be improved to address the issues being faced.

The issues are two fold, firstly Auckland itself has historically been a very popular city for migrants to settle, this has put pressure on infrastructure and resources with many economic commentators stating this as the fuel for the skyrocketing house market in Auckland. This is balanced with employers in the regions outside of Auckland struggling to find sufficient suitably skilled workers to meet their business demands and as a consequence not realising their potential for growth.

The government has introduced a number of measures to address all of these issues and in particular are encouraging both migrant entrepreneurs and skilled workers to settle outside of Auckland and contribute to the economic growth of the regions.

From 1 November applicants under the skilled migrant category will be able to claim 30 points for an offer of, or current skilled employment outside of the Auckland region, this is an increase of 20 points.

Whilst this may seem generous on the surface the reality is that very few applicants actually need to rely upon the current 10 bonus points as they can achieve the required 100 points with a combination of their age, qualification and or work experience and the offer of skilled employment. This is particularly relevant as most principal applicants are under the age of 40 and can maximise their points for age.

We do however see that this change will be extremely beneficial for a particular group of potential migrants. Where we see the points increase being materially beneficial is for those migrants in the older age bracket of 50+ where they do not have formal qualifications and rely upon work experience alone. Currently a 50 year old applicant with an offer of skilled employment and 10+ years of relevant work experience may only get to 85 points or 95 points if the employment is outside of Auckland (assuming they have no previous New Zealand work experience or close family in New Zealand). Potentially New Zealand is missing out on this skilled individual from contributing to economic growth for another 15+ years of their working life. With the new points system their points will increase to 115 and therefore opening the door for them to migrate and contribute.

As with any benefit of this type there will be conditions to which they must adhere and we believe that this is only reasonable. For those granted residence based upon an offer of skilled employment or current skilled employment where they have worked in the role for less than 3 months they are required to remain working outside of the Auckland region for a period of 12 months. Their resident visa will include Section 49 conditions to enforce this. The points for employment outside of Auckland are automatically applied, there is no option not to claim the 30 points, therefore all applications for employment outside Auckland will be subject to Section 49 conditions unless the exemption previously described applies.

As everyone s situation is different and unique to them, if you are considering migrating we would encourage you to seek professional advice from an experienced professional and determine how these changes may benefit you.

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