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How to get a New Zealand permanent residence visa and its advantages

How to get a New Zealand permanent residence visa and its advantages

New Zealand offers a range of pathways for obtaining permanent residence (PR) status, making it an attractive destination for skilled workers, entrepreneurs, and families. Here’s a detailed guide on how to get a New Zealand permanent residence visa:

1. Understand the Different Pathways

  • Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) Visa: For skilled workers who meet the points threshold based on factors like age, work experience, qualifications, and job offers in New Zealand.
  • Family Category Visa: For partners, dependent children, and parents of New Zealand citizens or residents.
  • Investor and Entrepreneur Visas: For those willing to invest a substantial amount of money or establish a business in New Zealand.
  • Residence from Work Visa: For individuals who have been working in New Zealand on a Work to Residence visa and want to apply for PR.

2. Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) Visa

  • Eligibility:
    • Age: Must be under 56 years old.
    • Health and Character: Must meet health, character, and English language proficiency requirements.
    • Points System: Must score at least 160 points on the points assessment.
  • Points Assessment:
    • Points are awarded based on factors like skilled employment, relevant work experience, qualifications, and age.
    • Bonus points for job offers outside Auckland, work experience in New Zealand, and partner’s qualifications.
  • Application Process:
    • Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) online.
    • If your EOI is selected from the pool, you will be invited to apply for residence.
    • Submit the residence application with supporting documents.

3. Family Category Visa

  • Eligibility:
    • Partner of a New Zealand citizen or resident.
    • Dependent children of New Zealand citizens or residents.
    • Parent of a New Zealand citizen or resident (under the Parent Category which has limited spaces).
  • Application Process:
    • Partner or child: Prove genuine and stable relationship or dependency.
    • Parent: Meet financial and sponsorship requirements.
    • Submit the residence application with evidence of relationship and other required documents.

4. Investor and Entrepreneur Visas

  • Investor Visa:
    • Investor 1 (minimum NZD $10 million over three years) and Investor 2 (minimum NZD $3 million over four years).
    • Prove lawful earning of investment funds and maintain investment in New Zealand.
  • Entrepreneur Visa:
    • Establish or purchase an existing business in New Zealand.
    • Meet criteria for business plan, capital investment, and job creation.
  • Application Process:
    • Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) or business proposal.
    • If selected, provide detailed documentation and undergo interviews.

5. Residence from Work Visa

  • Eligibility:
    • Holders of a Work to Residence visa under Talent (Accredited Employers) Work, Long Term Skill Shortage List Work, or Talent (Arts, Culture, and Sports) Work categories.
    • Must have worked in New Zealand for at least 24 months in the specified employment.
  • Application Process:
    • Apply for PR after meeting the work requirement.
    • Provide proof of employment and other supporting documents.

6. General Steps for All Pathways

  • Health and Character Requirements:
    • Undergo a medical examination and provide a police certificate.
  • English Language Proficiency:
    • Provide evidence of English language skills, such as IELTS test results.
  • Submission of Application:
    • Complete the appropriate application form.
    • Pay the application fee.
    • Provide all required supporting documents.

7. Processing Time and Costs

  • Processing Time:
    • Varies depending on the visa category and complexity of the application.
    • Generally ranges from several months to over a year.
  • Costs:
    • Varies based on the visa category and number of applicants.
    • Includes visa application fees, medical examination fees, and costs for obtaining police certificates and other documents.

8. Consult with an Immigration Advisor

  • Given the complexity of immigration laws and regulations, consulting with a licensed immigration advisor or consultant can be beneficial.
  • They can provide personalized advice, help prepare your application, and ensure all requirements are met.

  New Zealand permanent residence visa advantages

New Zealand offers a Permanent Residence (PR) visa that comes with a multitude of advantages. Here are some of the key benefits:

1. Indefinite Stay

  • Freedom to Stay: Permanent residence allows you to live in New Zealand indefinitely.
  • No Visa Renewals: You don’t need to worry about visa renewals and their associated costs and paperwork.

2. Work and Study

  • Work Rights: PR holders can work for any employer in New Zealand and switch jobs without needing a new visa.
  • Educational Opportunities: You can study at any educational institution and have access to domestic fees for tertiary education, making it more affordable.

3. Healthcare and Social Services

  • Public Healthcare: Permanent residents have access to New Zealand’s public healthcare system, which is of high quality and subsidized.
  • Social Security: Eligibility for various social security benefits and allowances provided by the New Zealand government.

4. Pathway to Citizenship

  • Citizenship Eligibility: After meeting residency requirements, PR holders can apply for New Zealand citizenship, gaining a New Zealand passport and additional rights.

5. Family Benefits

  • Family Sponsorship: PR holders can sponsor their partner and dependent children for residence in New Zealand.
  • Education for Children: Your children can attend public schools and have access to domestic fees for tertiary education.

6. Travel Freedom

  • Travel Flexibility: As a PR holder, you can travel in and out of New Zealand without needing a visa for return entry.
  • Visa-Free Travel: New Zealand PR holders may find it easier to get visas to other countries due to the stable and favorable status.

7. Quality of Life

  • Safe and Secure Environment: New Zealand is known for its low crime rates and political stability.
  • Clean and Green: High environmental standards and beautiful natural landscapes contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
  • High Living Standards: Access to good healthcare, education, and social services, coupled with a high standard of living.

8. Economic Opportunities

  • Employment: New Zealand has a strong economy with opportunities in various sectors like IT, healthcare, engineering, and agriculture.
  • Business: PR holders can start their own businesses and invest in New Zealand’s growing economy.

9. Legal Rights

  • Equal Rights: Permanent residents enjoy almost the same legal rights as New Zealand citizens, including protection under New Zealand law.

10. Cultural Integration

  • Multicultural Society: New Zealand is a multicultural society that celebrates diversity, making it easier for newcomers to integrate.
  • Community Support: There are numerous support services and community groups that help new residents settle in.


Obtaining a Permanent Residence visa in New Zealand offers significant advantages, from the ability to live and work indefinitely in a safe and stable environment to access to quality healthcare and education. It also provides a pathway to citizenship, allowing you to fully integrate into New Zealand society and enjoy a high standard of living. For many, the PR visa is a stepping stone to building a new life in one of the world’s most desirable countries.

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