New Zealand Immigration – Our Story!

Ever since I posted Facebook check in regarding our migration to New Zealand, I have been getting lots of queries about how did we apply for the immigration? what is the process? Is moving to New Zealand better than living in UAE? How it is different from Australian and Canadian Immigration? etc etc

Looking at the number of questions and interest I decided to write about our experience. But before digging more into the process and details I want to throw some disclaimers:

  • This is NOT the only way you can apply for NZ immigration
  • We started the process in 2015 and the policy is now updated a bit, I’ll try to highlight the points which are now changed (according to my information)
  • Every case is different! Things that worked out for us might not work for you 
WHY NEW ZEALAND?

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Let’s rewind our lives to 2015 and play…

We were exploring a couple of options like Canada and Australia (apart from where we are) to apply but the arrow landed at New Zealand in the map eventually.

The quota of Canada was full by the time we thought to submit our application (Common idea is that the job market has saturated over there). Confused between OZ and NZ, we chose NZ main reason being HI’s best friend was already there.

Please note that we were applying just to keep an option open apart from UAE (where we already were at that time). I longed to visit this beautiful country once but this definitely was not the reason to choose New Zealand over all other options.

At this point, you may want to check out Australia’s process as well because it has much bigger market as compared to NZ.

OUR CONDITIONS

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  • We applied family visa under Skilled Migrant Category, HI being the primary applicant (Read about this type of visa here)
  • We did NOT hire any consultant
  • We also claimed MY points to guarantee selection of application

Find out whether your skills are needed in New Zealand not in the Skill Shortage List Checker or download the complete lists from the same link.

THE PROCESS

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If your occupation is listed in the Skill Shortage List then:

  1. Calculate your points using the Points Calculator at this link.
  2. Apply for your PAR (Pre Assessment Result) Online from NZQA . Side by side, create your account at Immigration New Zealand website and start filling out your Expression of Interest (EOI).
  3. Submit EOI online – Enter the code received as a result of successful PAR in EOI. There is a fee.
  4. Wait for EOI to get selected.
    • Note: Minimum points requirement is 100 but in order to guarantee selection of your EOI you need a score of 160 (as per last policy change).
      P.S. The policy keeps on changing
  5. On receipt of notification that it has been selected, wait for preliminary checking to be done. (Start collecting your documents at this time. See FAQs below for examples of documents)
  6. Wait for ITA (Invitation To Apply).
  7. If you get ITA;
    • Send your degrees to NZQA for full qualification assessment. You’ll need to send your original educational and work related experiences documents to NZQA.
    • Carry out the Medical process.
  8. Submit formal application within 4 months of ITA (or the last date will be mentioned in the email you will receive). This includes providing all the necessary evidence to back up the points claimed on your EOI. Results of full IQA assessment of qualifications from NZQA, Police checks, Medicals, Proof of relationship etc etc. Pay the fee.
  9. Wait for immigration to assign your application a case officer.
  10. Wait for your application to be processed and answer any questions your case officer asks.
  11. Wait for immigration interview appointment. Usually done after approval of IQA on phone and only if you don’t have a job offer.
  12. Case Officer passes your application to another case officer for audit checking.
  13. You will then receive formal notification of the outcome – the case officers decision. (Either you get a resident visa or job search visa. Keep in mind that your application may get rejected too)
  14. If successful, send in your passports for the residency stickers. Pay the final Migrant levy fee.
  15. On receipt of your passport returned with visas you have 12 months to activate by travelling to NZ. (the duration to make the last entry may be different in some cases)

Attaching ITA Documentation Checklist below
(Note: this was customized checklist for our application, yours can be slightly different).

TIME

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The timeline I am able to deduce based on our experience is as follows:

  • PAR results from NZQA – within a week 
  • EOI process – 1 to 3 months
  • ITA email is received – after a couple of weeks once the EOI is accepted
  • Time to submit ITA – usually 4 months
  • Time after ITA till final outcome – atleast 7 months
  • Time to make entry – 12 months to make first entry, after that your visa becomes valid for 2 more years (We visited NZ in December 2016 as a result of which Trip Of Lifetime series started on the blog, check out some beautiful places to visit in South New Zealand here)

This is NOT a definite/ constant time period rather the total time our end to end process took, yours may take a little more or may be less.

MONEY

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I don’t remember how much fees we paid at each step but the whole end to end process may cost you around AED 12,000 – AED 15,000.

 

FAQs

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Answering some of the common questions I am usually asked these days:

  • Is NZ Immigration better than others?
    • The reasons that led us to choose NZ are stated above, I have no idea about how it may or may not be different/ beneficial as compared to the other countries’ immigration.
      New Zealand is heaven on earth ❤ and apparently the 4th most safest country to live in 😀 (this might help you with the choice 🙂 )
  • How is moving to New Zealand better than living in UAE?
    • Well I like, no LOVE UAE. there are loads of advantages of living in UAE.
      • It is a Muslim state (Being a Muslim I’d say that this is one of the best part)
      • The food is amazing (everything is halal and available 24×7)
      • Closer to home (Pakistan)
      • Tax-free luxurious life
    • But apart from all the countless pluses, you never get citizenship hence the irony. You will have to leave your home as soon as you lose your job. Living in constant fear of leaving the place which you call your home is scary at times. Sometimes we have to take difficult decisions for better future 🙂
  • How is the weather there?
    • The climatic conditions of New Zealand are the opposite of those in the Northern Hemisphere. Typically December to February is summer; March to May is autumn; June to August is winter; and September to November is spring. Also, Wellington is super windy. So we are experiencing windy-rainy-cold days these days.
  • Did you hire a consultant?
    • No, HI himself is a consultant (not immigration one though) hence he was appalled at the thought of hiring one. Lol :p
      Also, the process is pretty easy and straight forward. And the internet is full of helpful articles which is our day-to-day FREE consultant by all means.
  • From where did you apply?
    • We applied from UAE
  • How did you get 160 points?
    • You can always check out INZ (website for NZ Immigration) for more insights and detailed understanding. The limit was 140 points at the time we applied. Scoring 160 points is very difficult unless you have a job offer from NZ but there is a likelihood that they will update and lax the policy pretty soon – a ray of hope :). I will update here, snap about it and will also share it on my Instagram stories as soon as I’ll come to know about it.
  • Since minimum points requirement is 100, should I apply even if my points score is below 160?
    •  Surely the minimum points requirement is 100 but in order to guarantee selection of your EOI you need a score of 160 (as per last policy change). Any less selection is unlikely.
  • What documents should we collect to submit with ITA?
    • The supporting documents you will be required to submit with ITA may include:
      • English marriage certificates
      • Police clearance certificate (from every location you have lived so far – like in our case we had to collect these certificates from Karachi and UAE)
      • Spouses should have joint bank account (for verification that you are husband and wife and living together) – We did not have any so we had to prove our relationship through pictures, rental contracts etc etc
      • Some letters, Envelopes of mails on your address with your name (Aramex, DHL , Pakistan post any couriers)
  • From where should I get my medical done?
    • We went to Pakistan to carry out our medical process since it was very much cheaper as compared to UAE. The total cost of going to Pakistan and the entire medical process was less than it would have costed us in UAE.
      You can also consider going to Turkey for the cause 😉 (it is cheap there as well)
  • From where should the documents be attested?
    • Get your documents attested from HEC and MOFA (Ministry Of Foreign Affairs)
  • How does claiming spouse’s points works and how it is useful?
    • Spouse’s points can be claimed in order to get the desired score if primary applicant’s point are insufficient to get 160 (as per latest policy change), the spouse then will have to fulfill all the requirements as of the primary applicant. (IELTS score, NZQA assessment result etc etc)
  • Some Interview Tips please?
    • Do your homework about the country – they’d like you to have some information about it
    • Boast about your skill (the one which you are applying in)
    • Be confident

These were the FAQs I was bombarded with time and again. However, you can read about general kinda queries related to skilled migrant category here.

This was it from my side about our Immigration tales. Hope you all find it informative and easy. If you have queries about the article drop your questions in the comments section below, I will try to help within my reach and limit. And you can always visit INZ to explore more visa options 🙂

All the best to the ones who are thinking/trying to apply or already have applied.

See you soon here 🙂

2 thoughts on “New Zealand Immigration – Our Story!

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