I don’t qualify to move to New Zealand! What can I do?


Disclaimer (again): We’re not professional immigration consultants. So don’t base your life on our advice. Research the New Zealand Immigration site. Use your own judgment, and don’t break the law.

If you’re not in perfect health, and you don’t have a bachelor’s degree then you probably don’t qualify to emigrate to New Zealand through the skilled migrant’s work-to-residence program. In that case here are some tips to get into New Zealand legally.

1. Get married to someone (from your home country) who is qualified. Point in fact, I (Travis) didn’t qualify to move to New Zealand because I’m a year short of a university degree. However, Amber has a degree in teaching. So she’s qualified. When married couples file for immigration you’ll list one person as the primary applicant, and that’s the person who will be judged. Whatever else the secondary applicant brings to the table is just icing on the cake, and if they don’t bring anything to the table you’re not penalized for it. Either way, be warned that you have to be married for two years prior to submitting your application. New Zealand recognizes common law marriages as well. Just make sure you have 2 years’ worth of shared bills, bank accounts, E-mails, vacation photos and anything else that proves you’re connected at the hip.

2. Get a degree. Every accredited university is equal in the eyes of the immigration board. You won’t get any extra points for going to Harvard than you will for going to Joe Bob’s University. This means you can take advantage of universities like The University of Phoenix, which offer relatively easy online classes and gives you credit for life experiences. Using accredited diploma mills like this will allow you to punch out a degree relatively quickly. And make sure to check out the Essential Skills in Demand list. Getting a degree in one of these fields will give you extra points towards your application. Be aware that this list is update regularly.

3. Fall in love with a local. As hard as it is to emigrate anywhere you’d think the entire world would collapse if one more person moved to a new country, but for all the red tape involved in keeping you in your birth country there’s a gigantic back door that will let you waltz right into to just about any country. If you fall in love with a person from a foreign country you can bypass most of the legal requirements.

Now, marrying solely for the purpose of emigration is illegal. So when you get a holiday visa or a working holiday visa and visit your prospective country and go to the first bar you see and ask the first 30 people you see if they’ll fall in love with you, make sure your love is real. As long as you really care about the person you just met, your mutually beneficial partnership will be completely legal. Be warned though, you have to go through a pretty lengthy process of proving to the immigration board that your love is real. This involves years’ worth of references, photos, financial ties and a bunch of other stuff I don’t know about. Again, make sure your love is real. Don’t break the law.

4. The Hail Mary. The whole purpose of making the immigration process so difficult is to keep freeloaders with no viable job skills out of any given country. If you can prove you have job skills they’ll let you in, but you’ll still need a job offer before your residency visa gets its final approval. This means you have to apply for your residency visa, pass the preliminary approvals and then get a job offer. However, nobody is going to give you a job offer while you live in your birth country unless you have amazing and/or rare credentials since New Zealand businesses have ten people standing right outside their door who can start work tomorrow. It doesn’t make any sense for them to go out of their way to sponsor a stranger from a foreign country who can’t start work until they sell everything they own and move half way around the world.

As a result you’re going to have to move to New Zealand (or wherever) on a working holiday visa (while you’re residency visa is still half-approved), apply for jobs and hopefully get one before your working holiday visa runs out. If/when you get that job you can then get your permanent work permit approved. Two years later you can apply to get your permanent residency approved.

Now here’s the interesting part. You can move to New Zealand on a working holiday visa, get a job and then apply for your permanent work permit/permanent residency. Since you’re already in the country and you already have a job you’ve already proven to the immigration board that they’re not letting a freeloader into the country even if you don’t have the most impressive credentials. This will make the immigration paperwork a little easier and a little quicker. However, this is a very dangerous tightrope to walk. You can still fail your residency application if you have bad health or if they don’t deem your work skills sufficient. For example, getting a job at McDonalds won’t impress the immigration board. If your job falls under the Essential Skills in Demand list then you’ll have the best chance of getting your residency visa approved.

There are probably other factors I’m not aware of that could affect your application, but if you’re really desperate and you’re willing to take a risk, this path could potentially work. If nothing else, you could genuinely fall in love with one of your coworkers while you’re in country and legally use the marriage loophole to get your citizenship.

5. Get Rich Quick. Laws and restrictions are for poor people. If you can get $3 million in your bank account the immigration board will roll out the red carpet for you.

6. Get Professional Help. The process of immigrating to New Zealand is stressful enough that a small industry has bloomed to help people through the immigration process….for a fee of course. If you need professional help, then help is just a Google search away.

What if none of these legal loopholes apply to me? Too bad. You don’t get to leave your home country. All the governments of the world have colluded to set the bar to immigration so high that they’ve effectively made the poor and loveless prisoners in their birth country, and they’ve done it in a way that every country can claim plausible deniability. That’s the way of the world, and statistically speaking you’re probably one of the billions of humans beings whose fate and tax dollars are imprisoned within your national borders.

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4 Responses

  1. “Remember, it’s much harder to qualify to move to New Zealand after you turn 30. So if you’re in your late twenties and need to finish a degree quickly this path could be your best option.”

    Hi, what exactly do you mean by this? I’m 34 and was thinking about moving to NZ. Could you explain what the difficulty is to immigrate to NZ for a person above 30? It would be very helpful to me. Thanks

    • New Zealand uses a point system to measure eligibility for immigration. You get points for having a degree, having a degree in an undermanned industry, being under 30, and a few other things. Being over 30 won’t automatically disqualify you, but it’s a mark against you. The immigration site has a quick test you can take to gauge your eligibility: http://www.immigration.govt.nz/pointsindicator/

      • Thanks for the reply. I tallied my points and landed at 110. So it seems that I might still have a chance. Thanks again.

    • The immigration process for most people that are moving to NZ without a job offer includes having to prove their worth on a point system. You get an extra 5 points for being under 30. It’s not a deal breaker if you AND a partner have college degrees, but for a single person or a couple with only one degree between the two of them 5 pts. will make the application less of a sure thing.

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