Live in New Zealand Lane Neave Lawyers



New Zealand immigration policy, requirements and rules

Immigration / A Transparent System? / Application of Immigration Policy / Application Criteria

New Zealand immigration policy rules and requirements. Changing immigration policy means New Zealand immigration rules change frequently in line with the needs of the economy.

New Zealand immigration policy transparency means less discretion from immigration officers and requires more care when completing applications. As lawyers, we keep close tabs on how the New Zealand immigration requirements change. Though immigration New Zealand (INZ) provide substantive online resources, these are not tailored to your paritcular circumstances. In the "New Zealand Policy" sections of the site we concentrate on the major INZ policies.

We provide a free online assessment tool to assess your eligibility for permanent residence.


The New Zealand Government has established a long and complex immigration policy that is designed to recruit and retain desirable individuals from overseas to assist New Zealand to reach its economic goals, while maintaining social cohesiveness.

Unlike other areas of New Zealand government policy, New Zealand's immigration policy changes frequently. This is due to the changing direction of the government and the associated needs and requirements of the economy.

Even though New Zealand's set immigration target is one of the highest, per capita, in the developed world, its immigration policy is selective and it is considered more difficult to qualify for New Zealand residence than most other international jurisdictions that operate a controlled migration program.


One of the broad objectives of the New Zealand Government is for immigration policy to be transparent (and therefore fair).

However, in reality, the New Zealand Government’s drive to increase transparency in the system has removed a significant degree of discretion from the immigration officers processing residence applications (Skilled Migrant Category applications in particular). While this may be perceived as a benefit, in practice it means that unless an individual is appropriately assisted or completely understands the immigration policy they are applying under, mistakes can easily be made for basic failure to understand how the policy is administered and processed, even if what the policy provides is understood.

Once you make the decision that you would like to obtain New Zealand permanent residence there are two choices:

First, you can assess, complete, submit, and process your own applications directly with Immigration New Zealand (INZ). The difficulty in taking responsibility for your own application is that you will not receive direct or reliable assistance with your application from INZ. INZ will provide information to you; they will not provide personalised tailored advice. There is a huge difference between the two.

Second, you instruct the Live in New Zealand team to take full responsibility to ensure you qualify and therefore obtain the visas you require.

There are three main reasons why our team receives instructions to assist applications:

  1. You may simply not have enough time or the ability to research and understand the regulations in sufficient detail to ensure that you will obtain residence;
  2. You wish to instruct our firm of New Zealand lawyers (not a licensed immigration adviser) to assist you through the entire process to ensure you qualify and that you obtain the required visas in a timely and stress free manner;
  3. You value the comfort of engaging a team of leading professionals to ensure if there are unforeseen issues encountered in your application (such as health or technical complications) that you have a team of representatives who can comfortably deal with any issue no matter how complicated.

By submitting a significant number of temporary and residence applications per year at INZ branch offices internationally, our firm has built a reputation within INZ for providing professionally prepared applications that allow individuals to obtain visas as quickly as the INZ official processing the application can issue the visa into the passport.

Our firm has forged key relationships with front line processing staff within INZ internationally, alongside important connections and significant goodwill with temporary, residence, technical, and branch managers internationally.

We are selective with the instructions we receive on an immigration matter due to the fact that the goodwill that has been built up by our firm over the last 20 years is of significant benefit to all our clients moving through the immigration process.


Each immigration processing office and individual immigration officer has a set target of applications that they must process on a yearly basis. We have received advice in the past that applications tendered by our office had been sought by immigration officers as those applications were complete and easy to approve as, unlike with individuals filing their own applications, there is no need for significant correspondence between INZ and the applicant requesting further information or documentation that should have been presented on submission. Our firm has also received instructions from clients who have been unofficially referred to us, where the person has asked INZ directly for a recommendation for a professional representative.

To us, our reputation with INZ is everything. The development of goodwill between our firm and INZ branches throughout the world is invaluable when, in some complex applications, discretion is exercised.

Once you ask the Live in New Zealand team to assist you in the entire immigration process, you will receive the tangible benefits of an experienced and professionally organised team to cut through the bureaucratic red tape to obtain the visas you require as quickly as they can possibly be obtained.


You either will have or will soon attempt to navigate the INZ website to determine your eligibility for New Zealand residence.

While the information provided in the INZ website is substantive in terms of application criteria and policy, relying on the information provided in that website alone is extremely dangerous. INZ will provide information to you. However, they will not provide tailored guidance to you in terms of your particular circumstances and the best way to achieve your migration goal, nor will INZ provide any advice or assistance if there is a potential issue with your application that could be easily corrected.

The New Zealand Government invites applications from individuals to apply for New Zealand residence while providing a comprehensive breakdown of the rules and application criteria. Your application is sorted and vetted strictly against these criteria. The key with many residence applications is how to present the application to INZ, and also to identify possible issues where genuine changes can be made to the application before submission to the New Zealand Government. You have one chance to file a correct and compliant application.

In reality, no two residence applications are the same, and that is why our firm provides a free online assessment and consultation as part of our immigration service. Our online immigration assessment has been designed so that, within a few minutes of reviewing the form, we will be able to provide an opinion as to whether or not the individual is likely to qualify for New Zealand residence.

However, this is only a preliminary assessment, and is by no means a full assessment of the process. If an individual would like to move forward with the immigration process and engage our firm to assist them, we would then follow up with a full consultation and a final assessment during that particular part of the process.

Many licensed immigration advisers charge for an initial assessment on the pretence that the assessment is complex. These assessments however will not provide specifically detailed advice tailored to your particular circumstances. Only with a direct, in-depth conversation can accurate and comprehensive advice be provided.


The INZ Operational Manual (Manual) that contains the significant part of INZ policy is over 1000 pages long.

It would be impossible in this website to provide a full analysis of each policy, and what we offer here, therefore, is a broad summary of the main parts of immigration policy that apply to most overseas applicants wishing to reside in New Zealand.

By contacting the Live in New Zealand team and completing our online assessment, this form will record the basic details in order for our firm to assess your eligibility for New Zealand permanent residence under all current categories.

What we offer here (subsections of this “Immigration Policy” section) is not so much of a substantive look at each policy. It is an overview, and a practical summary as to how each particular policy works.

For obvious reasons, we have decided not to set out all residence criteria, in favour of concentrating on the major policies.

Find out why you should choose Lane Neave Lawyers rather than a New Zealand immigration agency, read about the lifestyle of people who have chosen to emigrate to NZ, or real experiences of people who took the plunge in moving to New Zealand from UK, Ireland and South Africa.