A lot of folks ask what the emigration process was like for us. The following is a timeline of events, starting with our hiring of an immigration consultant, Immigration Law Advocates, in April 2005. While we’d heard it was fairly easy to go through the emigration channels oneself, we elected to go with a consultant due to each of our unique work experiences. Kathy, working part-time as an I.T. contractor for the last nine years, had a better, yet sketchy chance of meeting the requirements due to her part-time status, under the Skilled Migrant Category than Bruce did as a self-employed real estate developer.
- Birth Certificates: Originals or certified copies
- Passports: Originals
- Proof of Marriage or DeFacto Relationship: New Zealand recognizes unmarried hetero- or homo-sexual partners who have been together for at least one year and can demonstrate they’ve been living together for such time.
- Education Transcripts: Transcripts and original diplomas from each higher education institution.
- Work History: Letters from each company employed with for last 20 years.
- Medical & X-Ray Certificates: Lengthy medical document filled out by general practitioner along with full-size chest x-ray. (Note: the requirement for submitting the chest x-ray was changed by fall 2005; applicants only need to submit if there are any issues).
- FBI Clearance Certificates
- Passport Photos: Extra eight photos for each of us
- Various application forms signed.
- Why NZ? Why now in our lives?
- Why Christchurch?
- What have we been doing so far for our job search?
- What obstacles did we expect to encounter as new migrants with our job search?
- What would be our job search plan once residency was granted?
- What obstacles would we expect to encounter from employers?
- Did we have any friends or family in NZ? If so, what type of support would we expect them to provide?
- What did we know about the cost of living in NZ?
- How will we plan to immerse ourselves into the culture?
- Had we ever made big moves like this before?
Our case officer was very friendly and pleasant and quite professional. At the end of the conversation, she said she saw no reason not to grant us residency. However, there were two types: One gives permanent residency which is basically a 2-year permit to live and work in the country; the other grants residency with the stipulation that the applicant must gain employment within a specified time frame. We were really hoping for the former given our plans for pursuing non-traditional work and for doing a bit of traveling in the year.
All in all, the process was fairly painless and we were very happy with our decision to hire an immigration consultant.
Shortly after being awarded our permanent residency, NZIS modified the point system required for submitting an Expression of Interest, raising it from 100 points to 140 points in order to curtail the tremendous amount of emigration requests flooding into the country . This definitely makes it harder for those who do not have long work histories or higher ed degrees and will almost always require that a person already has a job offer before submitting their EOI.