11 July 2006
New Zealand to review bonus points
The New Zealand Government is reviewing its bonus points policy for immigrant applications under the Skilled Migrant Category after one exceptional case highlighted a grey area.
Chinese woman Candy Huang had been expecting to be awarded 10 bonus points towards her residency application after undertaking a two-year course at a Wellington Polytechnic, but because she finished the course and attained her qualification early, she was not eligible for the bonus points.
Ms Huang believed that as her course was a recognised 2-year-study qualification, she would still receive the points regardless of how long it took her to complete the course.
The policy clearly states that to receive bonus points the applicant must have studied for at least two years in New Zealand, Ms Huang completed her course in 18 months.
Officials at the Department of Labour are now considering calls for the bonus points provision to be amended in the light of this case but any change would require cabinet approval.
Under the Skilled Migrant Category, Ms Huang gets 50 points for her qualification, 30 points for her age and 10 points for her partner's qualification but is still 10 short of the 100 needed to submit an expression of interest for residency.
Foreign fee-paying students who had studied in New Zealand for two years or more and completed a tertiary qualification are potentially desirable skilled migrants as their qualifications were easily recognised by and relevant for local employers and the applicants were partly settled and had realistic expectations about New Zealand.