Skilled Migrant Category or Green List?

01 September 2023

Which is the right pathway for your journey to New Zealand?. 

Soon, some skilled professionals will have the opportunity to chose between two pathways to residency in New Zealand, the Green List, or the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC).

This is made possible by the new points system for SMC which we’ve spoken about recently.

We understand that making this decision might feel a bit overwhelming, so we’ve listed some of the key differences below:


The cost differs, with SMC having an Expression of Interest (EOI) stage and Residence Application stage, while Green List involves a single, cheaper application.

Application open date:

The Straight to Residence Green List is currently open.

The SMC Points Pathway will open on October 9, 2023.

Processing time:

Green List is slightly quicker since it skips the EOI stage of the SMC pathway and is already open.


A Registered Doctor can apply under the Green List requirements, which entails occupational registration, or through the SMC points category based on a skilled job or an offer of employment from an accredited NZ employer.


Both options lead to the possibility of applying for residence.

The forms are essentially the same, but on different platforms.

There is no additional paperwork to either, and neither requires further conditions than the other

We’re here to guide you on the best pathway based on your individual circumstances, complete our free eligibility appraisal today and one of our Licensed Immigration Advisers will be in touch.

Advantages of SMC for those already in New Zealand:

If you’re already in New Zealand, an advantage of the SMC points pathway is the option for an interim visa, available from October 9, 2023.

This is beneficial for those on a work visa about to expire.

The interim visa is automatically granted if you apply under the SMC points system, without any fee.

To be eligible, you should:

  • Hold a current temporary visa
  • Have applied for SMC residence
  • Not have applied for another temporary visa
  • Currently be in NZ
  • Not be on an RV2021 interim visa

Please note that if you have an interim visa, you can’t apply for any other visa while in NZ.

The SMC interim visa includes multiple entry travel conditions, with conditions aligned to your current visa category:

  • Open work conditions for work visas
  • Same work conditions as your current visa for employer-specific work visas
  • Same conditions as your current visa for student visas
  • Same visitor conditions as your current visa for visitor visas

If you’re already in New Zealand, complete our free appraisal and one of our team will be in touch.

Start your journey to New Zealand

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