A year in immigration: Residency selections

Mike Bell, move2nz.com site architectPlease note:
I am not a licensed immigration adviser and the following is intended to be general discussion and commentary. It is not immigration advice and should not be used as such.

New Zealand Residence Programme
Fortnightly Selection Statistics – 2009 and 2010
Selections are made every fortnight and usually I would discuss numbers for a single selection, however since the start of 2010 the selections show little change.

So instead I’ve put together a comparison between the whole of 2010 against the previous year to give you an idea of trends in EOI (Expression of Interest) selections.

The Immigration department’s year runs from July, not January. However the wholesale change in selections started from January 2010, so we’ll look at the calendar year as this is quite illuminating!

Applications selected
Anyone reading my newsletters on a regular basis through 2010 would have heard me mention that the number of applications being selected had dropped. Public announcements from the Minister of Immigration stated that quotas were unchanged and confirmed the importance of maintaining immigration levels for growth and income.

Individuals Selected
Individuals Selected

Looking at the numbers for the whole year it’s pretty clear now as there was a 16.9 percent drop in selections when compared to 2009.

That’s 3,229 less applications into the system or 7,817 people over the year. To put it another way, on average 157 less applications were pulled from the pool (or 376 people) every fortnight, a sizeable drop.

This is potentially a problem for the department as the minimum quota for Residency under the Skilled Migrant Category (shown in red on the graph above) is 27,000 (based on skilled migration making up 60% of Residence).

While 30,454 applications were selected the immigration department are declining more than ever with a massive 13.84% of Residency applications through 2010 closed out. This would leave only 26,238 making it through the system, falling well short of the threshhold.

This should mean that the numbers being selected will need to rise before July to make up the shortfall of over 700 people.

Decline rates have climbed successively over the past four years, up from 12.02% in 2009, 10.24% in 2008 and 8.4% in 2007.

EOIs Selected
EOIs Selected

With or Without Job Offers
Comparing selections made through 2009 and 2010 with a view to which claimed points for current work or a job offer highlights an immediate and significant difference.

While the number of selections including points for a job or job offer remained largely the same (with just a 6 percent drop), selections for applicants without a job plummeted by 44 percent.

This perhaps shouldn’t be a surprise as New Zealand continues to wallow in recession without any real progress. The Immigration department is clearly favouring people with job offers and this confirms a good number of people are still being successful gaining job offers which I find encouraging.

It does not however explain the rise in applications being declined. Anecdotally the application of market testing to applications (based on inaccurate data from the Work and Income database) is scuppering many applications on the basis there are New Zealanders to take the role.

Unfortunately in many cases these NZ individuals do not actually exist leaving migrants and employers out in the cold and unable to protect themselves from what has become an extremely unpredicatable system.

Selection groups
When comparing selections I often refer to the seven groups immigration uses to categorise the figures.

EOIs Selected by GroupThese seven groups run from ‘140 points or more with a job offer’ (or “this way sir”) through to what I call ‘Other’ (EOIs with a high points total less than 140, but without points for employment, work experience or qualifications).
In 2009 there was a fairly good spread across all seven groups meaning that any applications entered (and meeting published criteria) had a fair chance of being selected.

EOIs Selected by Group
EOIs Selected by Group

Looking at numbers for 2010 show that a different pattern emerged that has not been published or even mentioned to migrants paying their money to apply. There were increases in all five of the ‘top’ groups with a big percentage increase in group 1 showing that there was only a small drop in real terms of very high scoring applications.

However only 16 applications were made for group six – down from 1,421 in 2009 – and those were pulled from the pool in the very last selection of the year on 15th December.

Not a single application from group 7 was made.

This raises an interesting question as it suggests that anyone who entered an application in 2010 falling into group seven (i.e. no additional points for job, work experience or a qualification in an area of absolute shortage) had no chance at all of being selected!

I don’t have access to numbers of people entering such applications, but I expect they might be surprised to find out they never actually stood a chance despite meeting published criteria and paying the requisite fee. I’ll be asking the immigration department whether a change has been made in selection criteria and will report back if they answer me.

2009 2010 % diff
1) 140 points + job offer 8,495 (49.7%) 7,909 (57%) +7.3%
2) 140 points without job offer 1,176 (6.9%) 1,300 (9.4%) +2.5%
3) 100-135 points + job offer 2,600 (15.2%) 2,572 (18.5%) +3.3%
4) 15 points for work experience* 1,204 (7%) 1,284 (9.3%) +2.2%
5) 10 points for work experience* 966 (5.6%) 792 (5.7%) +0.1%
6) 10 points for qualification* 1,421 (8.3%) 16 (0.1%) -8.2%
7) Other 1,241 (7.3%) 0 (0%) -7.3%

(*Work experience and qualifications in an area of absolute skill shortage)

Figures used in this report are taken from Immigration New Zealand information released through the INZ website.


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