Australia or New Zealand? How to get in

Darren Greenwood compares New Zealand and Australian residency requirments following the new Trans Tasman security arrangements.

Computerworld compares New Zealand and Australian residency requirements following the new Trans Tasman security arrangements.

Both Australia and New Zealand operate a points system for people wanting residency.

Points are given for qualifications, work experience, age, English language ability and financial resources. New Zealand also gives extra points for job offers.

For New Zealand, essentially speaking good English, having a degree, relevant work experience and a job offer should make a candidate a shoe-in. For Australia, this may not be enough. But IT workers are welcome in both countries, even if they lack formal qualifications.

Here, the Information Technology Association of New Zealand can issue letters of support saying applicants have essential skills, which is an accepted alternative. In Australia the equivalent Australian Computer Society can assess applicants on “recognised prior learning”.

Work experience of at least 12 months in the previous 18 months prior to lodging the application in any occupation on the skilled occupation list is required by the Australian Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA). All applicants must be under 45 and the Australian standards are set by the ACS.

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Australia has two categories for skilled migration - Skilled Australian Sponsored, for those gaining sponsorship from Australian relatives, and Skilled Independent for those without.

For both categories, the pass mark for entry is 110 points. The "pool" mark is 105 points in the sponsored category and 70 points in the independent category. If you meet the pool mark, but not the pass mark, your application will be kept on hold in case the pass mark drops to your total, and your application will proceed further.

To gain points for skill, your occupation must be on the Skilled Occupations List and points are given once your skills and occupations are assessed. For most occupations where training is specific to the occupation, you gain 60 points. For more general professional occupations, you gain 50 points. Other general skilled jobs earn 40 points.

Age earns up to 30 points, with those aged 18-29 gaining the maximum. Those aged 30-34 get 25 points, 35-39 year-olds get 20 points and the aged 40-44 group get 15 points.

Vocational English earns 15 points, competent English 20 points.

Ten points are given if you have specific work experience in a 60-point job category, if you have worked in your nominated occupation or closely related occupation for three of the last four years. Five points are awarded if your job is in the 40-, 50- or 60-point category and you have worked in any occupation on the Skilled Occupations List for three of the last four years.

Points For Occupation in Demand/Job Offer depend on the job being on the Migration Occupations in Demand (MODL). For an occupation in demand you get five points with no job offer, 10 points for an occupation in demand with a job offer. These jobs include information technology managers, a range of computer professionals.

Further points are given for Australian qualifications - five for qualifications needing 12 months' study, 10 for an Australian PhD.

Spouse skills can attract five points, and five bonus points are given for a minimum of $A100,000 capital for investment in Australia, Australian work experience and fluency in another Australian “community language”. Those in the sponsored category get 15 points for having an Australian relative.

Similar categories such as State/Territory Nominated Independents allows state or Territory government or employers to offer nomination. Skill matching may help those with insufficient points and regional sponsorship can help those promised support from relatives and others and you go to a designated region of Australia where the government is seeking skilled migrants.

Other important categories include business migrants, employer nominated migrants and regional headquarters agreements to let key staff work in head office - see www.immi.gov.au.

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For New Zealand, immigrants in the General Skills category need 24 points or whatever the weekly pass mark is. But the system differs and there are no extra points as yet for IT skills.

Qualifications earn candidates points: up to 12 for PhDs and usually 10 for degrees and trade equivalents. New Zealand qualifications earn up to two points.

Certain occupations, mainly health-based, must also be registered with the relevant industry body.

Work experience earns up to 10 points - one point for each two years - and unless you have completed a recognised qualification in New zealand, you must gain one point here.

A job offer gives five points if the offer is fulltime, pays wages not commission and is permanent (or a long-term contract).

Your age can earns up to 10 points but over 56s are considered too old.

"Settlement funds" earn up to two points, one for each $US100,000 you are bringing in.

Spouse qualifications can earn up to two points.

Family Sponsorship earns three points if your New Zealand relatives agree to support you for a year, if need be.

New Zealand also has Business Skills and Family categories (see www.immigration.govt.nz) .

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More about Australian Computer SocietyAustralian Computer SocietyAustralian Department of ImmigrationDepartment of Immigration and Multicultural AffairsDIMATechnology

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