Claiming points for work experience

Your work experience can get you up to 50-65 points

Can you claim points for your work experience?

You may be able to claim up to 50 points (65 including bonus points) for your skilled work experience, providing you were suitably qualified and the job is a substantial match to an ANZSCO occupation.

Since the mid-2017 policy changes, your work experience must also be relevant to your qualifications for you to be able to claim points. This means that you must be suitably qualified prior to the work experience for which points are claimed for residence under the Skilled migrant category. If you do not hold a relevant recognised qualification, then you may be assessed as qualified through relevant prior work experience, which can then be used as a substitute for a relevant qualification.

Case study

Joseph has been offered a job in Auckland as an ICT Consultant. He needs to prove that he is qualified for this job by holding the equivalent of a Bachelor Degree or at least 5 years of relevant experience. He is about to submit an EOI.

This is Joseph’s work experience to date:

  1. Three years as a Software Engineer (skill level 1)
  2. Three years as Database Architect (skill level 1)
  3. Four years as an ICT Programme Manager (skill level 1)

If Joseph had a Bachelor Degree prior to his first experience as a Software Engineer, he would be able to claim 10 years’s relevant work experience. However, if Joseph was an autodidact or learned on the job, he would need to deduct 5 years of prior experience to become ‘suitably qualified’. He would then only be able to claim 5 years.

Bonus points

Sometimes, you may fall short of 10 points to meet the threshold under the Skilled Migrant Category. Know that after 12 months’ skilled employment in New Zealand, you may qualify for 10 bonus points, which could make you eligible for residence under current policy. The reasoning is that you are already settled in New Zealand and contributing to the economy.

If your occupation is on the Long Term Skill Shortage List and you meet its requirement in terms of qualification, experience, or occupation registration, you may also be able to claim up to 15 bonus points, whether your job offer in New Zealand is relevant or not.

I do not have a job offer, can I still claim points for my experience?

If you do not have an offer of skilled employment, you work experience must have been lawfully obtained in a ‘comparable labour market’, unless it features on an Essential Skills in Demand List, and you meet its requirements. For INZ, the following countries constitute a labour market comparable to New Zealand:

AustraliaGreeceMacauSouth Africa
AustriaHong KongMaltaSouth Korea
CanadaIcelandNew ZealandSweden
Czech RepublicIsraelNorwayTaiwan
DenmarkItalyPolandUnited Kingdom
EstoniaJapanPortugalUnited States
FranceLithuaniaSlovak Republic


Talk to us now to determine the best pathway to achieve your migration goals.