At the end of March 2008, we found the New Zealand Immigration website and started looking at the different visa's that they offered. We saw that we would be able to apply for Permanent Residency(PR) under the Skilled Migrant Category, because of Brandon's education in sound/audio. That would allow us to live and work in New Zealand but not have to give up our USA citizenship.
We did the Quick Test and came out with 115 points which was enough to get the ball rolling. We then submitted the Expression of Interest (EOI), it would be in the pool for up to 6 months. Then we just had to wait for Immigration to select our EOI to get to the next step. After 3-4 months and still no selection we noticed that Brandon could add another year of work experience! That gave us 120 points on our EOI... and low and behold... we got selected!!! YEAH!!!
So we've been selected!! Now we have to hear from a Case Officer (CO) to see what to do now. We heard from our CO who told us that we will lose our points for Brandon's Education because his school isn't on the "list" of approved accreditation companies. UGH!!!! That meant that we wouldn't have enough points to get our Invitation To Apply (ITA), which is the last step! However, if we were to get his education assessed through New Zealand Qualifications Authority
and it came back at a level 5 we would be able to keep the points that we needed.
We quickly gathered all the info for Brandon's education and sent that out. Our CO waited very patiently while NZQA worked their magic. We finally got the paperwork back from NZQA with a level 4... Which was less than what we needed! We're DOOMED! We needed a level 5! We emailed our CO and told her what we got back and surprisingly it was ok!! Because of the job he can do, we got all the points we needed! Our ITA was on the way!!!! Picture us doing a little jig here!
...on a side note... NZQA made a mistake and we had them look at everything again and we DID get a level 5 now for Brandon's education!
Now we had to gather all the info to send in with the ITA. We had to get our medicals and police records done. We got all of the paperwork together and sent it all back to NZIS. Our paperwork was officially lodged on December 19, 2008 with the London branch of NZIS. And we're still waiting for a new CO to look over our paperwork and we will get one of the 3 results...
- Permanent Residency
- Work to Residency (like a 2 year probation/trial period... prove that we can survive there)
Since we couldn't stand being in Orlando much longer we decided to try to get to New Zealand before we've heard anything from NZIS. Brandon already used his Working Holiday Visa (WHV) so we used BUNAC for his 1 year work visa, and I used my WHV. Those were approved very quickly and we're on the way!!
The London Branch of NZIS is currently working on ITA's that were lodged upto December 16th... so we should be hearing from someone rather soon!
Our time line:
EOI Submitted: 120 points no job: 03/23/08
EOI Selected: 06/18/08
EOI Rejected: 08/14/08
NZQA Results: 09/06/08
EOI Successful: 11/13/08
ITA Received: 11/22/08
ITA Lodged: 12/19/08
PR approved: ????