My Pathway to New Zealand

By Agnes
7 min read

I was working in Malaysia when we visited the Philippines way back in 2009. I wanted to meet with my friend to catch up but didn’t get to see her. She was busy preparing for their move to New Zealand. At that time, I was just curious but not to the point that I’ve read about New Zealand. In 2010, I got to chat with her again. She was already here in NZ. I asked her how did she apply. She told me what she did but discouraged from applying yet because she had a hard time finding work herself.

In April 2011, I started looking for countries whose immigration is open. New Zealand is in the list. I went to their immigration website and tried to calculate my points. That time for automatic selection, one should have 140 points. I had 130 but I still went ahead. I remember I was on leave from work that day so I spent the day filling out the form. With my cousin Mary Ann’s credit card, I submitted my EOI on 11-May-2011.

Beginning of a journey.

From the time I submitted till selected, I checked my email everyday and logged in to the immigration website to check for any update. My application status changed from EOI submitted to EOI Selected on 18th of May 2011. I’ve read that the next status will be “EOI Successful” and the next will be receiving the ITA(Invitation to Apply).

A month from being selected, my application status changed from EOI selected to EOI successful  . The letter said  “Congratulations. We are pleased to inform you that Immigration New Zealand has considered your Expression of Interest in migrating to New Zealand.  We now invite you to apply for residence. Your application may include the people that were listed in your Expression of Interest. Your application should be sent to the INZ Branch in Shanghai whose address and phone number appears below”

I had four months to prepare and submit all the documents needed.  One of the challenges was procuring the documents from the Philippines while I was in Malaysia. Thankfully my relatives were very helpful. I had my cousin Mary Ann helped me get certificate of employment from a company that had closed down a long time ago. My sis-in-law helped me with SSS and a doctor certificate about removal of a benign cyst on my breast. My cousin’s daughter Maricar helped me secure a letter from Adamson University that english as the language of instruction used during my university studies. While preparing those documents, I also tried to apply for NZ jobs. One replied to contact her once I get to NZ. I also had a skype interview with IRD for a cobol/unisys mainframe developer role. I didn’t get the job though.

Request to Extend

On 26-September-2011, I wrote to the immigration officer requesting for an extension. This was my letter to him.

Letter to New Zealand Immigration

Request for Extension letter

From the letter, my request was granted.  I felt like we were really bound to New Zealand. All the stars are aligned, ‘ika nga.
The ITA documents to provide should be certified. That time in Malaysia, 1 page of document to certify costed me 5 ringgits. Imagine having to certify all our passport pages(x4) and all other documents. Thankfully, we met a nice Lawyer friend even before my application. He did all the certification for free. I can’t thank him enough. The last requirement I did was the medical. Thinking about it now, it might have been better to do it earlier so when something is not right, there is still time to come back for a retest. But as I’ve said earlier, apart from the documents like certificate of employment from a company that closed down, the application went smooth. We all did great in the Medical.

Sending of ITA

All the documents are ready. It’s time to submit the ITA. So on 11-November-2011, with the help of another friend from DHL, I sent my ITA application to Shanghai. I got a 20% discount from my DHL friend, I paid about RM76. Now another waiting time. The Shanghai NZ immigration branch received my application on 15-November-2011. 3 days before my deadline.

Waiting, waiting waiting…

After the ITA submission, all I can do is to wait and check my immigration account whether there are changes on the status of my application. The first communication from the assigned Visa officer happened on the 28th of February 2012. She needed additional documents/information be submitted on 28-March-2011 before they can proceed further. I had a month to gather all these documents. I needed to provide our Malaysia employment pass that time, payslips from my employments in the Philippines, evidence of partnership like letters sent to  the same address, photos of us together and evidence of my partner’s work experience. These documents were all submitted in flying colors 😀 before the deadline.

Missed D5 section of the Medical report.

On 30-May-2012, I received another letter from my visa officer about the medical report section D5 murmur part not ticked. I needed to go back to the panel doctor and ask him to fill that part and to scan the copy and send it to her in 5 working days. So the next day on my lunch break with my colleague friend, I went to the clinic where we had our medical exam. I had in ticked in less than 10 minutes. I immediately scanned it with my phone and sent to my visa officer right away.

The interview.

I received an interview invitation on the 4th of June, 2012 from my visa officer. The interview was required to assess  my ability to settle and contribute to New Zealand since I didn’t have an offer of skilled employment in New Zealand. Interview schedule was set on the 12th of June, 2012 at 10:30am Beijing time. I immediately contacted my friend Malou to tell her about the interview and ask her if she still can remember the questions asked. Thank God, she still remembered most of the questions. I put it all in my notes and answered them too, relaying them to my husband as well. The night before the interview, my husband setup the speaker to connect to my phone so we can both hear the questions louder.

Then came the day of the interview. I was nervous while waiting for the call. The phone didn’t ring until 10:40am. Questions asked during the first few minutes were just ensuring that she’s talking to the right person. Then we were asked if we know something about schools in NZ, to list the differences between Malaysia and New Zealand, and what if I don’t get a job right away. I can share with you the questions, just contact me here. We were also told to wait for a month for the result. A month after the interview, there was no email from the visa officer. I waited 2 more weeks before I made a followup. Apparently the visa officer was on holiday. Then August came and was still waiting.

Approved in Principle

On the 3rd of August of the same year, my husband called me. He told me that our application status changed to Approved. I didn’t know that he was also checking frequently because the first time I mentioned NZ migration to him, he asked me “Why? There are more sheeps than people there”. Heart pumping nervously, I immediately checked my immigration account. And yes! We’ve been approved in principle. Thank God.

Timeline :

11-May-2011 EOI Submitted
18-May-2011 EOI Selected
18-June-2011 ITA received
18-October-2011 original deadline of ITA to be submitted but was changed to 18-Nov-2011
11-November-2011 ITA submitted
15-November-2011 ITA application received by NZ immigration Shanghai branch
28-February-2012 additional requirements needed
30-May-2012 needed to have the D5 section ticked
4-June-2012 Interview invitation received
12-June-2012 Interview
3-August-2012 Approved in Principle

Disclaimer : I am not an immigration consultant and neither I’m trying to. My residency application was on May-2011 and a lot has changed since then. The requirements are different now compared to 7 years ago, but you can still do it on your own without having to pay immigration agencies.

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