But several months ago, I told the person who emailed me that I would post this info, so at long last, here it is.
Many USians who emigrate to Canada also consider New Zealand. I've heard it's a great place to live, and we even have friends there, thanks to the internet. But for me, moving to other side of the planet was not an option. I felt it would have been a severing of all ties with friends and family, and that was not my intent.
So I never researched the New Zealand emigration process. I can't vouch for the accuracy of the information in this post, only that it's taken directly from an email from a USian who plans to move there.
Some of the process is the same as emigrating to Canada - the point system, the background checks and such. The lottery is different, as is the phone interview. It also sounds like the process is much shorter. I assume that's because fewer people are in the system.
Here is a brief run-down of the immigration process as we experienced it. There are several schemes that NZ offers to gain permanent residency. We applied via the skilled migrant category.
Basically how the process starts with this category is with a points system. You are eligible for points for a number of things such as: age, educational qualifications, work experience outside NZ, work experience in NZ, job offer in NZ, qualifications or work experience in a area that NZ currently has a shortage of.
We got our points for our age (the younger you are the more points), educational qualification, work experience outside NZ, and my qualification (Bachelor degree) was in an area that they are currently short of.
The first step of the process is to submit and Expression of Interest (EOI). This is basically the initial application one which you claim how many points you will get. Then every 2 weeks there is a draw from the pool of applicants. Everyone above a certain point value is selected, but the selection threshold shifts to meet NZ immigration quotas.
After you are selected from the pool of applicants you then have to basically prove that you are entitled to the points you claimed. I had to send in proof of my work
experience and qualifications, along with proof that I was married, FBI criminal background checks, and a medical exam.
You mail all of this off to the immigration service and then they review everything and do some checks on what you are claiming in your application. After this you have to do a phone interview with the case officer basically deciding your fate. This is the last step. They ask you a bunch of questions to gauge your ability to successfully migrate and if you know what you are getting into and have researched in full.
The case officer then makes a final decision and then you get your permanent residency.
This whole process took us about 8 months from the time we submitted our EOI until we obtained our residency. The only real stipulation attached to it is that our residency has to be "activated" within one year of being granted. This means we have to enter NZ within a year from when we got it.
So our status right now is that we are permanent residents, and as long as we enter before that one year is up, will be forever.
If you want to talk to someone who went through this process, I can put you in touch. People find posts years later, so you never know.