I have decided to chronicle my move from NYC to New Zealand. I am starting this journal a bit into the process, but all of the hard stuff is yet to come. The first step, well, the very first step was GW winning a second term. That was a real motivating factor. A much more pleasant motivating factor was love, and wanting to start a new life with someone in a place new to both of us and a place where we both felt a positive connection. Neither of us has been to NZ but we both had thought about moving there independently of one another before. Thus began the process.
The first step was filling out the "EOI" (expression of interest). This is an online form at the new zealand immigration website (www.immigration.govt.nz). You need a certain number of points to qualify to go on to the next stage. For the past year or so (i believe), the point total necessary has been 100 (it has been as high as 190 in the past). Celeste was the first to submit her EOI, it is a relatively involved process. you have to fill in an online form; you are able to save and go back to it. Mostly it is resumé types of information. It calculates how many points you have as you go along so assuming the point total necessary for success doesn't all of a sudden shoot upwards, you have a pretty good idea whether it will be successful once you hit submit (and pay the necessary fee).
I think that is a great system because it allows people to really have a good idea what will happen before paying any money. For some people the money would be a big loss if not successful.
Once you submit your EOI you just sit and wait for a response. That can take from a couple of days to a few weeks. They do reveiews every couple of weeks I believe. Celeste heard about hers being chosen and then I heard about mine. We were both quite excited even though we knew we had the point total necessary.
After that hurdle is cleared more waiting commences. Now they review your EOI more in depth to be certain the information contained therein is correct. That is a little more nerve wracking, though we knew the information was correct, it is still a stressful wait. During this period a bit of a scandal arose in NZ when it was discovered that the Bangkok office had given a Visa to some wanted Iraqi person who was now loose in the country. They froze all applications and started re-reviewing them. Of course, as a Filipina, Celeste's EOI was/is being reviewed there! So, we think that is holding up the process for her.
This past week I received confirmation that my EOI cleared and now they have given me the "ITA" (invitation to apply). This is a much more involved process with FBI background check, very thorough medical exams, passport photos and long and involved application to be filled out. I figure it will take at least a month to get the information together, maybe two or three. Then it can be as long as ten months or more for them to review the application. If you do not have a job offer you go to the bottom of the list and will have to have an interview before they will accept you.
I am under the impression that if you do fill out everything correctly and nothing is horribly wrong in the background check or the medical review, you are pretty much in. I am hopeful. I think Celeste and I will both be moving to NZ, hopefully by early 2006.