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2021 Resident Visa

2021 Resident Visa rationale and general information

To address the issue of severe workforce deficit and decide tens of thousands residence applications in limbo, New Zealand Government has launched the the 2021 Resident Visa. This visa is a one-off lifetime opportunity to get residency for those who have been contributing to New Zealand economy for years.

Q: Who is eligible?

Holders of most New Zealand work visas, provided they meet one of the criteria below. Eligible visas include one of the following:

  •     Post Study Work Visa
  •     Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa
  •     Essential Skills Work Visa
  •     Religious Worker Work Visa
  •     Talent (Arts, Culture, Sports) Work Visa
  •     Long Term Skill Shortage List Work Visa
  •     Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa
  •     Trafficking Victim Work Visa
  •     Migrant Exploitation Protection Work Visa
  •     Skilled Migrant Category Job Search Work Visa
  •     Victims of Family Violence Work Visa
  •     South Island Contribution Work Visa
  •     Work Visa granted under Section 61 of the Immigration Act (provided the applicant held any of the visas above within 6 months before being granted a Section 61 visa)
  • Some Critical Purpose Visitor Visas (CPVV)

Holders of other short-term visa are not eligible.

2021 Resident Visa criteria

Q: I have one of those eligible visas. What else do I need to be able to apply?

The applicants for the 2021 Resident Visa will need to meet one of the three criteria below, known as:

  •  settled;
  •  skilled;
  •  scarce.

Settled criteria

To meet these, you must have

  • arrived in the country no later than 29 September 2018, and
  • have spent at least 821 days here between 29 September 2018 and 29 September 2021, inclusive of the start and end date.

Whilst the overall time requirement is quite straightforward, there is no need to spend a minimum number of days in a calendar year.

Skilled criteria

To meet these, on 29 September 2021 you must have worked in a genuine, full-time employment for at least 30 hours per week and earning at least the median wage of $27 per hour.

The rates of payment are calculated in a similar way to Essential Skills and Skilled Migrant applications.

Evidence you will need to provided include an employment agreement or a letter from your employer, and a full bank statement or a summary of income issued by Internal Revenue, or payslips.

The rate of $27 per hour should apply to both 29 September 2021 and the date you apply for a 2021 Resident Visa.

Scarce criteria

If the time you spent in New Zealand in the specified timeframe is less than 3 years and you are earning less than $27 per hour, you may still meet the ‘scarce’ criteria if your job was on a scarce list on 29 September 2021. The ‘scarce’ list includes the Long Term Skill Shortage List, jobs requiring occupational registration, critical health workers and personal carers, and some primary sector jobs.

As with the ‘skilled’ criteria, evidence of satisfactory employment should be provided at the time an application is made, including evidence of occupational registration. You must meet ‘scarce’ criteria at the time you apply.

Q: When can I apply?

  • Those who earlier applied for residence under Skilled Migrant of Residence from Work categories on or before 29 September 2021 can apply from 1 December 2021. The same phase will see applications from those who submitted their Expression of Interest under SMC and included there a dependent child aged 17 or older on 29 September 2021.
  • All other eligible candidates can start their applications from 1 March 2022.

The applications close on 31 July 2022.

Q: I hold a critical purpose visa, am I eligible for a 2021 Resident Visa?

Yes, you may be. As a holder of such visa, granted before or after 29 September 2021, you will not need to meet the ‘settled’, ‘skilled’, or ‘scarce’ criteria. However, you will need to arrive in New Zealand and apply before 31 July 2022, which is the last day for submitting applications for 2021 Resident Visa.

Family questions

Q: I have a dependent child who recently turned 25, will they be eligible?

Dependent children included in a skilled residence application or Skilled Migrant Category Expression of Interest as at 29 September 2021, who are currently 25 years of age or older, will be eligible for a 2021 Resident Visa if their parent gets approved and they themselves meet the health and character requirements.

Q: Can I include my partner, who is not in New Zealand, in my 2021 Resident Visa application?

Yes, you can. Partners do not need to be in the country to be included. However, you will still need to meet the requirements of genuine and stable relationship lasting at least 12 months.

Health, character and other

Q: Will I need to provide a new police certificate from my country, and a health certificate?

There is no requirement to provide a police certificate from the applicant’s home country or any other country they have lived earlier. This being said, INZ may still need require more evidence at their discretion.

If you provided a medical certificate to INZ in the last 36 months, you will not need to provide one with your application. Otherwise, a limited medical certificate will be required.

Q: I hold a student visa as a PhD candidate. Will I be eligible to apply for a new 2021 Resident Visa?

Holders of any other visas, except listed above, are not eligible. For PhD students, however, further pathways for residence may be available once they complete their degree.

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Our adviser and director has been in the same boat with most of our valued clients who come to seek his counsel. He came to New Zealand as a migrant in 2002 and has been calling it home since then. It is our pleasure to serve your needs and provide professional immigration advisor services to help your dreams come true.
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