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  • Writer's pictureSabrina


Updated: Feb 4, 2022

On 30 September 2021, the Government announced a new one-off residence visa pathway for some temporary work visa holders currently in New Zealand. Those arriving in New Zealand between 30 September 2021 and 31 July 2022 on long-term critical purpose visas (for six months or more) may also be eligible for this new visa. Partners and dependents can be included as part of these residence applications.

Some important questions about this new visa have been recently clarified by Immigration NZ, especially during the latest Immigration NZ webinars.

In this post, we have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about the new 2021 Resident Visa.

1- Who can apply?

People who were lawfully in NZ (or in Australia when the travel bubble closed between April and July 2021) on 29/09/2021 need to meet one of the visa eligibility criteria below.


  • Workers in NZ who held an eligible work visa on 29/9/2021 and on the day they apply for residence; OR

  • Applied for an eligible work visa on or before 29/9/2021 and the work visa application is subsequently approved and still hold an eligible work visa on the day they apply for residence.

In addition to the eligible work visa criteria workers also need to meet of the following:

  • Settled. Having lived in NZ for 3 years or more (that is arrived in NZ on or before 29/9/2018 and spent a minimum of 821 days in NZ between 29/9/2018 & 29/9/2021); OR

  • Skilled. Earning the median wage ($27 per hour or higher) or above on 29/9/2021 and still paid at that rate of remuneration (or higher) on the date the residence application is lodged; OR

  • Scarce. Working in a job that appears on the approved scarce occupation lists on 29/9/2021 and is still working in one of those occupations on the date the application for residence is lodged.

Pathway for Critical Purpose Visitor Visas Holders.

A small number of critical health workers (taking up jobs for six months or longer) or specialist workers (taking up jobs that are for longer than six months) who were granted border exemptions may also have eligibility for the 2021 Resident Visa. They will need to have arrived in NZ and lodge a 2021 Resident Visa application before the category closes on 31 July 2022.

However, there are a small class of workers (mainly seasonal workers) who will not qualify.

2- Who can apply on the first wave of applications from 1 December 2021?

The first group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa are those that on 29/09/2021:

  • Had lodged a residence application under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) or Residence from Work category; OR

  • Had lodged an SMC Expression of Interest (EOI) in the SMC pool that included at least one dependent child aged 17 or above.

This group still need to hold an eligible work visa and either meet "Settled", "Skilled" or "Scarce" as set out above.

Note that is very important that you DO NOT apply for the first wave from 1 December, unless you meet the criteria for the first wave of applications. Please make sure you understand the rules or look for professional advice before applying.

3- Who can apply on the second wave of applications from 1 March 2022?

The second group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa are those who hold an eligible work visa and either meet "Settled", "Skilled" or "Scarce" as set out above.

The deadline to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa is 31 July 2022. Applications will not be accepted after this date.

4- Is there an age limit to apply for this visa?

No, different from the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa, there isn’t an age limit for applicants of the new 2021 Resident Visa.

5- Is there any English language requirement?

No, applicants are not required to provide evidence of their English language ability.

6- What documentation is required?

Standard lodgement requirements apply, with the exception of offshore police certificates.

Evidence demonstrating the applicant meets the skilled or scarce criteria on 29 September 2021 and at the time they apply must also be provided if a person hasn't been in NZ for the past 3 years (settled)

As this will be an online application, applicants may provide clear legible copies of supporting evidence (rather than certified copies).

7- How long will the 2021 Resident Visa take to process?

The government expects to process most visa applications within 12 months of submission, but applications may be processed much sooner than this. Requirements for this visa have been tailored for quick processing: the government has publicly committed to not creating another years-long queue like the one that affected the SMC and Residence from Work categories.

8- Can family be included in the new 2021 Resident Visa?

Yes, it is possible to include partner and/or dependent children in this visa. There will be one single residence application that includes the whole family, not separate applications for each family member. Normal partnership and dependent children instructions apply.

Children aged 25 and over are normally not considered ‘dependent’ under any circumstances, but for the 2021 Resident Visa, some (but not all) children aged 25 and over may be approved in a separate application. Please contact us or INZ for more details.

9- Can applicants include their partner who's currently offshore in my application for residence?

Yes, normal partnership instructions apply. Where the principal applicant and their partner aren't currently living together, INZ will consider whether there are compelling reasons for separation. One of those reasons may include the closure of border to non-residents/citizens.

10- Can applicants apply for the 2021 Resident Visa and while it is under assessment depart New Zealand?

In order to finalise a 2021 Resident Visa the principal applicant needs to be in New Zealand. If an applicant has travelled overseas, the 2021 RV application cannot be approved until the applicant has returned to New Zealand. The current border restrictions may prevent re-entry to New Zealand.

11- What are the costs for the 2021 Resident Visa Application?

The INZ cost for the 2021 Resident Visa will be $2,160, which includes a $1330 application fee and $830 immigration levy.

Newvisa Co. application service for the 2021 Resident Visa starts from $1,495. Please note that this fee is based on an application for a single applicant* who meet the “settled” criteria. Fees are variable. Please contact us for an assessment.

Please note: this is a publication of a general nature. You should seek professional advice before taking any action regarding matters covered in this publication. Please contact Newisa Co. directly to receive specific immigration advice.

*terms and conditions apply.

*subject to availability.

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